To the Editor:
March 1 marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period preceding Easter, when many Christians abstain from animal foods in remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the wilderness before launching his ministry.
The call to refrain from eating animals is as old as the Bible. In Genesis 1:29, God commands humans to eat only plants; then Prophet Isaiah predicts that "none will hurt or destroy on God’s holy mountain."
A number of Christian leaders have followed the call, including Methodist founder John Wesley, Salvation Army founders William and Catherine Booth, Seventh-day Adventist Church founder Ellen G. White, and prominent evangelical leader Franklin Graham.
A meat-free diet is not just about Christian devotion. Dozens of medical studies have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of heart failure, stroke, cancer, and other killer diseases. A United Nations report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented farm animals being caged, crowded, mutilated, beaten, and shocked.
Lent offers a superb opportunity to honor Christ’s powerful message of compassion, but also to protect the health of our family and our planet Earth by adopting a meat-free diet.