The Dietary Laws
To the Editor:
I read with concern Leon R. Kass’s article, “Why the Dietary Laws?” [June]. The observation that vegetarians refrain from meat indiscriminately and thus “violate the Jewish dietary laws” fails to consider that vegetarians refrain from bloodshed and violence. Would that not be the best way to maintain our separation from animals? Are the particular rules, restrictions, and prohibitions around meat-eating not obvious in their disapproval of this human desire for flesh?
Furthermore, given modern factory-farming methods of raising animals (clearly a violation of the injunction against causing pain to living creatures); given the devastating global impact of rainforest destruction on grazing cattle (violating the injunction against purposeless destruction); and given the detrimental health impact of too much meat, chicken, and fish in our diet (violating the injunction to preserve life), would the act of eating not be more sanctified by vegetarian practice?
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