How to incorporate veganism into religious studies




One way to incorporate veganism into religious studies is by exploring how different religions perceive animals, their rights and ethics, and how we treat them. This can make for an exciting and thought-provoking topic of discussion.

It’s worth noting that veganism has been included in previous RE GCSE exams, highlighting its relevance to this field of study. Check out some examples of veganism-related questions from past exams to see how it has been featured before.

A June 2018 AQA Paper asked the question:

Give two reasons why some religious people do not eat meat. [2 marks]

The paper notes that all of the following are valid points:

Against killing of animals as they believe that animals should not be harmed / animals are God’s creation / idea of stewardship / object to cruelty eg. of some factory farming or killing methods / believe that vegetarianism is healthier / if land used to raise cattle was used to grow vegetables more food would be produced / the Sikh Langar is vegetarian, etc.

Each point could really stir up a lot of debate in the classroom, providing material for interesting lessons while also raising awareness among your students of the reality of animal farming today.

Find out more about the ethical and environmental impacts of animal agriculture and how these topics tie in with religion and ethics to inform your lesson planning.

Another AQA Paper asked:

Give two examples of what religious believers might do to help to carry out the duty of stewardship.

Similarly to the above question, ‘stewardship’ can refer to the idea of protecting and looking after animals. Veganism falls into this definition perfectly; find out more from various religions on what ‘stewardship’ or care of animals means.

Finally, religious studies and ethics can even include discussions on animal experimentation.

Finally, religious studies and ethics can even include discussions on animal experimentation. For example, the same paper in 2018 asked:

Explain two religious beliefs about animal experimentation. Refer to sacred writings or another source of religious belief and teaching in your answer.

Animal testing is rarely discussed; many people aren’t even aware that several brands of toothpaste, hair shampoo and other cosmetics are still needlessly tested on animals today, or what these animals suffer in laboratories all across the UK. You can raise awareness of alternatives that we already have, such as cosmetics with the cruelty-free logo on them, helping students make more informed decisions while also addressing relevant topics for their GCSE or A level.

Animal experimentation also is used for non-cosmetic products, such as finding cures or remedies for cancer and other life-harming illnesses. Yet in so many cases, the impact of drugs in one species who is tested, such as rats, has a completely different impact in humans. Alternatives to animal experimentation are usually cheaper, more effective, answers can be found more quickly and millions of animals are not subjected to cruel tests every year. You can find out more about alternatives here.

Have a look at the BBC’s interesting video on animal experimentation and religion, which looks at various different beliefs to discuss whether animal experimentation is ever justified.

If you’re looking for more ways to discuss veganism within religious and ethical classes, please get in touch.

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