A Vegetarian Journal for Quakers and Other People of Faith
The Peaceable Table is intended for the mutual support, education, and inspiration of people of faith in the practice of love for our fellow animals and observance of a Peace-full diet
A Glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom
Love Has No Boundaries
Here’s a young human who clearly has a magnetic attraction for his animal friends at this sanctuary. See Five Friends
--Contributed by Lorena Mucke
Editor’s Corner Guest Essay: But What About Local “Humane” Farms?
By Judith McCoy Carman
In the film Cowspiracy the evidence became clear that so-called “humane” farms, as opposed to factory farms, will not and cannot help prevent further environmental destruction. Some of the farmers who were interviewed in the film agreed. If all animals were raised in such a way that they are not painfully confined, and if people continued to consume animal products at the current rate, there simply is not enough land on the planet to pasture the billions of animals and grow their feed. And when we consider the rate at which the human population is growing, the situation is dire indeed for both people and all animals, both wild and domestic.
In response to the threat of animal agriculture, whether factory or “free-range,” the Sierra Club has published the following statement in the Sierra Club Agriculture and Food Policy (http://www.sierraclub.org/policy/agriculture): “Personal dietary choices that minimize or eliminate meat and animal products should be encouraged due to their many benefits, including reducing greenhouse gas impacts, water pollution and inhumane treatment of animals.” Of course, we know that those are just a few of the dreadful effects of animal agriculture. To that short list, we can add desertification, rainforest destruction, assassination of rainforest protectors, air pollution, oceanic dead zones, wildlife habitat destruction, indigenous peoples’ home and land destruction, species extinction, and human hunger and starvation, to name just a few.
Many socially and ecologically conscious people now opt for “free-range” or “humane,” labels, not realizing that, not only are most of the labels false, but also that if the animals really are raised with some amount of room to turn around and move freely, the earth is not big enough to pasture that many animals. Nevertheless, I wanted to be able to see some of these “free-range” farms with my own eyes. So I took part in the 2015 Kaw Valley Farm Tour in Lawrence, Kansas, in October of 2015.
The first stop was the Iwig Dairy in Tecumseh. They sell milk, butter, and ice cream made from their herd of 65 milk cows. Obviously conscientious, the Iwigs sell their milk in recyclable, BPA- free glass bottles. In spite of the vast research linking dairy products to obesity, early onset of puberty, osteoporosis, etc., they claim their products are healthy, and they seem to love what they do.
They very kindly answered my questions. I learned, for example, that their cows are impregnated every 12 to 15 months in order to keep milk production high. The first time they are impregnated by a bull, but after that they are raped and artificially inseminated. If that sounds inflammatory, the dairy industry itself, refers to the process as being on a “rape rack.” These cows cannot live only on pasture, they explained. If they did, they would only produce enough milk for their babies. So their normal way of eating is out of a trough full of grain, side by side, in a long row. Only then can they produce the enormous and unnatural amounts of milk that is demanded of them. So the term “free range” or “pasture raised” dairy loses its glamour when we understand that most of the dairy cows’ lives are spent at a trough full of grain or confined to a milking machine.
Of course, they must take the babies from the mothers immediately or at most within one day. When asked if that doesn’t cause the mothers and babies to grieve, the answer was “Well, not all cows are good mothers.” The implication, of course, is that the “good mothers” do grieve. And the babies do cry for their mothers. The Iwigs sell their male calves to be raised for slaughter. The female calves have the same fate as their mothers. Dehorning takes place without pain killers. The Iwigs said that dehorning when the cows are young isn’t as bad as it is when they are older, but there was a group of older youngsters who still had not been dehorned. Even though the Iwigs’ cows have names and they say they love them, once a cow stops being as productive as necessary or gets sick, she is sent to slaughter. They admitted that they do get attached to the cows and hate to move them to slaughter, “but it’s a business.”
