Recounting the Counting of the Omer
I'd like to view CountingTheOmer.blogspot.com as a great success. As of tonight, it has been viewed more than 700 times. It got mentioned in Jewschool, The Jew & The Carrot, and The PETA Files. I wrote an article about the blog's advocacy for vegetarianism that should be published some time this week. And there were some very inspiring notes and discussions in the comments section, including this one: "Your blog is the most positive thing I have yet seen relating to the Judaism I left at roughly the age of 17 ...."
I hope that CountingTheOmer.blogspot.com can be a reference point about the myriad different reasons to go vegetarian, for people counting the omer and under other circumstances. Please visit CountingTheOmer.blogspot.com for more information about these 49 reasons to go vegetarian:
1. Animals raised for food are killed before they even get a chance to live.
2. Farmed animals are confined to tiny spaces.
3. Eating meat sends an invitation to salmonella and other forms of bacterial contamination.
4. Vegetarians smell better.
5. Being vegetarian makes it easier to keep kosher.
6. Working in a slaughterhouse is a dirty, dangerous job, and so long as people keep eating meat, someone's gotta do it.
7. By and large, laws do not protect farmed animals from hideous abuses.
8. Farmed animals are subjected to various bodily mutilations, all without the use of any painkillers.
9. Thanks to the wide variety of mock meats on the market, you can give up meat without giving up the taste of meat.
10. Animal agriculture is a major contributor to global warming.
11. Unlike natural carnivores, humans physiologically aren't built to handle meat well.
12. A vegan diet is a great defense against cholesterol problems.
13. It's no more morally acceptable to pay other people to commit acts of cruelty to farmed animals for you than to do them yourself.
14. If you wouldn't inflict acts of cruelty on dogs or cats, it's no more morally acceptable to do the same thing to chickens or other animals.
15. Animals are "subjects-of-a-life" and are, therefore, entitled to rights and equal consideration.
16. Eating meat is not a question of whether it's acceptable to kill one animal for food but a question of supporting a system that kills more than 10,000,000,000 animals.
17. Most chickens in the U.S. consume feed laced with roxarsone, an arsenic-based additive.
18. Thanks to the myraid vegetarian celebrities and historical vegetarians, going vegetarian means you're in good company.
19. Eating meat supports industries that greatly pollute our planet's water.
20. Vegetarianism is thriving in the Jewish homeland.
21. There are many great Buddhist reasons to go vegetarian.
22. Cured meats can cause lung damage.
23. Vegetarianism is the way of the future.
24. On average, adult vegans are 10 to 20 pounds lighter than adult meat-eaters.
25. Although humans are given dominion over animals, in the words of Rav Kook, "it does not mean the domination of a harsh ruler, who afflicts his people and servants merely to fulfill his personal whim and desire, according to the crookedness of his heart."
26. G-d's original, uncompromised diet for humans was vegetarianism.
27. When G-d first granted humans permission to eat animals' flesh, it was a concession in the wake of less than ideal circumstances.
28. Once the Jews left Egypt and G-d had a chance to start over, he gave them manna, which was vegetarian, and the meat that He later conceded to give them caused a "very severe plague."
29. G-d's eventual permission to eat meat has been called a "barely tolerated dispensation"; it is anything but a commandment to eat meat.
30. Transport conditions for farmed animals headed to slaughter are atrocious.
31. Going vegetarian is a great way to impress a girl (or a boy).
32. Slaughter conditions for animals are inhumane.
33. Drawing from a Lag B'Omer story, Richard Schwartz and Daniel Brook note, "[A] vegetarian diet ... is enough to sustain a person as well as a people."
34. Eating meat is linked to various types of cancer.
35. Huge amounts of land are needed to grow food for farmed animals and for cattle to graze.
36. It's not quite ideal to feed grains to farmed animals and then consume those grains in the animals' flesh.
37. A vegetarian diet is so healthy that it's the chosen diet of quite a few health-conscious athletes.
38. Farmed animals are genetically engineered to weigh more than they would naturally, so much so that they often collapse because they are unable to support their own weight.
39. The smell of factory farms is beyond people's worst nightmares.
40. The animal welfare, health, and environmental reasons to go vegetarian correspond to the Jewish principles of tsa'ar ba'alei chayim, pikuach nefesh, and bal tashchit.
41. The meat industry ignores the universal "honor thy mother" commandment.
42. Because animals can suffer, they deserve to have their interests taken into consideration in any utilitarian equation weighing the pluses and minuses of various ethical issues.
43. Many vegetarians take the opportunity of adopting a new diet to embrace new foods and cuisines and find that their dietary options are far wider now that their meals don't always revolve around a cow, a chicken, or a few other types of animals.
44. It's not economical to let factory-farmed animals mate naturally, so in many cases, semen is taken from the males and forcefully inserted into the females.
45. Animals in factory farms can't enjoy any of the things that are natural and important to them.
46. Going vegetarian is easier now than ever before.
47. Many farmed animals are given hormones in their food (to induce growth) as well as antibiotics (to keep them alive through conditions that would otherwise kill them).
48. Mad cow disease and bird flu pose serious threats to human health.
49. Crops can go a long way to feed the hungry, but they are largely wasted by feeding billions of farmed animals.