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The Right Stuff? Ethics and Religion
This section gives a short explanation about what each religion teaches about eating animals as food. For further information, see links with each religion
There are five founding beliefs or precepts in Buddhism. The first ones is not killing or causing harm to other living beings. Therefore many Buddhists follow a vegetarian (or vegan) diet. However, many don’t. Like most religions, there is often a difference between Buddhist principles (rules and beliefs) and Buddhist practice – what people actually do in their lives! Eg Tibetan Buddhists are often meat eaters, partly because growing plant foods is difficult in the country’s harsh climate – and partly because of tradition. In some countries, Buddhist monks are given alms (food) by householders and are supposed to take what is given, so are permitted to eat meat in food given to them. Buddhists in India are more likely to be vegetarian.
Most Christian churches do not teach vegetarianism and many Christians believe that humans are appointed by God as 'stewards' of the earth. However, many early Christians are believed to have been vegetarian. Today, the Seventh Day Adventist Church teaches vegetarianism as a general rule and there are also many other Christians who go vegetarian for such reasons as feeding the world, the environment and factory farming - or who just believe we should protect animals and the earth from harm, not exploit them.
Many Hindus are vegetarian due to their belief in non-violence (ahimsa). The Hindu religion also believes that the soul inside the body of an animal is similar to that of a soul in a human body - another reason for not eating animals.
Jains also believe in ahimsa (non-violence), but it is followed much more strictly than in the Hindu religion. Jains are strict vegetarians and some choose a vegan diet to reduce animal cruelty even further. www.ivu.org/religion/articles/foodgods.html#jai