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Vegetarianism and Cow Protection



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His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Founder-Acarya of the
Hare Krishna Movement

People are generally unaware of the importance of cows. Cows produce, in large quantities, the miracle food, milk. Milk is produced from the blood of the cow, however she is happy to give her blood transformed in a peaceful, non-violent way in the form of milk.

The cow is so merciful she is freely giving us her milk which contains all the vitamins, proteins and other nutrients found in flesh. If people drink milk there is absolutely no need for animal killing and no possibility of their diets being deficient in any way. One can survive simply by drinking milk. Milk is a complete food.

As devotees of Krishna, we have a special interest in protecting cows because Krishna is a cowheard boy. It seems amazing... How could God be a cowheard boy? But sometimes truth is stranger than fiction... Krishna likes the cows very much. Therefore, because Krishna is very friendly towards the cows, killing cows is more sinful than killing other animals. Any unnecessary killing is sinful so naturally we are vegetarians. But we are more Krishnatarian than vegetarian. In any case killing cows is most sinful.

Many of the problems we are now facing, including violence and wars, are a direct result of the massive cow killing now going on everywhere. We don't connect it. It is karma. When we do something violent to another living entity that violence will come back on us in the future. It's just like bouncing a ball on the ground... it will bounce back up again. Scientists can relate to the forces and natural principles at work in the bouncing ball but they cannot yet see the same forces acting on a more subtle level. But karma is the same law that causes the ball to bounce back up... it works with our actions as well as with balls!

Of course animals are less intelligent than people. They can't defend themselves against us. But that doesn't mean they have no rights. They are born into this world just like you and me and they have a right to live here also.

  • People Just Don't Think About It!

    People just don't think about it. Even when we are young, our mother always lovingly served us steak and potatoes and encouraged us to dine heartily on the carcass so we could "grow up big and strong." And the TV adds and the billboards daily reinforce the conditioning that it's "perfectly normal" to kill animals for food. So most never question it; they don't make the connection between the seemingly innocent hamburger on their plate and the horror of the slaughterhouse. "Out of sight, out of mind."

    But the fact is, to satisfy our currupted appetites, billions of animals are unnecessarily and brutally butchered every year. And year after year the inhumanity continues to be overlooked, and because of this our society is becoming more and more callous...and cruel.

    Is it right that animals, fully sentient beings, are made to suffer simply because we "like the taste?" Has selfishness overcome our reason? We've got blood on our hands. It's no wonder there is so much violence amongst the people of our society when they exhibit so much violence towards animals. "What goes around comes around."

  • The Nectar of Immortality

    Milk is compared to nectar, which one can drink to become immortal. Of course, simply drinking milk will not make one immortal, but it can increase the duration of one's life.

    In modern civilisation milk is not thought of as being important, therefore people are not living very long.

    Although in this age anyone can live up to one hundred years, the duration of life is reduced because people do not drink large quantities of milk. Instead of drinking milk, they prefer to slaughter an animal and eat it's flesh.

    The cow should be protected, milk should be drawn from the cows, and this milk should be prepared in various ways. One should take ample milk, and thus one can prolong one's life and develop the finer tissues of the brain.

  • The Cow is Our Mother

    The Vedic Scriptures refer to the cow as our mother When we stop taking milk from our mother the cow gladly takes over the role of supplying milk. For this reason the cow is our mother.

    It is natures special arrangement that the cow provides milk to give nourishment to civilised people. The barbarians take blood by cutting the throat of a poor innocent animal, while civilised people drink milk which contains all of the nutritious qualities of meat without the necessity of violence.

    We are now killing millions of our mothers every year in such a brutal way in enormous slaughterhouses. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation estimated that in 1984 229,249,000 cattle and calves were killed for meat production. This cow-killing is the most sinful activity and we are suffering in many ways as a result of the enormous burden of bad karma it generates.

