Ahimsa Grove

Ahimsa Grove is a resource for vegan pagan living. It will include personal experiences and musings, recipes, shopping tips, vegan ethical and dietary considerations, and ideas for pagan practice including spells, rituals, and herbcraft.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Ahimsa Grove: The October 2nd World Farmed Animal Day Fast Against Slaughter

When I first heard about the annual fast against slaughter, which is a campaign hosted by FARM (Farmed Animal Rights Movement), I didn’t do it. Let’s face it, a day without food is usually a pretty big deal. It may sound doable right up until the witching hour, but then resolve can crumble away.

The fast occurs on October 2nd, partly because this is Gandhi’s birthday. The messaging on the campaign website is as follows:

"Each day, 160 million farmed animals are transported to meet their gruesome end at slaughterhouses throughout the world. These caring, sensitive individuals are denied food, water, and rest on their journeys for several hours, up to days. They are scared. They are starving. And their suffering is silenced by an industry that doesn’t want us to know the truth. Yet we refuse to be silent.

Together, tens of thousands will rise on October 2nd to speak the truth about farmed animals. In the historical tradition of Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi, we will join together in a one-day Fast Against Slaughter in solidarity with these innocent victims. Through our voluntary sacrifice of food on this day, we will amplify the voices of the billions of farmed animals suffering around the world. We will inspire others to learn the truth. And we will mobilize a compassionate global community who will not wait for justice, but who will make it a reality."

Find out more or take the pledge now at: http://www.dayforanimals.org/pledge

Last year when I first heard about the campaign, I said, “maybe next year.” So this year, rather than deal with my own hypocrisy, I signed the pledge to do it. I have taken several juice fasts before, so I felt more confident that I could make it through one day.

But it is now about ten thirty in the morning, and I am reminded yet again of how much time and energy we spend thinking about, acquiring, and eating our food. There is nothing wrong with this. Every species of animal spends life focused on comfort, happiness, and survival. I believe that we humans have the right to do this. I also take this day to be mindful of the rights of others.

Whenever my hungry mind or my hungry tummy reminds me that today is different, I hope I can remember to contemplate words of wisdom like those of Gandhi himself, when he addressed the London Vegetarian Society in 1931:

“I would love to think that all of us who called ourselves vegetarians should have that [moral] basis. There were thousands of meat-eaters who did not stay meat-eaters. There must be a definite reason for our making that change in our lives, from our adopting habits and customs different from society, even though sometimes that change may offend those nearest and dearest to us. Not for the world should you sacrifice a moral principle. Therefore the only basis for having a vegetarian society and proclaiming a vegetarian principle is, and must be, a moral one.” [from http://www.ivu.org/history/gandhi/]

In this speech he was discussing his evolving understanding of a vegetarian diet as an ethics choice versus one about personal health or religious observation (without understanding of why it was a religious observation, as he said he had done as a youth). Of course Gandhi was not negating the other reasons for a plant based diet. He was simply pointing out that he found his ethical convictions to be the most motivating reason, once he arrived at them.

Another writer who talks a great deal about spiritual and moral reasons for veganism is Dr. Will Tuttle. In “World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony (Lantern, 2005),” he talks about the spiritual importance of food (food choices) throughout the book. For example:

"Since time immemorial--going back at least two and a half millennia to Pythagoras in Greece, the Old Testament prophets in the ancient Levant, and Mahavira and Gautama Buddha in India, as well as later luminaries such as Plato, Plotinus, and the early Christian fathers--social reformers and spiritual teachers have emphasized the importance of attending to our attitudes and practices surrounding food. The fact that these teachings have been aggressively ignored, discounted, and covered up over the centuries is of paramount significance, and if we look deeply into the wounds and attitudes responsible for this cover-up, we will discover liberating truths about our culture and ourselves, and about the way to positive personal and planetary transformation."

If you read my blog, you already know that I admire veg-pagan ancestors Pythagoras, Plato, and Plotinus. They, along with the other forbears mentioned, made the connection between what (who) we eat and our spiritual condition.

Tuttle explains further:

"Partaking of food is...a comprehensive metaphor for healing, spiritual transformation, forgiveness, and transcendent love. At a deep level, we all know this. Food preparation is the only art that allows us literally to incorporate what we create, and it is also the only art that fully involves all five senses. It also relies heavily on what is referred to in Buddhist teachings as the sixth sense: mentation, the mental activity that contextualizes what we perceive through our senses. We have incredible intricate and complex layers of thinking and feeling attached to food that are an important part of our experience of eating. Our family and culture contribute enormously to these thoughts and feelings, and these memories and identifications give meaning to our meals."

Whether we all agree on the food choices we make, I hope that this information helps us all (my hungry-self included) to more deeply appreciate our food, where it comes from, and its “cost” (whatever that is on many levels).

I also hope we are more deeply able to be grateful for what freedom we have to fill ourselves, be safe and happy, and to lead satisfying lives. Blessings and all wishes of peace.

Last modified on
Leslie earned her Master of Divinity Degree at Vanderbilt University and is a Wiccan Priestess, Ordained Interfaith and seeking ordination through the Temple of the Feminine Divine in Bangor. Her column in SageWoman, “Child of Artemis,” deals with women and our relationship with animals. Leslie considers herself a cultural worker, dealing with issues of violence and oppression as they impact humans and other species. She has worked at a rural domestic violence prevention program since 2001 and is a board member on VegME, Maine’s vegan advocacy group.  


Additional information