Monday, March 13, 2006

“Those people…”

I’ve been vegetarian for about 13 years now. I have often wondered why more Christians aren’t vegetarians. Vegetarian and Vegan lifestyles are humanitarian. We save animals. We save people. We save the environment.

The other night I was out with some Christian friends. Someone asked for Chapstick. I offered up my MerryHempsters Vegan Hemp lip balm. Someone else took out her Vaseline. She made a point of expressing to me that she wouldn’t use hemp products because she didn’t want to be associated with “those people.” Those people. Pot heads. Hemp is eco-friendly. It’s a sustainable resource! The Constitution is written on hemp paper. Hemp is not pot.

But then it hit me. Those people. Christians don’t want to be associated with “those people.” The environmentalist. The animal activist. The tree hugger.

As Christians we’re specifically called to live left of center. So what’s the big deal with associating with others left of center?

It makes no sense! As Christians, we believe in God. God created this earth, all the plants that grow on it, all the critters that move on its surface as well as those that swim in its waters.

Most Christians are aware we’re called to stewardship. Good care of ourselves, our planet, our neighbors. All these things that the Good Lord gave us!

Especially now, during Lent – when we are called to sacrifice, prayer and almsgiving.

Did you know that if America alone cut its alcohol and beef consumption in half we could end world hunger with the extra grain? That’s just beef. Doesn’t talk about how much we could do giving up factory farming all together. The methane gas produced by factory farms, in America alone, does more damage than all the cars on the planet combined. Not to mention the destruction to the environment done by manure lagoons. That’s right folks lagoons of poop doing more damage than the latest oil spill.

Why? We don’t need all that meat. Most of it goes to waste.

So many of us who vehemently speak out about cruelty to dogs and cats think nothing of cruelty to a pig – who is far more intelligent than any dog ever dreamed of being. My own father who refuses to go to the circus because of the cruelty there, thinks nothing of the cruelty heaped upon the cow now resting in his plate.

Approximately 40% of America’s water supply is routed to factory farms. Don’t kid yourself that it’s for the animals. It’s used to clean up waste matter and wash away blood. But not from the tiny cages these animals are housed in.

It is estimated that each vegan and vegetarian is saving the lives of about 95 animals a year. This little effort spirals outward. We have more water to give to the thirsty. Spare grain to feed the hungry with.

Oh, and by the way, Vaseline is a petroleum product. Nothing like putting motor oil on your face. It may seem moist, but it’s actually drying you out more.

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