How To Treat Animals

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Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
So, this is something I've thought about for a long time. I have a sensitivity for the lives of all animals, but most people around me don't. If a spider is in our house, generally I will try to catch it and release it outside, while most people I know would kill it. In these situations, I'm typically the one who feels like the weird one. Anyway, please read this from John Angell James, from his book called "A Christian Father's Present to His Children", and respond as to whether his belief is accurate or not, and why.

(A reluctance to inflict misery, even to an insect, is not a mere decoration of the character, which we are left at liberty to wear or to neglect—but it is a disposition which we are commanded, as matter of duty to cherish. It is a necessary part of virtue. It is impossible to inflict pain, and connect the idea of gratification with such an act, without experiencing some degree of mental hardening. We are not surprised that he who, while a boy, amused himself in killing flies, should, when he became a master, exhibit the character of a cruel and remorseless tyrant. To find pleasure in causing animals to fight and devour each other, is a disposition truly diabolical; and the man who can find delight in dog-fighting, cock-fighting, bull-baiting—is quite prepared to imitate those cannibals who sported with the mangled carcases and palpitating limbs of their murdered victims, and dragged them about with their teeth in their gardens.

Horse-racing, in addition to the cruelty with which it is attended, is generally a means of assembling on the course, all the gamesters, swindlers, and vile characters in the neighborhood—and is the cause of much drunkenness, debauchery, and ruin. All field sports, of every kind, are, in my view, condemned by the laws of humanity. Shooting, hunting, fishing—are all cruel. What agony is inflicted in hooking a worm or a fish; in maiming a bird; in chasing and distressing a rabbit. And to find sport in doing this, is inhuman and unchristian. To say that these animals are given for food, and must be killed, is not a reply to my argument. I am not contending against killing them, or eating them—but against the act of killing of them for sport!

The infliction of death, under any circumstances, and upon any creature, however insignificant in the scale of creation, is too serious a matter to be a source of amusement. No two terms can be more incongruous than death and sport. It seems totally monstrous, that after having subjected the irrational creation to the terrors of death by his sin, man should experience pleasure in executing the sentence. Death is the enemy even of animals. And irrational creates manifest symptoms of instinctive horror at man's approach. For one to find delight in throwing the shuddering victim to the devourer, is shocking. I would extend these remarks to all animals, and say, that it is unlawful to find sport in killing such as are harmful. Wolves, bears, serpents, are to be destroyed when their continuance endangers human life—but to find pleasure in the act of killing even these, has a hardening tendency on the human heart.)
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
It depends on the animal. I'll save a spider (they do a lot of good) but not a fly, and I wouldn't hesitate to kill a cockroach or a rat if I found one in my house. But I'd never torture anything.

My brother and I, when we were kids, sprinkled salt on snails and slugs. My dad appreciated us wiping out the snail and slug population in the garden. We also got rid of countless wasps. We shot them down with elastics.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Graduate
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast.—Proverbs 12:10

And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die. Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir.—Genesis 33:13-14

And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay. Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me.—Numbers 22:28-32

Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.—Deuteronomy 25:4
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
I whole heartedly agree with him. Also, we should take better care of the animals we raise for food. They live such horrid lives before they are slaughtered. God made man to have dominion over the animals. This includes taking care of them properly. I will have to say that I'm not perfect at this though. I do put out rat poison when there are mice in my house etc. I wish I didn't have to and they would stay out of my house but they don't.
 

Von

Puritan Board Sophomore
This is a bit of a slippery-slope both ways.
I agree that killing an animal for fun - as in torturing for the pleasure of it - is wrong, but in such an instance, the animal is incidental. The heart of the person is at fault.
Now no one will argue that we should NOT kill harmful bacteria. But what about the carriers of those bacteria, like rats and flies. What about when I see a sac spider in my children's room (or in mine for that matter)? Should I just try and shoo-shoo it to the door?
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
How to treat animals:
-Well done and with good seasoning.


