For discussion of David P. Goldman's writings
ellens wrote:The funny thing is, though TI, the biggest dietary fanatics I remember from my college days (leftovers from 1960's activism, no doubt) were the vegetarians and vegans. They might literally strangle you if you gave them something to eat that had animal parts in it. Not even the most devoted kosher observer, of which in those days there were few at elite colleges, would go that far.
That point always struck me as weird, frankly. I can see getting fanatical about something that you believe is divinely inspired and affects your mortal soul. But, about vegetarianism? Being nice to chickens and pigs?
This reconfirmed my long-held view (that is, in a 19-year old) that when people don't have religious beliefs they drum up all sorts of substitutes and become enraged when others don't take their "beliefs" as seriously as most people once took religious beliefs.
Spengler wrote:".......It seems to me that Christianity has lost an important dimension by abandoning kashrut."
For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
12It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
13Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
14But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
total issues wrote:
You are quite right - it is quite enjoyable to tuck into a steak with veggies around to shock the "meat is murder" brigade! Vegan is just unhealthy, you need some animal proteins for balance - Hindus are mostly veggie, but they eat a lot of dairy. It is mostly women here who are obsessively vegetarian, I notice, and it is on the increase.
That said, you should be nice to chickens and pigs. Factory farming is a moral abomination, and I try whenever possible to buy free range meat. By all means eat them, but let them have a decent life first. Also in developed countries most of us eat far too much protein, and that can have health implications, such as gout.
The objection is to intensive factory farming which is downright cruel. Making an effort to buy free range meat or eggs is a bit like those worthy 18th century middle class types who bought slave free sugar.
The goal should be to return to the world as it was, with family farms, raising happy, healthy animals. Buying meat and eggs and milk and cheese directly from farmers who care about the animals they raise is good for your health, good for the economic context you live within, and it is a spiritually beneficial behavior as well.
I don't know what an open-concept barn is, although it sounds interesting
Now this conversation has really wandered far afield. Sorry
. I think our duty of care to animals is an important moral issue, whether one is religious or not.
The primary principle behind the treatment of animals in Jewish law is preventing tza'ar ba'alei chayim, the suffering of living creatures. Judaism expresses no definitive opinion as to whether animals actually experience physical or psychological pain in the same way that humans do; however, Judaism has always recognized the link between the way a person treats animals and the way a person treats human beings. A person who is cruel to a defenseless animal will undoubtedly be cruel to defenseless people. Modern psychology confirms this understanding, with many studies finding a relationship between childhood animal cruelty and adult criminal violence. Sadly, the converse is not always true, and those who love animals do not always value human life: Hitler loved animals; the animal rights group PETA wrote a letter to Arafat telling him, when he blows up a bus full of Israelis, could he please not hurt a donkey to do it.
In the Bible, those who care for animals are heroes, while those who hunt animals are villains. Jacob, Moses and King David were all shepherds, people who cared for animals (Gen. 30, Ex. 31, I Sam. 17). The Talmud specifically states that Moses was chosen for his mission because of his skill in caring for animals. "The Holy One, Blessed Be He, said 'Since you are merciful to the flock of a human being, you shall be the shepherd of My flock, Israel.'" Likewise Rebecca was chosen as a wife for Isaac because of her kindness to animals. When Abraham's servant asked for water for himself, she volunteered to water his camels as well, and thereby proved herself a worthy wife (Gen. 24).
On the other hand, the two hunters in the Bible, Nimrod and Esau, are both depicted as villains. The Talmud tells the story of a great rabbi, Judah Ha-Nasi, who was punished with years of kidney stones and other painful ailments because he was insensitive to the fear of a calf being led to slaughter; he was relieved years later when he showed kindness to animals. (Talmud Baba Metzia 85a)
In the Torah, humanity is given dominion over animals (Gen. 1:26), which gives us the right to use animals for legitimate needs. Animal flesh can be consumed for food; animal skins can be used for clothing. The Torah itself must be written on parchment (animal hides), as must mezuzah scrolls, and tefillin must be made out of leather.
However, dominion does not give us the right to cause indiscriminate pain and destruction. We are permitted to use animals in this way only when there is a genuine, legitimate need, and we must do so in the manner that causes the animal the least suffering. Kosher slaughtering is designed to be as fast and painless as possible, and if anything occurs that might cause pain (such as a nick in the slaughtering knife or a delay in the cutting), the flesh may not be consumed. Hunting for sport is strictly prohibited, and hunting and trapping for legitimate needs is permissible only when it is done in the least painful way possible.
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