Articles/Essays From Pagans
May 12th. 2013 ...
Pagan Studies I: How Should We Define Modern Paganism?
Nothing Special... Part Two
The Third Path
May 5th. 2013 ...
The Value of Multicultural Awareness
Put Your Back Into It (Our Lady of the Sacred Honey Badger)
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Red Lipped Bat Fish
April 28th. 2013 ...
Lessons from the Lessers: Iris
April 21st. 2013 ...
Taken By The Goddess: The Crescent Moon Tattoo
The Gods/Being Godbothered
To Be A Witch
The Archetypes are Gods: Re-godding the Archetypes
April 14th. 2013 ...
On The Inclusion of Children
'Wand Fun' With Grandson
Lessons from a Baby
Lessons of Freedom: On Divinity and Healing
April 7th. 2013 ...
Out of the Broom Closet... Sorta
A Journey Through the Witches Tarot
History and Science Behind Numerology
March 31st. 2013 ...
What is the Magickal Self?
Ethics and Numerology
March 24th. 2013 ...
Keystones of the Sacred Land
March 17th. 2013 ...
Why Some Pagans and Witches Still Hide
Witch Heritage 101: What Happens When Witch Haters Joke about anti-Witch Films
I'm Not a Broom. So What's with the Closet?
March 10th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Things I Did as a New Pagan: Part 3
Hunting for the Real Witch in Film
The Collective Shadow
Lies - The Opposite of Truth
March 3rd. 2013 ...
Grounding and Releasing Negative Energy
A Patchwork of Magick
February 24th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I Made as a New Pagan (Part Two)
February 17th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I made as a New Pagan... Part One
Gardening with Crystal Energies
A Call from the Ancestors
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Black Water Snakes
February 10th. 2013 ...
We Are the Weirdos, Mister: A Completely Uncool Story of Origin
February 3rd. 2013 ...
"I'll Grind Your Bones to Make my Bread": Pagans and Animal Husbandry
The Role of Contemporary Culture in Magic
A Pagan Response to Endangered Earth
The Great Mother's Gift, Heinlein, and the Nature of Squirrels
13 Keys: The Glory of Hod
January 27th. 2013 ...
Why We Do Need Wicca
The Cosmos In the Coffee Shop
On Travel Spirituality and Magick
January 20th. 2013 ...
Beloved Backs and How to Save Them
Building or Burning Bridges?
Plants, Magic and Intuition
Plagiarism - How It Harms Our Community
January 13th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés
The Magick and Power of Words
Aging Is Not Easy
The Riddle of Who We Are?
January 6th. 2013 ...
Wicca v Witchcraft
A Witch in the Closet
How Many People Can You Fit Under An Umbrella?
Gut Hunches, Mouse Dreams, and Pinkie Sense
December 30th. 2012 ...
Ritual "Cheat Sheet" Bracelet
Magick is All Around Us
Confessions of a Living Satyr
A Tiny Bit of Belly Dance History
December 23rd. 2012 ...
The Warrior Goddess and You.
World Change: A Message from Greece
What's the Meaning of Life, Anyway?
My Brother's Keeper
December 16th. 2012 ...
Keeping Christ in Xmas
Love is the Law
Listen to Your Heart's Wisdom
Reading the Book of Nature
A Plea Against Religious Discrimination
December 9th. 2012 ...
The Elephant in the Room: Physical Fitness In Pagan Spirituality
Magic Is Not for Free (Sometimes)
Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
The Pagan Ethics of Food
Article ID: 12841
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 1,554
Times Read: 2,588
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Author: Patrick McCleary
Posted: February 15th. 2009
Times Viewed: 2,588
Let us take a few moments and take a long look at the current conditions of the food production in our modern world from genetically modified foods to the overuse of fertilizers and pesticides. The stories of the horrors of slaughterhouses to the sometimes cruel conditions that animals are kept in. Just as a small example: remember the stories of the chickens, kept in tiny coops, not allowed room to run free? The recent outbreaks of salmonella and e. coli?
Are you scared yet? I sure am.