So we have to ask ourselves if there is anything humane about such a dairy, and if this method is not humane, then imagine the suffering on factory dairies. But what about the sustainability of an operation that actually allows the cows to spend at least some time on pastures? When asked the answer was the same as that of the dairy man in Cowspiracy. There is no way the amount of milk products currently being bought can be produced sustainably if all cows and all other “food” animals are given free range. The odds against it increase as well with each birth of a new human. As we veer toward 8 billion people and counting, clearly we have to question everything about what we eat.
Vesecky Family Farm
I also visited the Vesecky Family Farm in Baldwin City, Kansas, where they claim to raise poultry on pastures. While families enjoyed hay-rides around the farm, I visited with a gentleman in charge of the turkeys. These birds were kept in a small fenced enclosure. They had a place to roost partially out of the weather. There was no “pasture,” just dirt, in the enclosure, of course, since there were so many birds there. However, they were able to get out of the enclosure through various turkey-made holes. Sometimes they had to be helped to re-enter, and sometimes they found their own way back. He does not breed turkeys but receives the baby turkeys in the mail from a commercial breeder. He admitted that they don’t all survive since they are tossed about, exposed to extreme temperatures and have no water, food, or comfort from a mother. When asked if it was hard on him to see the turkeys trucked away to slaughter, he smiled and said rather cheerily that it wasn’t hard. Instead that was the best day of all, because that was when he got paid.
Clearly no one gives hay-rides at factory turkey farms, so there is the illusion of “humaneness” at this and similar farms. But with just a few questions, we uncover the cruelty that occurs even on farms such as these. While it is sometimes regretted by some of the farmers, it is a necessary part of their business model, which requires animals to be manipulated, separated from their babies, and ultimately die, in order for the business to live.
My next stop was Amy’s Meats just north of Lawrence, Kansas. Their vision is to “produce everything we eat and share the abundance with you.” Amy is an engaging and enthusiastic young woman who appears to love her business. She has created a feeling of an old fashioned farm where children can come for camp activities and people can “reconnect” to their food. The chickens, pigs, and cows are indeed on small pastures and not confined in cages as they would be on factory farms, but Amy agreed that the world population could not eat animals raised in this way, because of the simple fact that there is not enough land to do it. So while we might find it easier on our consciences to eat the secretions and meat of animals who have had some room to roam, as activists we must face the fact that this can only be available to a select few people who have the money and time to buy these products. When asked how her animals are slaughtered, Amy said that her family kills them with the help of the children. I asked her if it upset the children who may have grown attached to an animal, and she replied that it does not, because she has explained to them that they have to do it. When I pressed her on why they have to do it, knowing now, as we do, that people do not require meat to be healthy, she stated that she likes the taste and does not want to give up that pleasure.
In her December article for One Green Planet (onegreenplanet.org), “Why choosing plant-based is the most powerful action to fight climate change,” Malorie Macklin quotes Nil Sacharias, Editor-in-Chief of One Green Planet: “The real war against climate change is being fought on our plates, multiple times a day with every food choice we make…” He goes on to say that “one of the biggest challenges facing our planet, and our species is that we are knowingly eating ourselves into extinction, and doing very little about it.”
As author and activist JoAnn Farb (pictured) has said, “All social justice movements work to overcome these same objections: It’s normal. It’s natural. It’s necessary.” It is indeed normal and natural for people to go into a grocery store and pick out a few neatly cellophane-wrapped packages of meat. It feels right. It’s what our parents did. It seems necessary. But when we look behind the scenes at how that package got there—the terrible cost to the earth, the animals, the hungry, and to human health, it suddenly seems no more normal than slavery was, even though that was considered normal and necessary at the time.
As we evolve in consciousness, we begin to realize what an enormous impact our species has on this precious planet and all the other species on it. As activists, we are all acutely, even painfully aware that we must act quickly to lighten our heavy footprint. Solar panel sales are up; we see Priuses everywhere, and we’re starting to see more electric cars on the road. In fact, we just bought a plug-in electric Chevy Volt, and we love it. We are all taking shorter showers, recycling, using our own bags at stores, and celebrating stores that ban plastic bags. But there is that nagging feeling that those things just aren’t enough.
