Weekly Newsletter - October 21, 2015
From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

  1. Comment about Veg Children
  2. Book Review
  3. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

1. Comment about Veg Children

When I hear that someone's child is vegetarian or vegan (whether I've introduced the topic or it comes up in some other context), I immediately commend the parent and compliment the child. For example "Wow, you must have done a good job raising her. The choice she's made is good for her health, good for the environment, and saves up to 100 animals each year from suffering and dying. She must be a very smart and compassionate young lady." The parent usually says something like, "Yes, I'm proud of her." (What else can they say?). I then ask, "Could you tell her thank you, on behalf of the animals?" and sometimes I say, "people like your daughter are the future of our world."

I also listen for concerns or further openings. For example, they will sometimes need reassurance that this is a safe choice, or express uncertainty about what to cook for their child. I then address these questions as well. (What an opening – THEY'RE asking ME to tell them how to cook vegan!).

People have trouble not accepting compliments to their parenting or to their children. And now I'm no longer seen as telling them what to do (i.e., telling them to be veg).

I figure this at least makes things easier for the veg kid, and maybe makes the parent think a bit more about following suit.


2. Book Review

Tripp York. The End of Captivity? A Primate’s Reflections on Zoos, Conservation, and Christian Ethics

Trip York’s recently released book thoughtfully reviews the many ways that humans hold nonhumans captive, and then he reflects on how these arrangements relate to Christian ethics. York focuses much of his attention on zoos and sanctuaries, and he notes that some do a much better job than others at caring for animals. They also differ widely in their commitment to conservation. Consequently, he objects to sweeping arguments for or against these institutions made by both animal advocates and zoo proponents.

Virtually all land animals are captive in a sense. Even “wild” animals have restricted ranges, and they exceed their human-defined boundaries at their great peril. Not all domesticated captive animals are treated badly, and many companion animals – though held captive – are treated like members of the family.

York notes that more factory farmed animals are killed in the United States each hour than are held in zoos and sanctuaries throughout the world. He rightly condemns factory farms’ abysmal treatment of animals. Initially, he found the utilitarian arguments of Peter Singer compelling, but over time he has found that the Judeo-Christian tradition presents a powerful case against contemporary mistreatment of animals. His thinking has led to some new and refreshing ways to defend nonhumans against mistreatment. I encourage Christian animal advocates to read this book.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

3. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

God Reigns Supreme

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