  • The Misery of Cow-Killing

    Ample food grains can be produced through agricultural enterprises, profuse milk, yogurt and ghee can be arranged through cow protection and abundant honey can be obtained if the forests are protected. Instead of a simple lifestyle modern civilisation is busy killing the cows that are the source of yogurt, milk and ghee; they are cutting down all the trees that supply honey and they are opening factories to manufacture nuts, bolts, automobiles and wine instead of engaging in agriculture. This is creating so many problems in the world

    How can the people be happy? They must suffer from all the misery of materialism. Their bodies become wrinkled and gradually deteriorate until they become almost like dwarfs, and a bad odour emanates from them because of unclean perspiration resulting from eating all kinds of nasty things. This is not human civilisation.

  • Living Cows are an Economic Asset

    It is quite clear that a living cow yields society more food than a dead one - in the form of a continuing supply of milk, cheese, butter, yogurt and other high-protein foods.

    In 1971 Stewart Odend'hal of the University of Missouri conducted a detailed study of cows in Bengal and found that far from depriving humans of food. they ate only inedible remains of harvested crops (rice hulls, tops of sugarcane, etc.) and grass. "Basically", he said, "the cattle convert items of little direct human value into products of immediate utility." This should put to rest the myth that people are starving in India because they will not kill their cows. Interestingly enough, India seems to have surmounted her food problems, which have always had more to do with occasional severe drought or political upheaval than with sacred cows. A panel of experts at the Agency for International Development, in a statement cited in the United States Congressional Record for December 2nd. l980. concluded "India produces enough to feed all its people."

    If allowed to live, cows produce High quality, protein rich foods in amounts that stagger the imagination. It is abundantly clear that cows (living ones) are one of mankind's, most valuable food resources.

    Movements to save seals, dolphins and whales from slaughter are flourishing -- so why shouldn't there be a movement to save the cows?

  • Environmental Damage

    Another price we pay for meat eating is degradation of the environment. The heavily contaminated run-off from thousands of slaughterhouses and feedlots is a major source of water pollution. In their book "Population, Resources and Environment", Paul and Anne Ehrlich found that to grow one pound of wheat requires only 60 pounds of water, whereas production of a pound of meat requires anywhere from 2,500 to 6,000 pounds of water.

    In 1973 the New York Post revealed that one large chicken slaughtering plant in America was found to be using 100 million gallons of water daily. The same volume would supply a city of 25,000 people!

  • Land Usage, Meat and War

    A study published in "Plant Foods for Human Nutrition" reveals that an acre of beans or peas produces ten times more protein than an acre of pasture set aside for meat production.

    Economic facts like this were known to the ancient Greeks In Plato's Republic the great Greek philosopher Socrates recommended a vegetarian diet because it would allow a country to make the most intelligent use of its agricultural resources. He warned that if people began eating animals, there would be need for more pasturing land. "And the country which was enough to support the original inhabitants will be too small now, and not enough?", he asked of Glaucon, who replied that this was indeed true "And so we shall go to war, Glaucon, shall we not?" To which Glaucon replied, "Most certainly."

  • Nutrition Without Meat

    Many times the mention of vegetarianism elicits the predictable reaction, "What about protein?"

    The ideas that meat has a monopoly on protein and that large amounts of protein are required for energy and strength are both myths.

    Of the twenty-two amino acids, all but eight can be synthesised by the body itself, and these eight "essential amino acids" exist in abundance in nonflesh foods. Dairy products, grains, beans and nuts are all concentrated sources of protein. Cheese, peanuts and lentils, for instance, contain more protein per gram than hamburger, pork or porterhouse steak.

    The primary energy source for the body is carbohydrates. Only as a last resort is the body's protein utilised for energy production. Too much protein intake actually reduces the body's energy capacity. In a series of comparative endurance tests conducted by Dr. Irving Flsher of Yale, vegetarians performed twice as well as meat-eaters. Numerous other studies have shown that a proper vegetarian diet provides more nutritional energy than meat. A study by Dr I. Iotekyo and V. Kilpani at Brussles University showed that vegetarians were able to perform physical tasks two to three times longer than meat-eaters before exhaustion and were recovered from fatigue in one fifth the time needed by the meat-eaters.

  • Health and Meat Eating

    The human body cannot deal with excessive animal fats in the diet. As early as 1961, the Journal of the American Medical Association stated that ninety to ninety-seven percent of heart disease, the cause of more than half of the deaths in the United States, could be prevented by a vegetarian diet.