So I always like to end with the supremely good news that there is something absolutely huge that each of us can do—something that will immediately save water, reduce pollution, feed the hungry, and stop [most] violence to animals, people and the earth; something far more impactful than solar panels and electric cars; something that takes no extra time or money. Readers of The Peaceable Table know what it is: eating as though the earth matters is a dedication to a plant-based diet. Eliminating animal products from our diets, whether those animals lived in pastures or in cages, is, I believe, the most powerful thing we can do to heal the earth. If we can question everything we think and do and, in so doing, come into alignment with our highest values of compassion and care for all the living, we will be able to turn this ship around and bring balance and harmony back to our precious earth.
--from the Kansas Sierra Club periodical “Planet Kansas,” Winter 2015-2016. Used with Permission of Author.
Author’s Note: I feel so blessed to have been asked to write the quarterly column “Eating as Though the Earth Matters” for “Planet Kansas.” I have been doing this column for several years. It has given me the opportunity to bring the vegan message to environmentalists and help them make the connection between environmentalism and veganism. We cannot heal the earth unless we stop abusing, using, and killing animals.
© 2015, Judy Carman, M.A. Ms. Carman is author of Peace to All Beings: Veggie Soup for the Chicken’s Soul and co-author of The Missing Peace: The Hidden Power of our Kinship with Animals. She is also the 2014 winner of the Henry Spira Grassroots Animal Activist award; and owner of a truck and a car powered by used veggie oil and an electric car and house powered by solar. Her primary websites are circleofcompassion.org and peacetoallbeings.com. Photos of calf and turkeys courtesy of Judith Carman.
An octopus named Inky managed to escape from his tank in the National Aquarium of New Zealand in Napier, scuttle across the floor, and squeeze himself into a six-inch drain emptying into the ocean. It looks as though Inky knew a lot more than most people are willing to give an octopus credit for. See Prison Break
--Contributed by Judith Carman
A Florida slaughterhell has closed its doors for a combination of reasons, one being the decided reduction in demand for meat in the last several years. See Out of Business .
--Contributed by Angie Cordeiro
Puppies Versus Chickens
An article by Nicholas Kristof in the mainline New York Times points out the bad faith in many people who were outraged by a puppy’s being held dangling over a second-floor balcony (not dropped, thankfully) yet obliviously continue to eat chickens who were grossly abused in animal prisons and killed in slaughterhells. See Bad Faith
--Contributed by Lorena Mucke
The Chickens’ Month
United Poultry Concerns reminds us that May 4 is Respect for Chickens Day, and the whole month is Respect for Chickens Month. See UPC for ideas for helping out the cause.
--Contributed by UPC
Christians do well to remember that Jesus, speaking as a prophet, compared God to a chicken longing to enclose all her chicks safely under her wings (Matt. 23:37, Luke 13:34). See also “Under Her Wings: The Pollomorphic God,” by Carol J. Adams in PT 77 .
The Animals’ Prince
The singer-songwriter Rogers Nelson, known as Prince, died last month at age 57, a considerable loss to the cause of animals as well as the rock music world. Prince was a compassionate vegan who refused to wear leather or eat animals, and spoke up fearlessly on the animal concern, opening the hearts of some other celebrities and of fans. See Nature News and PETA .
--Contributed by Richard Ellwood
By Bill Watterson. Copyright . Permission to reproduce sought.
Book Review: Every Living Thing
Christine Gutleben, General Editor. Every Living Thing: How Pope Francis, Evangelicals and Other Christian Leaders Are Inspiring All of Us to Care for Animals. Published by the Humane Society of the United States. Canton, MI: Front Edge, 2015. 290 pp. paperback. $16.99.
