Plea for Observing Meatless Monday & Factory Farm Free Friday. Making the case for “plant-strong” diets to care for Creation. Please take these Days to be a Sabbath-of-sorts. They deserve passionate support at this time, as missions to reduce suffering & preserve the environment.
Seasons Greetings and Warmest Blessings,
I hope this letter finds you well! I want to thank you for your service to the Lord and our community! I’m reaching out with genuine concerns for Creation and the desire to make things better. As someone who has followed agricultural issues closely since 2000. I HAVE TO alert you to some unsettling realities: the sacredness of our agricultural system has been forsaken. I’d be glad to speak with you, so we can develop ways to stabilize our agricultural problems. The Christian perspective is really needed right now, to create a more glorious food and farming system. I apologize that this Letter is lengthy, but this is all just SO IMPORTANT. 🙂
First off, corporate-meat and mega-dairy agribusiness are exposing animals to immense cruelty, confinement and mutilation, while spreading dangerous pathogens, water pollution, and chemical sprays into the environment. In the time of Christ, feeding people was not so hazardous or wretched in anywhere near the scale that it is today. It is my deep conviction that many “modern” agricultural practices do not please the Lord because they’re more like MASSIVE, sickening, mechanized, HARMING systems, rather than traditional FARMING systems. I believe, after examining these practices closely, many righteous people will agree, something MUST be done. Please Read this Note and consider how we can determine a more harmonious path?
Over 70 Billion animals are killed annually for food. We imprison animals in cruddy filthy warehouses without any chance at a natural life. These living beings subjected to grotesque cruelty in mechanized, degrading fashion. It’s a MORAL question to decide what practices to support. But we must LOOK and ask objectively “what could be done to help make it better from where we are today?”. Its a difficult question, but we still must ask ourselves, how much consideration are the newborn chicks worth, who are ground up alive in the egg industry? Pigs are castrated and locked in gestation crates where they can’t turn around. Calves suffer locked into veal crates and hens in battery cages. These foods are overwhelmingly produced in inhumane, degrading, and prolonged abusive manners.
Keeping these animals alive is a massive expenditure on creation. Modern factory farming is creating a host of unique hazards to human health and our waterways. Animal fecal matter and nitrogenous fertilizer used on feed crops comprise a lot of the nutrient runoff that causes aquatic dead-zones (ie in Lake Erie or the Gulf of Mexico). The NGO Environment America reported four of the top 10 polluters discharging toxics into American waterways are Tyson Inc., Cargill Inc, Perdue Farms Inc, and Pilgrims Pride Corp (meat producers, and Cargill feed). These fragile living beings are fed “Round-Up ready” soybeans and fattened with Genetically Modified Corn to the detriment of our environment, and the pollinators exposed to these agri-chemicals. Antibiotic resistant bacteria and dangerous parasites travel on meat and away from CAFOs and slaughterhouses, sickening people regularly. And all this land currently growing feed crops could support more biodiversity in some way. Instead we have rapidly lost crop diversity in just a couple generations. Clearly, this is no way to treat living beings or a living system.
By continuing to relentlessly support the intensive confinement of animals, we are exacerbating several major chronic disease problems. Animal agriculture also emits especially heat trapping gases into the atmosphere – methane and Nitrous Oxide from fertilizer. Taking concerted steps to reduce emissions honors Pope Francis’s intent to stabilize climate change.
The morally just path at this juncture, I believe, is to afford animals a SABBATH and at least GREATER Sanctuary from harm. The concept of Sabbath centers around Rest. In many ways, Meatless Monday (MM) and Factory Farm Free Friday (FFFF), afford the earth and animal life a sacred time to Rest. By practicing restraint (on these days, at least) and consuming fewer dead animal body parts, or the products of their cruel confinement, we CAN honor creation by minimizing agricultural problems TODAY.
Given these considerations, a prayer needs to be said generally for Holiness in farming. Let our work nurture Healthy Land uses in the countryside and fertilization of urban gardens. Let the seeds we sow be for vibrancy & beauty, not animal prisons that pollute the wellsprings of life.