No, I believe the animal rights people have taken a basic Christian worldview and distorted it, but the basic principle remains, that we should treat animals kindly. I was very touched by the movie Temple Grandin about the lady providing ethical and humane ways even to slaughter cattle. She did not refrain from killing them for food, but she organized a way to do it humanely.

Jesus ate both fish and lamb it seems, and so veganism is a distortion. But ethical treatment of all sentient beings seems consistent with the Christian worldview.

For instance, I like my son to kill flies, but I don't allow him to pull the wings off of them, or torture animals in any way.
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Shooting, hunting, fishing—are all cruel. What agony is inflicted in hooking a worm or a fish; in maiming a bird; in chasing and distressing a rabbit. And to find sport in doing this, is inhuman and unchristian.

Ryan,

I was okay with everything until he makes the above comment. I am sorry, but it is not "unchristian" to enjoy going fishing with live bait. Chasing a rabbit in hunting is not sin. The author goes too far. He does not sound like a guy who really understands fishing or hunting. In commercial fishing most ocean creatures are literally starved of oxygen while they sit on ice. Shrimp are frozen to DEATH. When I fish/hunt for fun, I am also fishing/hunting for food. Further, most fish caught and cleaned by private individuals (recreational) are actually cleaned while they are still alive:eek:. Recreational hunting or fishing is NOT always sinful. Can it be? sure...but everything good can become sin when humans are involved.

So while I do believe we should treat all of God's creation with respect and we should not intentionally torture God's creation, I do not agree with the logic of the author in this section.
 
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Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
In this life, there are times it is appropriate to kill an animal. But we should do this humanely, and not purely for sport.

If your sensibilities cause you to catch spiders and set them free outdoors, rather than kill them, it is probably because you reflect the tenderness their Creator has for them as well. Nothing wrong with that. Personally, I usually kill spiders I find in my house, but even for spiders I feel a tinge of sadness that this was necessary. I don't like setting mousetraps, either, but I am unwilling to share my house with mice and there is no more effective way to get rid of them.

I have always felt that hunting purely for sport is not the best way to reflect the Creator's concern for his creatures.
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
Ryan,

I was okay with everything until he makes the above comment. I am sorry, but it is not "unchristian" to enjoy going fishing with live bait. Chasing a rabbit in hunting is not sin. The author goes too far. He does not sound like a guy who really understands fishing or hunting. In commercial fishing most ocean creatures are literally starved of oxygen while they sit on ice. Shrimp are frozen to DEATH. When I fish/hunt for fun, I am also fishing/hunting for food. Further, most fish caught and cleaned by private individuals (recreational) are actually cleaned while they are still alive:eek:. Recreational hunting or fishing is NOT always sinful. Can it be? sure...but everything good can become sin when humans are involved.

I wonder how he feels about how John the Baptist ate locusts.

So while I do believe we should treat all of God's creation with respect and we should not intentionally torture God's creation, I do not agree with the logic of the author in this section.
Thanks for the reply, brother. So I think his point is that it's fine to kill animals for the sake of food, clothing, etc., But that we should never find pleasure and joy in inflicting pain and fear upon a sensible creature.

Am I misunderstanding you? If not, maybe you can explain how one could enjoy terrorizing then killing a creature. Thanks!
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Ryan,

I was okay with everything until he makes the above comment. I am sorry, but it is not "unchristian" to enjoy going fishing with live bait. Chasing a rabbit in hunting is not sin. The author goes too far. He does not sound like a guy who really understands fishing or hunting. In commercial fishing most ocean creatures are literally starved of oxygen while they sit on ice. Shrimp are frozen to DEATH. When I fish/hunt for fun, I am also fishing/hunting for food. Further, most fish caught and cleaned by private individuals (recreational) are actually cleaned while they are still alive:eek:. Recreational hunting or fishing is NOT always sinful. Can it be? sure...but everything good can become sin when humans are involved.