This exceptional work is several things. It is, first of all, a demonstration of the commitment of the Faith Outreach program of the Humane Society of the United States, and its online library of religious statements on animals, a collection overseen by Karen Allanach. Secondly, it includes two splendid Forewords, one Evangelical and one Roman Catholic, together with Appendices consisting of essays on animal concerns perspectives of major Christian figures: C.S. Lewis, Hannah More, and William Wilberforce. Thirdly, it is the go-to place for access to statements on animals by official bodies and leading figures of major U.S. denominations, together with key background information on the group. These various resources, diverse as they are, work together well to present a thought-provoking and often enlightening picture of animals in mainline American religion.
Not for the first time, my stereotypes of Evangelical Christianity were challenged, on this occasion by the excellent Foreword by Karen Swallow Prior. She is a professor of English at Liberty University, usually considered a bulwark of Fundamentalism and the Christian Right with its supposed ties to red-meat and gun-culture America. Yet here, in a couple of pages adapted from an article, "Animals and Evangelicals," from Liberty Journal (Oct. 2007), she emphasizes the longstanding association of Evangelicals not only with the abolition of slavery but also with animal welfare, citing John Wesley, William Cowper, William Wilberforce, and others who, in her words, "viewed the fight against cruel treatment of animals as part of their fight against cruel treatment of humans." She ends with reference to the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep, quite the opposite of the usual pattern of shepherds exploiting and killing sheep.
The second Foreword is by Charles C. Camosy (pictured), a Roman Catholic and professor of theology at Fordham University, well known for his strenuous advocacy of a consistent pro-life ethic: anti-abortion and pro-vegetarian alike. He is understand- ably and rightly very enthusiastic about Pope Francis and his Laudato Si' (previously reviewed in The Peaceable Table). Here is a characteristically engaging paragraph in Camosy's Preface:
When the early Church debated about what aspects of the Jewish law should bind Christian converts, the eventual resolution included the prohibition of eating animals which had been sacrificed to idols. But the meat produced by today's factory farms comes from animals who have been sacrificed to the idol of consumerism. And as first toward rediscovering our ancient traditions, therefore, let me propose that Christians refuse to eat such meat. (p. xvii)
The denominational statements have an interest of their own. One is Roman Catholic; the others are from the larger Protestant groups, Lutheran, Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, United Church, and the like. I would also have liked to have seen an Eastern Orthodox section, in light of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew's strong environmental concern, (and in recollection of an Orthodox vegetarian I once knew who claimed that if one really followed all his church's fasts one would be a vegetarian half the time anyway.) Most say the right things about treating animals as belonging to God, as dominion meaning responsibility, and the importance of ecology. Most condemn factory farming and killing animals for sport. Nonetheless most also acknowledge the right of Christians to eat animals and use animal products; only the Seventh-Day Adventists present a preference for vegetarianism and veganism.
But it is not in the resolutions-by-committee, which most grass-roots members of most churches notoriously know little and care less about on any subject, but in the statements by outstanding figures that this part of the book really comes alive. I cannot cite here more than a bare sampling. Martin Luther (pictured), in his pungent way, declared that human sin has rendered us "crazy and foolish," no longer able to discern God's will, and animals therefore are wiser than we: "henceforth there is no creature living that is not wiser than [us]; and a little finch, that can neither speak nor read, is his teacher and master in the Scriptures. . . In all things, in the least creatures, and in their members, God's almighty power and wonderful works clearly shine." (p. 77) The German reformer went on to declare that "on the last day all creatures will utter an accusing cry against the ungodly who have shown them abuse here on earth, and will call them tyrants to whom they were unjustly subjected." (pp. 78-79)
John Wesley's famous sermon “The General Deliverance” (“general” meaning universal), with its declaration that animals too will be brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God, is present in the Methodism section; likewise his testimony of the benefits of vegetarianism for himself, though he carefully says it is not a religious requirement. In the Baptist section, Billy Graham is cited as saying that when we treat animals with contempt, we treat God with contempt. (p. 155)
I found of particular interest, because I had known less about it, the Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) material. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young definitely insisted that all animals will be redeemed and receive salvation, and are found in heaven. Both also insisted that, in the words of Young, "the more kind we are to animals, the more will peace increase, and the savage nature of the brute creation will vanish away."