So scared that I decide to take another long look. This time at my diet and the inclusion of meat in it. Now don't get upset, all you non-vegetarians out there. I am not advocating the shunning of meat in your, or even my diet. In fact I love a good steak more then anyone I know.
But what I am advocating is for us to think about the ethics of our diet and our moral responsibility as to where that food comes from. We, as Pagans, frequently espouse harm none but are only worried about what we directly do and not so much about what we condone by our actions or lack of actions.
So what is a concerned Pagan to do? This was the question that plagued me for a long time. And after much research the answer that I came up with included a few options.
In no particular order those options are as follows: We can become vegetarians or we can look outside of our religion to the dietary rules and restrictions of other faiths.
Now as you remember, I said that I was not advocating becoming a vegetarian. There are plenty of other articles floating around out there that do just that. Rather I am going to share my own personal choice.
And what is that choice? Well I have personally chosen to look outside my personal Wiccan faith for a solution to this problem.
In doing so I have come across the Halal and Kosher diets of the Islamic and Jewish religions. Which entails in great detail exactly what is supposed to be done with our food. From birth or planting to harvesting or slaughtering and even into how the food is prepared there are rules that govern each action. These rules, as I hope to show, are really the most moral ones on food, eating and diet that I could find.
But what does kosher dietary restrictions have to do with the ethics of eating? The short answer: a lot. Now I know that certain rules do not apply, for example the prohibition against milk in wooden bowls. But there is a lot that does apply. Their ideas on how to keep, house, feed animals and the appropriate ways to slaughter them, fit right in with a sound ethical system on food. One that Pagans can adopt and modify to their own needs and uses.
That being said, the question arises: What is the definition of kosher or halal? Kosher food is food that meets Jewish dietary laws, or kashrut, which comes from the Hebrew word for fit or proper. And Halal is the Arabic word for fit or proper. Essentially the same as kosher.
In one of the articles I read in researching this idea, I came across one of the largest requirements; that the animal being slaughtered must die with no pain.
"Kosher slaughter is more humane than non-kosher slaughter, as it kills the animal in a painless fashion. Although kosher slaughter does not kill the animal instantly, the animal passes out from the sudden drop in cranial blood pressure and dies in a minute or so. There is no pain."
But this is not the only reason, although it is an important one, to choose kosher meat. One of the other benefits is that cold-water plucking of poultry helps prevent the spread of salmonella bacteria, and meat from diseased animals cannot be considered kosher. Also animals killed in kosher slaughterhouses die in less pain and tend to be healthier then animals in normal slaughterhouses.
And kosher rules are not restricted to just the housing conditions and slaughtering practices for animals. They are also extended to include rules against pesticides and fertilizers. In other words they were the original proponents of producing organic produce.
Now compare this to the modern system found in the USA, where I live, our animals are slaughtered and then the scraps unfit for human consumption are fed to other animals. They are fed on grains covered in fertilizer and pesticides and then they are pumped full of antibiotics. This is, of course, before they are slaughtered cruelly.
Then in some cases the butchered meat is pumped full of carbon monoxide which is to allow the meat to keep its pretty red color for sale in the big box stores. And they are even talking about radiating meat to kill off any of the bad germs, which is supposedly will make the meat safer.
I believe that these reasons alone are enough to win the argument that we as Pagans should look to buy our meat from kosher or halal butcher shops. The prohibition against animals suffering, either in life or in death, is an idea that fits in with Pagan ideals and ethics.
At the core of both, halal and kosher, outside of the part about God and religion, there are sound principles for both dietary restrictions and for food preparation that translate well into Paganism.
So take the time to research Kosher and Halal practices and see if they are able to fit into your own personal tradition. Go to local kosher butchers and ask questions.
If we are going to say, 'harm none' and hold it as the center of our ethical system then we should make sure that it extends to every part of our daily lives. And if enough of us decide that the rules against cruelty to animals also applies at the time of their slaughtering for food, then the food processors will inevitably have to change their habits and practices as well.
Location: Zephyrhills, Florida
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