I wonder how he feels about how John the Baptist ate locusts.

So while I do believe we should treat all of God's creation with respect and we should not intentionally torture God's creation, I do not agree with the logic of the author in this section.

You left out the last part of the quote by him which is necessary in order to understand his full meaning. The last part of his quote is:

"To say that these animals are given for food, and must be killed, is not a reply to my argument. I am not contending against killing them, or eating them—but against the act of killing of them for sport!"

He's not condemning hunting, fishing, etc in order to obtain food to eat. He's condemning hunting, fishing, etc for sport. Most hunters that hunt grizzly bears, mountain goats, lions, massive size fish, moose, etc do so in order to prove themselves as the conquer of all and not because they need to fill their freezer with this type of meat. They take pictures of their kill and splash it on social media then hang the animal's head on their wall. Why are they doing this?

To be honest, I don't find hunting for sport as wicked as how cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys are being treated. It makes me want to vomit when I see their conditions and the torture they endure. I really wish there were more small farmers who take good care of their animals and sold their meat. The more small farmers there are the more I could afford their meat. But the big industry has nearly put them out of business.
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Thanks for the reply, brother. So I think his point is that it's fine to kill animals for the sake of food, clothing, etc., But that we should never find pleasure and joy in inflicting pain and fear upon a sensible creature.

Am I misunderstanding you? If not, maybe you can explain how one could enjoy terrorizing then killing a creature. Thanks!

My main issue with the author are with some of his BLANKET statements, which are not grounded in scripture.

Let me explain why they do not work:

To be clear I am not advocating that a person should enjoy terrorizing any of God's Creation (Fish or a Tree).

Some recreational fisherman practice "catch & release" (which can be a great practice at times for rightly managing wildlife), so are they in sin when they HOOK the fish and then release it as "not to be eaten"? NO (Side note: Fish, in particular, do not feel pain the same way you and I experience pain).

But there is nothing wrong with a Christian Commercial Fisherman enjoying his job. Despite what some may think, there is nothing wrong with a Christian working at a Chicken Slaughter House and enjoying the work God has provided for them and their family. Now if they sadistically enjoy watching chickens have their throats sliced..they would likely be in sin. Again can those jobs become sinful..yes. But some of the blanket statements made by the author you quote are not true.

Can you kill any of God's creatures and not use it for food in a non-sinful manner? Yes (otherwise you better eat every dead termite that appears when you have your house treated for bugs)

Another example...my father trained me to shoot snakes, turtles, and frogs on catfish farms. The snakes, turtles, and frogs would eat the fish if left unchecked. So I would kill them and only eat the frogs. Did I enjoy the death? No, but I did enjoy the challenge and the idea that I was protecting the fish. (If I were Cajun I may have eaten the turtles too:eek:).
 
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Grant

Puritan Board Senior
You left out the last part of the quote by him which is necessary in order to understand his full meaning. The last part of his quote is:

"To say that these animals are given for food, and must be killed, is not a reply to my argument. I am not contending against killing them, or eating them—but against the act of killing of them for sport!"

He's not condemning hunting, fishing, etc in order to obtain food to eat. He's condemning hunting, fishing, etc for sport. Most hunters that hunt grizzly bears, mountain goats, lions, massive size fish, moose, etc do so in order to prove themselves as the conquer of all and not because they need to fill their freezer with this type of meat. They take pictures of their kill and splash it on social media then hang the animal's head on their wall. Why are they doing this?

To be honest, I don't find hunting for sport as wicked as how cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys are being treated. It makes me want to vomit when I see their conditions and the torture they endure. I really wish there were more small farmers who take good care of their animals and sold their meat. The more small farmers there are the more I could afford their meat. But the big industry has nearly put them out of business.

No, I read the full document. Again, I disagree. The statement is too blanketed.

