Other Vegan Views articles
Editorial by Harry Mather, Vegan Views 80 (Summer/Autumn 1998)

Firstly, I have to apologise for the late appearance of this issue. This summer has been very busy for me and time could not be found for a summer issue.

Now is the time of harvest, when we gather and store fruits and vegetables for the coming winter. Nowadays we assume we can go to our local shopping centre and buy the same sort of fruit and veg throughout the year, but Churches still recall the ancient festival of Harvest Thanksgiving, when people rejoiced in a successful harvest. Churches are decorated with fruits, pumpkins, grapes, etc, which make a beautiful sight. Nowhere do they hang up carcasses or animal ribs and rumps that form a major part of the meals of the general public.

In ancient times the altar was the place where animals were brought to be slaughtered. A heifer or lamb without blemish was brought for slaughter by the priest and presumably was eaten by them, whilst the poorer people subsisted mainly on grains and pulses. Today, slaughterhouses are kept well out of sight and out of mind, and most shoppers make no connection between a live animal and the dead piece of meat in its hygienic wrapping (though it may be contaminated with salmonella, etc). They may even buy their meat in ready prepared form in pies etc, or disguised as sausages, fish fingers, rissoles, burgers, etc. Christians seem to believe that Jesus sacrificed his life in a manner of substitution for the animal sacrifices of earlier times.

The altar is now blood free but most Sunday worshippers still like to go home to dine on the flesh of animals slaughtered in secretive bloodstained corners, which they would be horrified to visit. Fortunately, many people are making the connection between the food on their plate and the cruel facts of the slaughterhouse and also of the dairyhouse. Their respect for animals influences what they eat. Many continue to turn vegetarian and vegan, and the latest opinion poll finds that there are now 250,000 vegans in this country. This is still less than 1% but the trend is strongly upwards and greatly encouraging. The recent one-day Vegan Festival was overcrowded with eager, happy vegans. There is much to be happy about with confidence for the future.

Related Vegan Views articles...
Cross-reference: Religion