(US) Animal Rights and Plant Based Diets: Short-Lived Fad or Longstanding Tradition?
- [Huffington Post]
Increasing numbers of Americans are becoming aware of the violence
that our industrial food system inflicts upon humans, nonhumans, and
Contemporary bestsellers like Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma,
Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation and Peter Singer's Animal Liberation
have all become foundational texts in the growing movements that are
responding critically to these pressing issues. Pollan and Schlosser
are frequently noted as visionary leaders of slow food and food
justice campaigns and Singer has been widely hailed as a "father" of
animal rights and plant-based diets.
But did these movements really start with these individuals? I believe
that it is imperative to the success of our food and ethical movements
to recognize that influential traditions have preceded us. With this
knowledge, we can seek historical support in the face of the many
pundits who wish to relegate important concepts like plant-based diets
to sentimentalist fads of the post-modern era.
As our species increasingly remembers its connection with the
more-than-human world, and we seek to (re)develop ethical responses to
widespread violence and suffering, Jain traditions can serve as one
source of this historical support. In particular, I believe that
Jainism can be looked to for proof of concept.
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