A Christian can rightly kill creatures without killing it for food in some circumstances. He also equates using hooks as "torture".

He literally says "Shooting, Hunting, and Fishing are all Cruel".
That is not a helpful blanket statement.

Added:
To be clear I am NOT advocating for solely "Sport Killing" or sadistic pain infliction. I do not think recreational catch&release fishing is toture.
Further I have heard of men in Mississippi who kill extra deer and donate it to one of the Mississippi Food Kitchens. So they kill for sport, but they do not waste the meat. This practice cannot be blanketed to be sinful in every case.
 
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De Jager

Puritan Board Sophomore
When I was 10 years old, me and a friend were shooting his brother's pellet gun. We went into an empty silo and noticed pigeons flying around the top. I hit one and it dropped. The pellet didn't kill it though. I then had to shoot it several times at point blank after that, loading each pellet individually in order for it to die.

I was scarred for life by that episode. I find killing for sport very hard to stomach.
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
When I was 10 years old, me and a friend were shooting his brother's pellet gun. We went into an empty silo and noticed pigeons flying around the top. I hit one and it dropped. The pellet didn't kill it though. I then had to shoot it several times at point blank after that, loading each pellet individually in order for it to die.

I was scarred for life by that episode. I find killing for sport very hard to stomach.
I had similar experiences as a kid. I think I was in much sin when I would spend my summers shooting birds and such for sport with my Red Ryder.

My father helped me one day learn a valuable lesson. One rainy day I killed a squirrel purely for "fun". It took many many shots. My dad found out and he made me clean the animal to cook it. After that I changed my ways.
 
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Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Most if not all current recreational fishing/hunting has at least some aspect of sport to it..Period. So again the blanket statements do not work.
 
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OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
No, I read the full document. Again, I disagree. The statement is too blanket.

A Christian can rightly kill creatures without killing it for food in some circumstances. He also equates using hooks as "torture".

He literally says "Shooting, Hunting, and Fishing are all Cruel"
That is not a helpful blanket statement.

Added:
To be clear I am NOT advocating for solely "Sport Killing" or sadistic pain infliction. I do not think recreational catch&release fishing is "Sport Killing".

"Past studies by other scientists had suggested that invertebrates such as earthworms — animals lacking backbones — do not produce enkephalins or endorphins. The presumption from this was that since there are no selfproduced opiates in invertebrate animals they probably do not feel pain. But the Swedish team reported that not only are these substances present in earthworms, but they are localized in immunoreactive nerves in the cerebral ganglion — the earthworm's equivalent of a brain."

“Fish do feel pain. It’s likely different from what humans feel, but it is still a kind of pain.”

We should remember that all creatures feel some sort of pain. Is it wrong to use a worm on a hook to catch a fish with a hook when a person needs to eat? Absolutely not. Is it wrong to do this in order to catch and release fish just because you want some entertainment? Absolutely yes.
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
“Fish do feel pain. It’s likely different from what humans feel, but it is still a kind of pain.”
This is exactly what I already said in Post # 11

Re-pasted below:

"(Side note: Fish, in particular, do not feel pain the same way you and I experience pain)."
 
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Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Is it wrong to do this in order to catch and release fish just because you want some entertainment? Absolutely yes.
Not 100% true. Catch & Release with live bait can in some ways be understood as feeding God's fish what they already are designed to eat. Can it be abused yes, but it is not always sin. Is it sinful for a Christian to own a pet snake and feed the snake live mice? Not always. Your logic does not stand.
If the entertainment is coming from stabbing the worms with hooks or watching the live mice die, then yes..something if very OFF.

Here is another example where you are wrong (I assume you do not have a lot of experience fishing, nor does it seem like you have ever cleaned a fish). Your statement would forbid a Christian from the enjoying the below scenario in an non-sinful manner:

I go fishing with a group of men with "live crickets". I, being one who as fished all my life, am familiar with states Game laws regarding daily species limits and size limits. I also know full well that I will catch many "eaters", but I will likely catch a fish that is too big to eat (risk of increased worms and disease) or a fish that I am legally required to throw back due to size.