This admonition is reinforced by Smith's reminiscence that once when three rattlesnakes were found in their camp and "the brethren" were about to kill them, he said, "Let them alone -- don't hurt them! How will the serpent ever lose his venom, while the servants of God possess the same disposition, and continue to make war upon it? Men must become harmless, before the brute creation; and when men lose their vicious disposition and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together. . ." (pp. 45-46) We are reminded of the words of Gurdjieff, that the animals are waiting for us to ascend the evolutionary ladder so that they can move up after us (see PT 66 ).
The final part of the book contains a full bibliography for each of the denominations and, as indicated, several Appendices articles about the HSUS, C.S. Lewis, Hannah More (by Karen Swallow Prior) and William Wilberforce (by Bernard Unti). All are quite short except the one by Gerald Root on Lewis, which runs some 38 pages.
I found this piece of particular interest. C.S. Lewis was important to me as a young man, when his Anglican Platonism, narrative presentation of Christianity, and association of it with worlds of wonder in his science fiction and Narnian stories, fired my imagination. Later, while still admiring his faithfulness and luminous writing, I began to see flaws in his arguments and lacunae in his worldview, such as his apparent unwillingness to engage with biblical scholarship.
Gerald Root seems to have had similar issues. Lewis the Oxford scholar and Christian apologist is presented in the essay's title as an "Advocate for Animals," a man who loved animals and believed in their ethical and moral treatment. Strongly opposed to vivisection, he published an article against it in 1947. In the Narnian stories, he presented talking animals as a device for helping readers feel for the inner life of all creatures. In his theodicies -- in Milton's terms, attempts to "justify the ways of God to man" -- Lewis strove vigorously to explain and, so far as possible, make animal suffering a meaningful part of God’s world.
Like other readers, Root does not find Lewis' theodicy entirely convincing in regard to animals, as much as he would like to do so. Lewis apparently felt the same way, not claiming the final word on this vexed issue. I would go on to cite another problem: in creating some animals as talking, charming as they are, and others dumb, Lewis really creates a two-tier animal world in which some are nearly human, while others are hunted and eaten like their kin today. (There is no violence against animals in Narnia in the story of its creation, but there is in several of the others; in one of them, talking beavers even eat ham.) In short, Lewis never really faced the vegetarian, or even vegan, consequences that should have followed from his well-meaning love for certain animals and his ethical wrestling with the issue.
In sum, Every Living Thing is a fine, provocative book which belongs in all church libraries and on the shelves of all thoughtful Christians with a concern for animals--as, indeed, all should have. For we and they are all beloved creations of God capable of receiving God's love through one another.
Pioneer: Peter V. Verigin, 1859 - 1924,
and the Doukhobors
The Doukhobors are a Christian denomination, largely of peasant origin, that separated from the Russian Orthodox Church some time in the seventeenth or eighteenth century. Little is known about their early history because of the effects of their conviction that “the letter killeth,” which also, unfortunately, involved a rejection of higher education. (Later they did keep records.) Their teachings, several of which closely resemble those of Quakers, were primarily passed down orally and in hymns and preaching. They affirm the presence of the Divine Spirit in every person, and reject the use of icons and liturgy in worship, as well as the authority of the clergy; their central guide is the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels, especially the rejection of violence, as well as the swearing of oaths. Traditionally, they lived communally, handled their own affairs, and did not acknowledge the authority of government. Their leader has virtually papal influence.
