ISKCON, or the Hare Krishna Movement, believes the art of cooking is a sacred experience. The preparation and eating of food should be based on principles of compassion, non-violence and balanced living. Thus, Krishna devotees advocate a vegetarian diet, strictly avoiding meat, fish and eggs.
According to the laws of karma and reincarnation if an animal is killed before its allotted time it has to take birth again in the same type of body in order to complete its remaining days and be promoted upwards to the next species. Thus its evolution upwards through the different species of life is checked. Therefore, the killing of animals simply to satisfy the demands of the palate is an act of both material and spiritual violence.
The Bhagavad-gita further declares that one who lovingly offers his food to God according to scriptural guidelines becomes freed from sinful reactions, or karma. Stopping animal killing reduces our collective karmic debt, and thus helps alleviate the horrors of war which so plague the modern world.
Before eating anything devotees of Krishna perform a ceremony whereby they offer their food to God. This religious performance sanctifies the food and frees the person eating it from the karma involved in the collection and preparation of the ingredients.
ISKCON also distributes over one million plates of free sanctified vegetarian food daily through its Food for Life program, making it the world’s largest free vegetarian food relief program.
FFL LONDON – FREE HOT MEALS
Monday to Saturday
Kentish Town, Caversham Road, 12:00h to 12:55h
Camden Town,Inverness Street, 13:00h to 13:50h
Kings Cross, York Way, 14:00h to 14:30h
Several ISKCON farm communities like Bhaktivedanta Manor outside London produce cruelty free or ahimsa milk, ensuring that no cows, calves or bulls are slaughtered in the production of milk, but are instead treated with respect, love and care.
There are many logical reasons to become vegetarian.
Grain-fed animals contribute to severe health problems to humans like heart disease, several types of cancer, diabetes, etc. How? Cattle have stomachs meant to digest grass, not grains. But grains, unlike grass, can be grown elsewhere, transported to the slaughterhouses and fed to the animals there. The unnatural change of diet for cattle from grass to grains causes many diseases in them. So they are routinely administered antibiotics, which lead to the formation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria being formed in their bodies. When the meat of such animals is eaten by humans, the resistant bacteria threaten the effectiveness of the medicines that treat the meat-eaters. No wonder 90-97% heart diseases can be stopped by switching to a vegetarian diet.
Assembly-line meat factories (read ‘hi-tech slaughterhouses’) cause enormous pollution of water bodies. In Iowa, USA alone, pig farms and pig factories produce more than 50 million tons of excrement. Moreover these factories also generate significant greenhouse gases. A Japanese study estimated that 2.2 pounds of beef emits as much carbon dioxide as is emitted by the average European car every 155 miles.
Overall, assembly-line meat factories:
- consume enormous amounts of energy,
- pollute water supplies,
- generate significant greenhouse gases and
- require ever-increasing amounts of grains, thus destroying forests.
Life – Subhuman:
Around 60 billion animals are “processed” (grown and kill) every year, or 10 animals per person per year. With the average human life span of 75 years, one human life causes death to 10 x 75 = 750 animals!
Not only does our meat diet cause death to millions of animals, but it causes torturous death to them, as is evident the treatment of Male chicks: Male chicks of egg laying breeds are of no economic value. They may be thrown in trashcans where they are suffocated or crushed under the weight of others. Another common method used to dispose of unwanted male chicks is grinding them up alive. Male chicks are either packed in plastic bin bags to suffocate to death or thrown away in dustbins. The recent trend is to grind the male chicks alive and use it as high fertility manure for the farms.
Life – Human:
Though some 800 million people on the planet suffer from hunger or malnutrition, majority of corn and soya grown in the world, which could be used to feed these starving humans, feeds cattle, pigs and chickens instead. When animals eat grains and then humans eat their flesh, the calories humans get is around one-fifth of what humans would get if they ate the grains directly.
The fear and anger in the animals while being slaughtered enters into our consciousness subtly through their flesh and impels us to act fearfully and angrily. Even if we imagine that we can eat meat and still think positively, the negative karmic consequences of our actions will soon catch up with us. Thus our non-vegetarian diet will hurt not only other human beings, but also us too.