I place a cricket on my hook and I hook a monster........hmmmm Bull Red-fish. I get the fish in the boat, take a picture, and throw it back because the fish is too big. According to your view I have sinned by knowingly stabbing a cricket (or pogie bait) and enjoying reeling in the monster fish that I knew (once hooked) was too big to keep. Please. I see it as me feeding the fish. I also enjoy cutting my grass and I am sure I have killed many living creatures in doing so. The difference Is that I do not take pleasure in the harm being caused.

Matthew 17:26
26 And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27 However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

Last I checked even Jesus understood that to catch a fish you need a hook! Further the goal of Christ in using the hook to catch the fish in this text was NOT to catch dinner. This in NO way insinuates that Christ was in Sin or commanded torture of animals. But to insinuate "You can only use hooks(with live bait) if you eat the fish" is folly. Sometimes you accidentally hook things you should not eat so you are forced to throw it back, but this does not make it always sinful to have enjoyed catching and reeling it in. Again being sadistic is sinful, but I am not advocating people to be sadistic.

Are Scientist across the world who use hooks for "Catch & Release" for study always in sin if they enjoy thrill of catching the shark (or other large marine life)? By your logic I think you would be forced to say Yes. I disagree.

By the way, when you use Rat Poison, you basically are causing the animal to die, usually within one to two days, from internal hemorrhaging. Again I do not see using rat poison as sinful all the time, but YOUR logic and intentionally placing out the poison that you know will cause pain and suffering...do not coincide. Maybe you just love worms more than mice (and that is quite logical in my opinion;)).
 
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GulfCoast Presbyterian

Puritan Board Junior
I shoot a fair number of ducks, geese, and doves every year. I enjoy doing so. I enjoy eating them just as much, and prefer fresh over some force-fed pen-raised bird from the supermarket. I eat all that I shoot, and I shoot nothing I do not intend to eat. I could feed myself without shooting birds to eat, but I prefer to hunt my own birds for food. Thus, I think the point in the letter is very overstated.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
As far as hunting goes--if someone is hunting and not eating his game, he's cheating himself; I don't see the point.

As far as catch-and-release fishing (a favorite recreation of mine), it doesn't affect the fish population, except when a fish is accidentally killed (and the moderate thinning of the population is good for the fish, anyway). Also, the fish aren't really hurt by the hook, as far as I know. I don't know how to clean or cook a fish yet, but I plan to learn. I consider my current fishing as practice for when I start cleaning and eating them.

I couldn't resist sharing a picture. My son caught his first fish a few weeks ago. We'll be cleaning them and cooking them together before long.
20180825_193141.jpg
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
As far as hunting goes--if someone is hunting and not eating his game, he's cheating himself; I don't see the point.

As far as catch-and-release fishing (a favorite recreation of mine), it doesn't affect the fish population, except when a fish is accidentally killed (and the moderate thinning of the population is good for the fish, anyway). Also, the fish aren't really hurt by the hook, as far as I know. I don't know how to clean or cook a fish yet, but I plan to learn. I consider my current fishing as practice for when I start cleaning and eating them.

I couldn't resist sharing a picture. My son caught his first fish a few weeks ago. We'll be cleaning them and cooking them together before long.
View attachment 5745
Tyler,

WAIT A MINUTE...are you using a WORM for Catch & Release!:eek: (nice looking pond BTW)

My Harper..celebrating a few small perch.
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Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
I shoot a fair number of ducks, geese, and doves every year. I enjoy doing so.
Brother, in what way would you define the word "enjoy"? My next question is, how would you personally justify bringing about death (which is terrible), as something to be joyful about being the cause of? I'm just respectfully looking for solid answers, not trying to argue. I need to see the perspective of others. Thanks!
 

