of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians
Interfaith Peace Effort Pursuing Plant-based, Nonviolent Nutrition
(718) 761-5876 Fax: (718) 982-3631
e-mail to: SERV Coordinator (Richard
is an interfaith effort to gain a more humane, just, peaceful, and environmentally
sustainable world. We believe that applying spiritual values to scientific
knowledge encourages plant-based diets, with major benefits for humans,
animals, and the environment.
wish to respectfully make religious communities aware that the realities
of animal-based diets and agriculture are inconsistent with basic religious
teachings, such as those to treat animals with compassion, preserve our
health, protect the environment, conserve natural resources, reduce hunger,
and pursue peace and nonviolence.
does not aim to replace any religious vegetarian groups, we hope to help
all such groups by helping to show the strong teachings in every religion
that point to vegetarianism as the ideal diet today. We also believe that
our interfaith approach may help gain greater media coverage. Among
the initial leaders of SERV are the following vegetarian and animal rights
authors and activists: Keith Akers, Nathan Braun, Bruce Friedrich, Roberta
Kalechofsky, Stephen R. Kaufman, Reverend Andrew Linzey, Norm Phelps, and
Richard H. Schwartz. We expect to have many more leading people in
our movement as we strive for a very diverse group involving representatives
of all the major religions.
website includes a bibliography of religion-based vegetarian books and
key articles, a list of websites with religious teachings on vegetarianism,
and a set of quotations related to faith-based vegetarianism.
spite of the many benefits of plant-based diets and the many negative effects
of animal-based diets and agriculture, the vast majority of people still
eat meat and other animal products. It is essential that there is a major
shift toward vegetarianism to end (or at least sharply reduce) epidemics
of diseases that are afflicting so many people, horrible mistreatment of
animals, many threats to ecosystems, global climate change, wasteful use
of water, land, fuel, and other resources, widespread hunger, and increasing
is difficult for small vegetarian organizations to effectively counter
the campaigns of animal agriculture industries. However, we believe that
religious communities are potentially powerful allies, since the realities
of animal-centered diets and agriculture are so contrary to basic religious
RESPECTFUL CHALLENGE TO RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES:
Religions stress that we should treat all creatures with compassion. Yet,
ten billion animals are raised in abusive "factory farms" and brutally
slaughtered annually in the U.S. Farmers deny animals fresh
air, space to move comfortably, and fulfillment of their instinctive needs.
Religions teach that people be very careful about preserving their health
and their lives. However, animal-centered diets have been linked to heart
disease, several forms of cancer, strokes, and other degenerative diseases.
Religions emphasize sharing with hungry people. However, two-thirds of
harvested grain in the U.S. and 37% worldwide is fed to animals destined
for slaughter. Meanwhile, an estimated 20 million people die annually because
of hunger and its effects.
Religions teach that preserving and nurturing the earth is a spiritual
imperative. Yet, animal-centered diets waste food, land, water, energy,
and other resources, contribute substantially to soil erosion and depletion,
and promote air and water pollution, tropical rain forest and other habitat
destruction, and global warming.
Religions stress that people should pursue peace and that violence results
from unjust conditions. However, animal-based diets, by wasting valuable
resources, help to perpetuate the widespread hunger and poverty that eventually
lead to instability and war.
towards a vegetarian diet expresses one's conviction that we should show
compassion for animals, preserve health, help feed hungry people, protect
the environment, conserve resources, and pursue peace. We respectfully
ask those who take religious values seriously: Should we not be moving
towards plant-based diets?
help spread our message. For example, you could make appointments
with your local religious leaders to discuss these issues. We would be
pleased to provide background information on religious teachings about
vegetarian issues. It is time that we end the ignorance and apathy in religious
communities about animal-based diets and agriculture.
contact us for further information and/or to become a SERV member and join
us in our efforts to make breakthroughs toward getting vegetarianism squarely
onto the agenda of religious groups and society. SERV members receive periodic
e-mail messages about our activities, letter-writing campaigns, and other
opportunities. There are no obligations -- you can do as much or as little
as you wish.
updated January 3, 2007
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material copyright 2007 by the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians
or the authors.