Animals and World Religions


Religious communities have the power to bring anymal industries to their knees.

Animals and World Religions

Each chapter of Animals and World Religions provides the following subheadings:

“Interpenetrability,” only relevant to some of the world’s religious traditions, is a subheading in the first four chapters. Interpretability is relevant in cultures that hold a cyclical vision of life and which lack the tendency to separate humanity from anymals.

Exploring sacred teachings from around the world demonstrates that nature, including anymals, is sacred, that anymals are central to our spiritual landscape, and that we owe them respect, justice, and compassion.

Animals and World Religions

Chapter 1: Indigenous Traditions

The first chapter explores ancient mythology and the writings of contemporary indigenous peoples from South America to Africa, from the Arctic to Southeast Asia. This chapter examines autonomy and interdependence, respect and responsibility, oneness and the afterlife, kinship and community, creation and anymal powers (including taboos and rituals), interpenetrability, and the ethics of hunting.

Indigenous traditions do not think about or speak of a species boundary. Instead, they see all animals as kin, and view a species similarly to how progressive human beings view skin color—it looks different, but what lies underneath is what matters, and under our skin, we are fundamentally the same. Consequently, indigenous myths speak of animals ‘changing skins,’—moving from one species to another.

Animals and World Religions

Chapter 2: Hindu Religious Traditions

Vedic, Hindu, and Jain Religious Traditions. Topics in this chapter include the sacred power of nature, ahimsa, reincarnation, karma, oneness, interspecies kinship, Vishnu’s incarnations, and the historic tendency toward a diet devoid of flesh and eggs. Additionally, Chapter Two probes connections between deities and anymals, such as anymals associated with gods and goddesses, Krishna’s affiliation with cows, the importance and power of serpents/snakes/nagas, the elephant-headed Ganesha, and the much-revered monkey, Hanuman. The anymal-friendly nature of Gandhi’s teachings and writings are also explored in the chapter.

Hindu compilations such as the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Pancatantra include anymals that preach and teach, have special knowledge and powers, and are indispensable to the workings of both humanity and divinities. Indeed, with such powerful anymal characters as Hanuman, and with great God’s such as Vishnu incarnate in anymal form, the powers of anymals are unlimited.

Animals and World Religions

Chapter 3: Buddhist Religious Traditions

Key topics in this chapter are the religio-philosophical concepts of ahimsa,karuna, metta, bodhicitta, bodhisattvas, reincarnation, karma, anatta, oneness and interdependence, codependent arising, Buddha nature, and interspecies kinship. This chapter also explores ethics through the life of the Buddha, the edicts of King Ashoka, and the ethics of the contemporary Vietnamese Zen Buddhist, Thich Nhat Hanh.

Our interactions with those who currently moo, croak, or meow are critical to our own self-realization, to our own spiritual path. How we treat a flower snake is evidence of our spiritual past, and also determines what will lie ahead for our atman. Through the process of reincarnation, in conjunction with karma, in light of our personal decisions, anymals might be said to have tremendous power and influence over the future lives of human beings.

Animals and World Religions

Chapter 4: Chinese Religious Traditions

Beginning with the Confucian tradition, this chapter exmines tian, ren, junzi, the Great Ultimate, Great Unity, and the central place of benevolence. The second portion of the chapter focuses on the Daoist tradition, including an examination of Dao, ci, jian, bugan wei tianxia xian, transformation, Unity of Being, views of death, the central role of harmony, ultimate integrity and peace, wu wei, and Daoist precepts expected to guide the lives of humanity. The end of the chapter gives attention to the compassionate Guanyin as well as contemporary activists.

The Dao infuses all that exists, and Daoist morality explicitly protects the natural world—including anymals—from human domination and exploitation. When asked where the Dao might be found, Zhuangzi reportedly replied that the Dao could not be found in any distinct place. The Dao permeates all that exists—all of life and all that is natural are part of the Dao, and all of nature is therefore sacred.

Animals and World Religions

Chapter 5: Jewish Religious Traditions

Beginning at the beginning, this chapter turns to creation and sacred nature, mercy and compassion, tsa’ar ba’alei chayim, “dominion” in the image of God, humility, the Peaceable Kingdom, Jewish law, and dietary ethics. Other topics featured include the divine relationship with anymals, and divinely ordained relations between humans and anymals as presented in Genesis, Psalms, and the Book of Job. The chapter closes by describing anymal activism not only among contemporary Jews, but as exemplified by rabbis and the prophets.

This divinely ordained diet reminds people (yet again) that we are given a dominion of mercy and compassion. People are granted a vegan rulership, sustenance compatible with a Peaceable Kingdom, a diet that does not permit of tyranny or exploitation. A plant-based diet makes perfect sense in light of the Jewish expectation that human beings demonstrate mercy and compassion, and avoid causing harm or pain.

Animals and World Religions

Chapter 6: Christian Religious Traditions

Love, mercy, service and sharing, peace, humility, and the God-centered life are core to Chapter 6. The chapter also surveys the inclusive nature of Christian salvation and presents ideal models of compassion and anymal advocacy through the life of Jesus and the Christian saints. As the chapter closes, the teachings of eighteenth-century Dr. Humphrey Primatt, nineteenth-century Leo Tolstoy, and the works of dedicated contemporary Christian anymal liberationists emphasize scripture in action in the Christian tradition.

Jesus modeled direct action as a method of initiating change, and he modeled a life of service to the weakest and neediest of beings. Christians are called to model their lives after the life of Jesus.

Animals and World Religions

Chapter 7: Islamic Religious Traditions

Focusing on the sacred nature of creation, love and compassion, humility and submission, unity, vice-regency, zakat, and the afterlife, the chapter presents scriptures describing Allah’s ongoing commitment to creation and the Creator’s anticipated relations between humans and other anymals. There is a segment on Islamic law, including requirements for anymal care, wartime protections, hunting, and diet, including halal food requirements. Of course the chapter looks to the life of Prophet Muhammad, the tradition’s moral exemplar, and at the end of the chapter, anymal activism is highlighted through the work of the late Al-Hafiz Basheer Ahmad Masri and two contemporary activists.

Muhammad taught his followers that all creatures matter in their own right, and that our interactions with other creatures are of moral and spiritual importance. Hadith indicate that Muhammad viewed anymals as members of their own communities, and also as individuals in their own right, due proper care and respect. The Prophet encouraged kindness and compassion, and taught his followers that how we treat anymals—how we invest our time and money—are noted by Allah and will be a matter of considerable importance on the day of judgment.

Animals and World Religions


The closing chapter reiterates the intent, focus, and parameters of the book, revisits the distinction between anymal welfare and anymal liberation, then offers two formal arguments based on information presented throughout the book, affirming the religious requirement of a vegan diet and the ethics of anymal liberation. Acknowledging that few people seem aware of the anymal-friendly nature of religious traditions, the conclusion outlines five compelling reasons to change our consumption habits and adopt a plant-based diet, ultimately affirming the support of religious commitments in working for anymal liberation.

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