AnnaBanana

Puritan Board Freshman
Brother, in what way would you define the word "enjoy"? My next question is, how would you personally justify bringing about death (which is terrible), as something to be joyful about being the cause of? I'm just respectfully looking for solid answers, not trying to argue. I need to see the perspective of others. Thanks!

Ryan,
Serious question here as I have a friend who feels the same sensitivity to animals as you, and has just went vegan.

Are you vegan/vegetarian?

If you are not, how do you justify your reasons for eating meat?
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
Brother, in what way would you define the word "enjoy"? My next question is, how would you personally justify bringing about death (which is terrible), as something to be joyful about being the cause of? I'm just respectfully looking for solid answers, not trying to argue. I need to see the perspective of others. Thanks!
The same way eating a Chick-Fil-A sandwich brings you joy (understatement). When you eat it your not rejoicing in chicken death, but rather rejoicing in what the Lord has made for our enjoyment/nourishment. Joy from hunting does not come from enjoying that an animal died and felt pain, but rather the joy is in what the Lord has provided And the fact that the Lord has provided us with the ability to obtain food for ourselves.
 
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Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
"Shooting, hunting, fishing—are all cruel. What agony is inflicted in hooking a worm or a fish; in maiming a bird; in chasing and distressing a rabbit. And to find sport in doing this, is inhuman and unchristian. To say that these animals are given for food, and must be killed, is not a reply to my argument. I am not contending against killing them, or eating them—but against the act of killing of them for sport!"

So killing animals for food is fine so long as you don't enjoy it. Gotcha.

Wipe those smiles off your faces, you hunters and anglers.

But killing farmed animals is fine if we kill them instantly and while grieving.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I've always wondered about Jesus sending the demons into the pigs and then causing those pigs to run to their deaths. He didn't have to send them into the pigs. Could he have sent them straight to Tartarus/hell/chains of darkness? Why use pigs? Why have the pigs run off and die? Why ruin the local economy?

If those pigs held on just a few more years they would have been declared free to be eaten - still not a great fate for the pigs. Was Jesus so zealous for OT ceremonial law that he probably bankrupted some poor farmer for having a non-kosher farm?

King David killed animals protecting his sheep, but is not a lion/bear just as important or more important than a simple sheep? Nowadays King David would be extremely guilty because the animals he killed are endangered but there are plenty of sheep in the world.

And I assume King David did not eat those animals that he killed.

I suppose the alternative is Jainism. Some of those guys sweep the ground in front of them so as not to kill any bugs as they walk. If the whole world became Jains, there be a lot loss violence I would suppose.

Also, under your assumptions Jains appear more gentle than Jesus towards animals because Jesus ate fish and lamb.

I sure wouldn't want a Jain to rid my house of mice or even my head of lice, though, or to find ways to kill mosquitos more effectively.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
I was very touched by the movie Temple Grandin about the lady providing ethical and humane ways even to slaughter cattle. She did not refrain from killing them for food, but she organized a way to do it humanely.
Temple Grandin is an Autistic person who has done a tremendous work teaching people how to care for animals.

Jesus ate both fish and lamb it seems, and so veganism is a distortion
Our Australian friends talk about fesh. Is this also a distortion? :) :)
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
I suppose the alternative is Jainism. Some of those guys sweep the ground in front of them so as not to kill any bugs as they walk. If the whole world became Jains, there be a lot loss violence I would suppose.

If the whole world followed Jain, everyone would die of starvation and disease. So, yes, there would be a lot less violence.
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Junior
Ryan,
Serious question here as I have a friend who feels the same sensitivity to animals as you, and has just went vegan.

Are you vegan/vegetarian?

If you are not, how do you justify your reasons for eating meat?
Thanks for asking. I was for three years some time ago but became very unhealthy. I am personally totally fine with eating meat. Food is not the concern.
 
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