Their rejection of the established church and the government, particularly their pacifist refusal of military service, resulted in a difficult relationship with the Czarist government and the Orthodox Church. Regarded with suspicion, they were encouraged to move (and did) from their original location to what is now southern Ukraine by Czar Alexander I in 1802, partly to keep them from contaminating the populace with their strange ideas. Nicholas I intensified the pressure to outright persecution in the 1820s, forbidding their meetings for worship, ordering the conscription of all able-bodied men, exiling the rest to Russia’s newly acquired trans-caucasian province, and urging conversion to the Orthodox Church. In the late 1870s many of the Doukhobors were moved again, to what is now Turkey.
Peter V. Verigin, who had been assistant to the previous head of the church, Lukaria Kalmikova, became head at her death in 1886 when he was twenty-seven. Shortly after his appointment, he and some of his associates, obviously dangerous men, were arrested and sent into exile, but most of the Doukhobors continued to follow him as leader and stayed in touch by letter and delegation. In this and the succeeding years under Verigin’s guidance, the Doukhobors were being influenced by the writings of Leo Tolstoy promoting nonviolence and vegetarianism: What Then Must We Do, The Kingdom of God is Within You, and the preface to a new edition of the classic The Ethics of Diet. Their commitment to nonviolence had become compromised, but in June 1995, following Verigin’s instructions, Doukhobors in three villages gathered to sing hymns around huge bonfires in which they were destroying their guns and other weapons. Cossack soldiers sent to “restore order” surrounded them, beating them with whips and disfiguring many; four thousand were driven out of their homes, while Cossacks were billeted in their main villages. About four hundred died of starvation and exposure while seeking shelter.
When Tolstoy heard about these atrocities, he was horrified by the suffering these brave people had undergone as a result of heeding his teachings. He publicized the persecution internationally, raised (and donated) large sums of money, and petitioned Czarina Alexandra to ask Czar Nicholas II to let them emigrate. Thanks to Tolstoy’s help and that of English Quakers, the Doukhobors were granted sanctuary in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1899, and more than seven thousand emigrated. Peter V. Verigin remained in exile in Siberia; he was not released and enabled to join his co-religionists until 1902.
At first the Canadian arrangement went reasonably well; they were frustrated at being unable to grow fruit trees in that climate, but were able to live communally, and were exempt from military service. Profoundly consistent in his animal concern, Verigin instructed the people to free their animal “brothers” and pull farm equipment such as plows themselves. Because there were many more women than men, and the men tended to take non-farm jobs to help support their families, the plows were mostly pulled by women (see photo above).
But problems soon arose. In 1902 and ‘03 the government rescinded its permission to live communally, and required individual land ownership. Furthermore, as citizens of Canada the Doukhobors were required to swear allegiance to the British Crown, and to send their children to public schools, all policies anathema to them. The Doukhobors, understandably, felt betrayed. Under this renewed pressure, the community splintered. The largest group continued to resist government demands quietly, and in time most of them pulled up stakes yet again and moved to British Columbia in the west of Canada, where they were better off, because the climate was more suited to fruit growing.
Unfortunately a small group, the “Sons of Freedom,” went angrily radical; they protested state requirements by nude marches and arson of public buildings, continuing sporadically for decades. In 1932 the government responded by criminalizing public nudity and sending about 300 of them to prison. Of course these spectacularly offensive actions were lapped up by the media and came to define the name “Doukhobor” to the public--a pattern animal activists know all too well. Growing up in Washington state not far south of the main communities and hearing of Doukhobors occasionally, I got the message that they were all crazy, wild people, scarcely human. There was no hint that the majority of them were unpretentious and compassionate Christians committed to following Jesus’ teachings as closely as possible, and rejecting the enslavement of their “brothers” the animals.
In 1924 Peter V. Verigin and several associates were murdered when the railroad car in which they were travelling to British Columbia was bombed. The crime remains unsolved. His son Peter P., who became leader, adopted a policy of smoothing over relationships between the main group and the government as far as he could. In time the group gave up on the commune issue, and many individuals accepted registering for the draft. Eventually the Sons of Freedom also abandoned their anti-social protests.
