BOOKS: They Shall Not Hurt Or Destroy
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2003:
They Shall Not Hurt Or Destroy
Animal Rights & Vegetarianism in the Western Religious Traditions
by Vasu Murti
Vegetarian Advocates Press (P.O. Box 201791, Cleveland, OH 44120), 2003.
140 pages, paperback. $15.00.
They Shall Not Hurt Or Destroy author Vasu Murti traces the
struggle for animal rights and vegetarianism back to antiquity. The
great prophets of Israel, Pythagoras, and Plato spoke out against
The cause was then taken up by the early leaders of the Christian
church and their Jewish counterparts, demonstrates Murti.
Separate chapters deal with Jewish, Catholic, and
Protestant teachings, from medieval times to the present.
Says the Jewish Talmud, “Adam and many generations that followed
him were strict flesh-abstainers; flesh-foods were rejected as
repulsive for human consumption.”
[J.R. Hyland is director of Humane Religion,
Catholics may be surprised to find St.Thomas More and John of
the Cross taking their place alongside Francis of Assisi as defenders
The Protestant tradition includes John Calvin’s statement
that justice for animals is a human responsibility and the
vegetarianism of John Wesley. Martin Luther wrote that, “It is by
the kind treatment of animals that [people] learn gentleness and
Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, taught that
“kindness to the whole animal creation and especially to all domestic
animals is not only a virtue that should be developed but is the
absolute duty of mankind.”
Many religious leaders taught that humans must reject the
cruelty involved in killing and eating animals. Dr. Charles Filmore,
the founder of Unity, wrote “Somewhere along the way, as he
develops spirituality, man must come to seriously question the
rightness of meat as part of his diet… ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’
includes the killing of animals.”
Ellen G. White, the most noted prophet of the early
Seventh-day Adventists, also advocated vegetarianism, citing “the
moral evils of a flesh diet.”
They Shall Not Hurt Or Destroy rebuts those who try to pass
off concern for animals as some sort of New Age notion, ridiculous in
premise and subversive in goals.
And it is an inspiring resource for those who continue the
struggle to end the cruelty and oppression of the other creatures
with whom we share the earth.
<www.HumaneReligion.org>, an educational and outreach organization,
and is author of God’s Covenant With Animals, Sexism Is A Sin and
The Slaughter of Terrified Beasts.]