Many Catholics already take steps in this direction with No-Meat Fridays. Our PLEA is to declare Monday a 2nd Meatless Day in your church. And assume moral leadership on Factory Farm Free Friday, but taking extra efforts to stop the mistreatment of animals in our Care. In the name of compassion and a more harmonious system, glorify the Kingdom by embracing both days. Reducing the physical pains inflicted on animals is truly an act of compassion that will be a blessing to these beings who have already suffered greatly.
Remember Jesus, the Kind shepherd. He surely hugged enough lambs to understand how to treat them. A choice this simple, for appropriately planned dietary diversity, is right in line with Jesus’s teachings for compassion. Enjoying plant foods to a greater extent also makes a valuable social impact by shifting economic support to “little guy” vegetable farmers, instead of agri-business giants. Nurturing the safer, non-violent, farming practices makes our footprint on Earth a blessed one.
To whatever extent you enjoy animal foods, just beginning to watch over the process with honesty & good intentions, is vital to making an informed choice. Acting as caring shepherds in today’s society, ought to include some strategies to remove animals from sad situations. Let the Commandment Thou Shalt Not Kill be our guide. Throughout Gods kingdom, where can killing be lessened? Surely it’s the animal factories and slaughterhouses. They need to be lessened anyway because they are gobbling up the planets natural resources at a rapid pace. And honoring a couple days a week just so happens to be the easiest and tastiest way to make a big difference.
Finally, Let’s Consider where God resides. What would the Lord’s blessing be to the farmed animals? There is no doubt that God shares every moment with the vulnerable and oppressed, including animals. God and the Angels have no choice but to witness how animals are mistreated. When mutilation, confinement, and dismemberment is the unfortunate lived experience of billions of animals trapped on factory farms, it’s like an open scar when no comfort is given to so many miserable life forms. While some of us cannot bear to look at what’s happening to these creatures made of flesh and blood, consumed for food, that’ doesn’t make it go away. For leaders and people of Faith, I believe there is a clear moral obligation to turn around some of the unfortunate situations and affirm healthier farming practices. The good news is that solutions are potentially plentiful!
Whether it’s community Garden plots, fresh produce at pantry’s, or warm community meals, each food access program is an opportunity to connect with ancient agricultural traditions that are glorious because they are natural. And by sharing Heart-Healthy, plant-based meals on Monday and Friday we can maintain our bodies as temples, fitting to match the vibrancy of our spirits.
Will you mention during Sermon the blessings of harmony we can bestow on our food and farming system? Please consider this and create a sacred space for plant-based dietary diversity in the church. Cafeterias in your area can also make a big difference when they increase reliance on healthy farming practices. So please let them know about Monday and Friday!
Thanks you for the opportunity to serve! With Love and Care,
NEO Meatless Monday Coalition.
PS: Here are some helpful references for food services that we encourage you to share to honor these blessed merciful days throughout ecumenical and civil society Cafeterias!
- The USDA and Let’s Move! created this collection of 30 kid-approved recipes featuring vegetables, dry beans and peas, and whole grains.
http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/recipes-healthy-kids-cookbook-child-care-centers-0The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s toolkit helps food service professionals introduce vegetarian meals while maintaining USDA requirements. http://pcrm.org/pdfs/health/School_Lunch_Guide.pdf
- The Humane Society of the US has so much to share like Interviews and success stories from institutional food service managers serving meatless meals. There is guidance and recipes to help K-12 cafeterias, University dining services, Hospital systems, etc. make the tastiest Meatless Monday meals possible. http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/eating/facts/meatless_monday_toolkits.htmlToolkit for Hospitals: http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/farm/meatless_mondays_toolkit_hospitals.pdf
- Good news and reports about meat-reduction going mainstream can be found on Facebook Like page “Agricultural Progress”. On Twitter @MeatlessMonday and @MeatFreeMonday post phenomenal recipes and updates to propel local and National observance!
- firstname.lastname@example.org is the Humane Society professional w/ all the helpful posters and pointers anyone at these institutions can contact for free guidance on smooth implementation of Meatless Monday.