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CVA Blog
Sunday, September 17, 2006

Children and Morality

Welcome to the weekly CVA blog! In it you will find famous quotes, news and commentaries.

  1. Children and morality: article by Karen Hussar, Harvard Graduate School of Education doctoral Student, whose research study has shown evidence of morality in young children
  2. Famous quote - Wayne Pacelle, President & CEO, The Humane Society of the United States
  3. Opinion: article by Peter Singer and Bruce Friedrich emphasizing the accomplishments by the animal rights movement in behalf of the animals exploited by humans on a daily basis.
  4. Europe-wide ban on battery cages under threat
  5. Opinion: article on Foie Gras by Jeffrey Steingarten, published in Men's Vogue Magazine
  6. U.S. district court ruling on poultry slaughter
  7. Opinion: article by Patty Mark, president of the Australian animal advocacy organization Animal Liberation Victoria (ALV) on how to be an honest animal advocate

1. Children and morality: What do vegetarian children seem to have in common that non-vegetarian children don't seem to have? Moral reasons around what they eat. In a research study involving 45 children ages six to ten (a mix of vegetarians from vegetarian homes, vegetarians from meat-eating homes, and non-vegetarians) Harvard Graduate School of Education doctoral student Karen Hussar has found that for most of the children who became vegetarian, the decision had more to do with morals (e.g., empathy) than with personal choice (e.g., food preference or health).

Another very interesting finding is that vegetarian children do not seem to judge as bad those children who chose to eat meat; however, they judge harshly those children who once refrained from eating animals and later broke their commitment. Click here to read the full article.

2. Quote: "I believe that all animals have that spark of life that infuses all of us. They can't write a sonnet or a book, but in fundamental aspects they are the same: they want to live as much as we do, and they fear as much as we do. Animals are a test of our character, because we have absolute power over them. We can choose the path of exploitation or the path of mercy and kindness. That last path is the only right one."
~ Wayne Pacelle,
President & CEO, The Humane Society of the United States

3. Opinion: Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation and professor of bioethics at Princeton University; and Bruce Friedrich, vice president for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), write about the accomplishments by the animal rights movement in behalf of the animals exploited by humans on a daily basis. They challenge people to realize that although small, the steps taken by some major fast food industries regarding their animal welfare regulations have actually alleviated, to various degrees, the suffering of billions of animals. Singer and Friedrich have also recognized the desire of animal rights advocates for empty cages, not just bigger cages. Click here to read the full article.

As Christian vegetarians we also strive and hope for the day in which all animals are liberated from human oppression. Although the path to it seems full of obstacles and hardened hearts we should not get discouraged and should try to be the best witnesses we can of the love of God for His creation by showing respect, compassion and love. The time will come when all creatures, including humans, live in peace and harmony.

4. Europe-wide ban on battery cages under threat: Animal welfare activists and a member of the European Parliament are making the best effort to oppose the campaign looking to delay a Europe-wide ban on battery-caged hens that is due to take effect in 2012. Not surprisingly, it is the British Egg Industry Council that wants to push the ban back another five years, claiming they want to support the ban but need a little more time to implement the changes. The National Farmers' Union Scotland (NFUS) also supports the campaign to delay the ban; however, an EU Commission spokesman said: "There is a report on the implementation of the directive due this year when the implementation will be studied but there are no plans for any relaxing of the rules." Click here to read the full article.

5. Foie Gras and more: A recent article titled "Stuffed Animals" published in Men's Vogue magazine by Jeffrey Steingarten, American lawyer and food critic, discusses the pros and cons of eating foie gras from an ethical point of view. Moreover, he resorts to the Bible and to history in order to give the reader some idea of how this "delicacy" evolved and the current debate around its production. Mr. Steingarten makes emphasis on his choices which include not eating animals raised in factory farms or eggs produced by battery caged hens, or what he calls "anemic" veal. Although he fails to see the inherent cruelty in force-feeding geese as he states, "The most sensible policy is to eat just a little of this sublime and ancient delicacy (foie gras)", Mr. Steingarten exposes the truth of why most people eat meat nowadays. He rightly says, "Most of us are not vegans or vegetarians. When we buy the flesh of a mammal, bird, or fish in a restaurant or food shop, we are an agent in the slaughter of another living thing. We are taking life. This is a serious act, not a casual one. But our purpose is not survival or even sustenance; most of us can live comfortably without eating meat. No, our goal is pleasure, pure sensory pleasure."

6. Poultry slaughter: Good news for people who care about animals, in this case poultry. A U.S. district court ruled last week that members of the U.S. chapter of the Humane Society can sue the federal government over the way chickens and turkeys are slaughtered. Jonathan Lovvorn, vice president with the Humane Society of the United States, stated that "The fundamental issue in the case is the fact that such a large amount of the animals we consume for food are not provided federal protection during the slaughter process." Plaintiffs argued that the method to slaughter poultry is not only cruel (paralyzes birds but doesn't rendered them unconscious) but unsafe for consumption due to the risk of birds inhaling contaminated water with feces, dirt and dust. Click here to read the full article.

Animals raised for food are not only unprotected by the law during the slaughter process, but from the moment they are born since the "laws" that are supposed to protect them are either non-existent or rarely enforced. This shameful fact should prompt people to boycott these industries who indiscriminately exploit animals for the sole gain of taste; given that, for the majority of people in the US, animal products are not needed for survival. In fact, Christian vegetarians are a great example of how we can thrive on a plant-based diet.

7. Opinion: Patty Mark, president of the Australian animal advocacy organization Animal Liberation Victoria (ALV), and founding editor of Action Magazine and director of the ALV Rescue Team emphasizes the importance of being honest as an animal rights advocate. Ms. Mark points that well-intended animal rights activist try to alleviate the suffering of billion of animas raised for food by encouraging people to consume "free-range" or "grass-fed" animal products. She points out that concept of ‘let's make it better for the animals before they are killed' is a "dead end street" given that all animals are ultimately sacrificed. Ms. Mark suggests encouraging veganism with "patience, determination, persistence and honesty—done with goodwill." Click here to read this interview.

Christian vegetarians should also promote a plant-based diet focused on showing compassion, respect and love; and by setting the example that no animals need to be sacrificed, just like in the Garden of Eden (God's ideal).

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