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More Vegan Awareness by David Langby, Vegan Views 94 (Autumn 2002)

On November 18th 1992, a large group of the world's leading scientists issued a statement voicing their concerns about the human mismanagement of the earth. Seventeen hundred scientists including most of the living Nobel Prize winners in Science, put their names to the document. It reads as follows:

"Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and sometimes irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about. The environment is suffering critical stress."

The statement opens with a clear, apocalyptic warning: if we don't change our ways, life will be unsustainable. Stratospheric ozone depletion threatens us with enhanced ultraviolet radiation at the earth's surface, which can be damaging or lethal to many life forms. Air pollution near ground level, and acid precipitation, are already causing widespread injury to humans, forests and crops. Needless exploitation of depletable ground water supplies endangers food production and other essential human systems. Heavy demands on the world's surface waters have resulted in serious shortages in some 80 countries, containing 40% of the world's population. Pollution of lakes and ground water further limits the supply.

On the subject of diet, the following may be of interest:

"There is compelling evidence now published in top scientific journals and some of which is decades old, showing that cow's milk is associated, possibly even causally, with a wide variety of serious human ailments including various cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and an array of allergy-related diseases. And this food contains no nutrients that cannot be better obtained from any far more nutritious and tasty foods." (Dr. Colin Campbell)

"Inclusion of milk will only reduce your diet's nutritional value and safety. Most of the people on the planet live very healthfully without cow's milk. You can too" (Robert M. Kradjian M.D.)

"I no longer recommend dairy products…there was a time when cow's milk was considered very desirable. But research along with clinical experience has forced doctors and nutritionists to rethink this recommendation." (Dr. Benjamin Spock).

Life is about seeking knowledge if we wish to progress. There is a problem still which threatens both humans and animals, and that is ignorance. It lies as the root cause of the needless cruelty continuing today. We will enhance the spiritual side of our mind by respecting the rights of living things.

Ahimsa is the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain principle on non-violence that encourages respect for all living things. The Jains revere ahimsa as the root virtue. Jainism, a sect of Buddhism, was widely spread in the 6th century BC by Mahavira ("great hero"), a contemporary of Buddha. Ahimsa means "non harming" and abstinence from injury of any living creature through thought, word, or deed.

Humans can choose truth and right actions, or falsehood and wrong actions. Animals must be helped in their present plight. They deserve it from us. So often humans alone are the centre of attention while animals are pushed out. They must be given the respect they deserve as God's creatures.

We need to live together with our animal friends in peace and harmony. Evil will be diminished when animals are looked after and cared for by ourselves. This is a sound ethical basis. Everything in this life is on loan to us. Everything we are given to look after is a responsibility. True responsibility is the ability to respond to the needs of everything around us, from flowers to trees, animals, humans, and the world.

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Cross-reference: Religion
Cross-reference: Environment