Recently, seventy five, multidenominational rabbis signed a document urging their fellow jews to become vegan;
“we, the undersigned rabbis, encourgae our fellow jews to transition toward animal-free, plant-based diets. This approach to sustenance is an expression of our shared jewish values of compassion for animals, protection of the environment, and concern for our physical and spiritual well-being.”
They say that a central principle of judaism is not causing pain to any other living creature and claim that therefore jews should not consume animal products. One rabbi said that when we consume animals “we are ingesting pain, suffering and hurt” and asked “how can I be at peace with myself?”.
Despite these rabbis representing different nationalities as well as different nominations, they all agree that it is G-d’s preference that we do not eat animals. In the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve lived a vegan lifestyle. The torah (the books of moses – genesis, exodus, leviticus, numbers, deuteronomy) forbids causing any animal suffering and suggests that the consumption of meat is a concession to human desire. Phrases such as “shall not cook a kid in its mother’s milk” have been interpreted by the Jewish community as meaning eating milk and meat separately, however these rabbis believe that it suggests that the milk is supposed to be consumed by the animal’s young, not humans and that animal’s also have feelings like humans.
I personally find it interesting that veganism and religion have come together in this way. Obviously not the whole world is jewish but this urge still may influence people to lead a kinder lifestyle. Extracts from Genesis can be extended to Christianity and regardless of the religion itself, all religious texts state “thou shall not kill”.
Regardless of whether or not you agree with the decision of these rabbis, it is hard not to respect their decision to ask people to change in a very meat-driven society.