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CVA Blog
Monday, September 25, 2006

Compassion and Health

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

  1. Article on Compassion by James LaVeck, cofounder of the nonprofit arts and educational organization Tribe of Heart and producer of award-winning documentaries The Witness and Peaceable Kingdom

  2. Famous quote - Albert Einstein, German physicist (1879 – 1955)

  3. Article on the founding of the National Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production dedicated to study large-scale animal farming in the US

  4. Article on the illegal trade of animals in Vietnam

  5. Article on teaching children to be good to animals - Ambuja Rosen is an award-winning journalist in Ashland, Oregon, who specializes in writing about animals, and has visited classrooms to teach students to be kind to animals.

  6. Healthy School lunches – Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)

  7. A Call to Non-violence – Father John's Dear compelling writing celebrating Gandhi's life

1. What is compassion? James LaVeck, cofounder of the nonprofit arts and educational organization Tribe of Heart and producer of award-winning documentaries The Witness and Peaceable Kingdom, offers this insight: "Compassion is the highest expression of human potential. As such, it can never be bought or sold, only freely given and received. Using this word as a label for the products of suffering and exploitation is nothing short of an act of violence," referring to the misleading term of ‘humane' meat (meat from animals supposedly raised under humane conditions). To read the full article click here.

2. Today's quote: "It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living by its purely physical effect on the human temperament would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind." ~ Albert Einstein.

3. A glimpse of hope: The Pew Charitable Trusts is funding a group, National Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production, which will spend the next two years studying large-scale animal farming in the United States. This group is made up of former government officials, ranchers, university experts and authors. Their findings and recommendations could have significant impact on issues such as animal welfare, environmental impact and the use of hormones in animal production. As expected, there is at least one organization that worries that this study might increase the credibility of groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). David Martosko, director of research at the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom, believes that this commission is "tainted by vegetarian bias." To read the full article click here.

The hope of animal rights advocates is that this commission uncovers the truth about the cruelty and suffering involved in raising animals for food. By raising awareness, the public might be more prone to show compassion for the creatures that endure unimaginable pain, stress, fear and confinement. Hopefully, Christians, who are called to be good stewards of all of God's creation, extend their compassion to their fellow beings.

4. We can eat anything with four legs, except the table: This popular Vietnamese saying seems to be getting awfully close to reality. Conservationists fear that the illegal trade of animals might put some species in the endangered list or even lead them to extinction. According to Eric Coull, Greater Mekong representative for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), "The current levels of overexploitation for both legal and illegal wildlife trade are widely considered to be the single greatest threat to many species, over and above habitat loss and degradation." Even though poaching and hunting of any animal without a permit has been illegal since 1975 the law enforcement is weak and smugglers are able to get false permits. To read the full article click here.

A caged monkey, like the one in the article it's one more victim who suffers without any justification in the hands of humans. The eyes of the monkey convey helplessness and fear, which victimizers cannot even acknowledge because of their insensitivity or even worse, they perceive it but don't care. People who continue to eat animals in the US, when reading this news, might become enraged just because it deals with animals that in the US are not seen as food; however, these same people fail to see the cruelty and suffering the farmed animals are subjected to within our borders.

5. Teaching children be kind to animals: The Bible calls us to raise our children in the love of God and following the teachings of Jesus. One of the main teachings of Jesus was compassion toward our neighbors. The animals who share this planet with us are our neighbors and we are called to respect and treat them kindly. Ambuja Rosen is an award-winning journalist in Ashland, Oregon, who specializes in writing about animals, and has visited classrooms to teach students to be kind to animals. She wrote a great piece titled "Teaching Children to Love All God's Creatures" in which she reminds us of the importance of teaching children in classrooms how to be kind to animals. Ms. Rosen brings to attention that Oct. 4th is St. Francis Feast Day and refers to him as a great example to follow in order to teach kids about how to treat God's creatures. She provides great ideas for classroom activities and recommends some books appropriate for this subject. To read her article click here.

6. Healthy school children: One way to encourage people to move toward a plant-based diet is to make information available to them on the health benefits of eating a well-balanced vegetarian diet. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is the sponsor of Healthy School Lunches, a campaign "dedicated to improving the food served to children in schools by educating government and school officials, food service workers, parents, and others about the food choices best able to promote children's current and long-term health." Please share with family and friends how they can have an impact on the health of their children. To learn more about this program click here.

7. A call to non-violence: Father John Dear, vegetarian Jesuit priest, peace activist, lecturer, and writer of books on nonviolence, including Living Peace and Christianity and Vegetarianism, writes a compelling article advocating a life of non-violence in remembrance and celebration of the 100th anniversary of Gandhi's satyagraha campaign in South Africa. Father Dear refers to Gandhi's life when he says "For Gandhi, nonviolence surpasses the refusal to hurt or kill: nonviolence is active love, a force for social uplift. Indeed, he insisted, nonviolence is the most active and powerful force in the world. Since he saw it as the force of God, the method of God, the power of God at work for good, he concluded that nonviolence is more powerful than all nuclear weapons combined. If millions of Americans would practice it, would peacefully and actively resist war, disarmament would be assured." To read the full article click here.

Adopting a plan-based diet is taking a stand against the cruelty and violence perpetrated on animals. A plant-based diet is one way of expressing God's love through us toward God's creation.

Have a blessed week!

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