    Many studies have established the relationship between colon cancer and meat eating. One reason for the incidence of cancer Is the high-fat, low-fiber content of the meat-centred diet. The result is a slow transit time through the colon, allowing toxic wastes to do their damage. Meat, while being digested, is known to generate steroid metabolites possessing carcinogenic properties.

  • Chemicals and Diseases in Meat

    Numerous potentially hazardous chemicals, of which consumers are generally unaware, are present m meat and meat products. In their book, "Poisons In Your Body", Garry and Steven Null give an inside look at the production techniques used by corporately owned animal producers , "The animals are kept alive and fattened by continuous administration of tranquillisers, horrnones, antibiotics and 2,700 other drugs," they write, "the process starts even before birth and continues long after death. Although these drugs will still be present in the meat when you eat it, the law does not require that they be listed on the package."

    Because of the filthy, overcrowded conditions forced upon animals by the livestock industry, vast amounts of antibiotics must be used, but such rampant use of antibiotics naturally creates antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are passed on to those who eat the meat. The US FDA estimate that penicillin and tetracycline save the meat industry $1.9 billion a year giving them sufficient reason to overlook the potential health hazards. In addition to dangerous chemicals, meat often carries diseases from the animals themselves.

    Crammed together in unclean conditions, force-fed and inhumanely treated, animals destined for slaughter contract many more diseases than they ordinarily would. Meat inspectors attempt to filter out unacceptable meats, but because of pressures from industry and lack of sufficient time for examination, much of what passes is far less wholesome than the meat purchaser realizes.

  • The Hidden Cost of Meat

    According to information compiled by the United States Department of Agriculture, over ninety percent of all the grain produced in America is used for feeding livestock -- cows. pigs, lambs and chickens -- that wind up on dinner tables

    The process of using grain to produce meat is incredibly wasteful. Information from the USDA's Economic Research Service shows that only one pound of beef is produced for every sixteen pounds of grain consumed.

    In his book "Proteins: Their Chemistry and Politics," Dr. Aaron Altshul notes that, "In terms of calorie units per acre, a diet of grains, vegetables and beans will support twenty times more people than a diet of meat.

    If the earth's arable land were used primarily for the production of vegetarian foods, the planet could easily support a population of twenty billion and more.

    In a report submitted to the United Nations World Food Conference (Rome, 1974), Rene Durmont, an agricultural economist at France's National Agricultural Institute, made this judgement , "The over consumption of meat by the rich means hunger for the poor."

NEXT: Plain Living and High Thinking


Changing the Face of the Earth
The Changing the Face of the Earth campaign is a world-wide program to bring about a solution to the problems currently faced by this planet and her inhabitants.

The Environment and Economic Development
In this age of rapidly increasing technology and automation the impression is we have made great advanced and are now in a far better position than the "primitive" civilisations of the past.

Karma and Consciousness
The law of karma describes the universe as an interconnected network in which every action causes a reaction to occur in the future. Material scientists understand the gross manifestation of this law in the form of physics, however, they have no idea of the workings of the same law on a more subtle platform.

Vegetarianism and Cow Protection
People are generally unaware of the importance of cows. Cows produce, in large quantities, the miracle food, milk. Milk is produced from the blood of the cow, however she is happy to give her blood transformed in a peaceful, non-violent way in the form of milk.

Plain Living and High Thinking
It is possible to live a comfortable, simple life in harmony with nature. All that is required is some land, cows and food grains. With these three necessities we can obtain everything required for a simple life.

The Varnasrama Social System
There is a natural system of social organisation which can bring about a peaceful society where everyone is happy. This system is described in the timeless Vedic literature of India and it is called Varnasrama dharma.

The Golden Age
This age is called Kali-yuga, or the dark iron age of quarrel and hypocrisy. It is considered a very unfortunate age as spiritual knowledge is covered and almost the entire population of the planet is performing inunlimited sinful activities.

The Science of Mantra Meditation
Sparks are beautiful as long as they are in the fire. Similarly, we have to remain in the association of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and always engage in devotional service, for then we shall always be brilliant and illuminating.