Today there are between 20,000 and 40,000 people of Doukhobor heritage in Canada, another 30,000 in Russia and neighboring countries, as well as about 5,000 in the northern US. Only a minority actually claim this as their religion, however, and still worship as their forebears did; most by assimilating lost their commitment. Some continue to be vegetarian. In spite of the many years of persecution they endured, they reject the concept of original sin, and affirm the basic goodness of humanity as the abode of the divine Spirit. We could do worse than follow them in their central convictions.
1 can pinto beans, drained
3/4 cup barbecue sauce
1 1/2 cup (frozen) corn
1 cup (frozen) Potatoes O'Brien
1 medium-to-large purple onion
Daiya cheeze, shredded (optional)
3/4 cup brown rice, water or broth
Heat oven to 325 F; put beans into oven dish, stir in barbecue sauce, cover and place in oven. Meanwhile, thaw corn and potatoes O'Brien by spreading out on plates, and chop onion. Lightly saute onion in 1/2 teas. olive oil, or braise in a little water. Stir braised onion and thawed corn and potatoes into barbecued beans, top with cheeze if desired, raise oven temperature to 350, and return to oven. If topped with cheeze, leave uncovered. Bake for a total of 45 - 50 minutes.
Put brown rice into large pan with 1 1/2 cup water or veggie broth plus 1 or 2 T more. Simmer for about 25 minutes (check when nearing full time; stoves vary).
The bean dish is rather mild as barbecues go. For a little more more intense flavor, reduce corn to 1 cup and increase barbecue sauce to 1 cup. Serves 3 with light appetites, 2 with normal appetites.
From http://www.vegkitchen.com . Photo courtesy of Nava Atlas. Used with Permission.
--Gracia Fay Ellwood
Poetry: Sam Gold
The power that moves without impediment
All light, all density, thrush and cricket song,
That lifts the mind above the common space,
Stunned my heart by drunken grace.
The hour of hearing burst the ferrous wall.
The sleep called knowing woke and was dispelled.
No sorrow, no joy left the calf's illumined face
At spirit's wild embrace.
A chant of whispers thanking me I heard.
The fenced-in herd had summoned me afar.
Before my downcast lights could cease their whirl
The leader drew them back to her.
Around her neck the number thirty-three.
Behind her eyes a universe of pain.
Though darkest and sanguineous powers loomed
A sight foretold their doom.
A vision shone between the grass and sky.
A crowd of prisoners starved and shaved, near dead!
Weeping I knelt and begged what I might do.
"Don't eat us," she calmly said.
Though sober I'd slept, now drunk awake
I vowed ‘til death from all flesh to abstain,
And fled and wept long tears beside a stream.
In vain did thought deny the dream,
Or hierophany as some would say,
For so unsettled seemed the circling stone.
That very hour I cast all meat away.
That hour I touched eternity.
Sam Gold is a subscriber to PT.
The Peaceable Table is a project of Quaker Animal Kinship, a non-profit organization, also known as the Animal Kinship Committee of Orange Grove Friends Meeting, Pasadena, California. It is intended to resume the witness of that excellent vehicle of the Friends Vegetarian Society of North America, The Friendly Vegetarian, which appeared quarterly between 1982 and 1995.
The journal is intended to be interactive; contributions, including illustrations, are invited for the next issue. Deadline for the June issue will be May 27. Send to email@example.com or 14 Krotona Hill, Ojai, CA 93023. We operate primarily online in order to conserve trees and labor, but hard copy is available for interested persons who are not online. The latter are asked, if their funds permit, to donate $12 (USD) per year. Other donations to offset the cost of the domain name and server are welcome. Send checks to Robert Ellwood, Treasurer, 14 Krotona Hill, Ojai, CA 93023.
Editor: Gracia Fay Ellwood
Book and Film Reviewers: Benjamin Urrutia and Robert Ellwood
Recipe Editor: Angie Cordeiro
NewsNotes Contributor: Lorena Mucke
Technical Architect: Richard Scott Lancelot Ellwood
Issue copyright © 2016 Vegetarian Friends