The Peaceable Table

A Vegetarian Journal for Quakers and Other People of Faith

The Peaceable Table is intended for the mutual support, education, and inspiration of people of faith in the practice of love for our fellow animals and observance of a vegetarian diet

All Animals Are Equal...

"...But some are more equal than others," goes Orwell's familiar line. Or, in Quaker language, should we say "All bearers of the Divine Light are equal, but we human beings are more equal than others."

"More Equal" is of course nonsense that shows up the bad faith of a speaker who has betrayed his or her commitment. No Friend or other spiritual aspirant would seriously make such a claim. Those who defend the status quo of animals-as-food would simply say that Equality does not apply to them, and never has.

But equality is a complex and ambiguous concept, and it is not surprising that even Friends, for whom it is a cardinal principle, can sometimes be confused. Not all nonhuman animals are equal; they range from the highly sensitive and complex to the clam or paramecium. For the purpose of this essay, I exclude the latter, defining "animal" as any being with a central nervous system, presumably making her or him capable of feeling physical pain or pleasure, and also as capable of some degree of psychological distress or gratification. And people who defend hierarchical human social structures have pointed out that in fact all people are not equal either, let alone all beings. There is a great mental gulf between Einstein and the badly brain-damaged, a moral/spiritual gulf between Gandhi and the torturer. This obvious inequality of capacities in individual humans, applied across the board to oppressed groups, was once used to deny equal rights to women, Blacks, and others. Traits sometimes fostered by particular conditions of oppression became stereotypical descriptions of the whole group. Thus women are by nature timid, modest, and weak-minded, destined to please men and raise children; Blacks are lazy, highly sexed, and prone to crime; Jews are dishonest gold-diggers who will try to take control of (more spiritually-minded) Christians. It follows, obviously, that these inferior beings must be subordinate to their betters.

As a result of the movements for race, gender, and ethnic liberation (as well as wars) in the nineteenth and twentieth centures, such ideas for the most part are no longer openly accepted in our culture. But the pattern of self-fulfilling stereotyping is mostly still in place for animals, and contributes to keeping them in chains. People who would never think of using "Jew-moneylender" or "lazy nigger" as an epithet don't hesitate to use animal words as terms of abuse against fellow humans: "bitchy" or "hoggish" or "bovine." Or (to describe those who commit atrocities) just "animal."

Surprising Discoveries

Just as with these other liberation movements, the heightened concen, in the last thirty or forty years, with animals as subjects with rights or interests of their own has brought to light a great deal of information that challenges the stereotypes. Ethology, the study of animals in their own societies and environments represented by Jane Goodall's work with chimpanzees, has revealed much that can't be discovered by cutting up the bodies of live animals kept in cages. As recorded in a 1995 National Geographic, among the discoveries of Goodall's Gombe project are the observation that chimps not only make tools, but that communities establish cultures: a particular tool-use that was part of the culture of one chimp community took root in another after a chimp immigrated from the first to the second. Jane was right to (unknowingly) violate scientific protocol by giving them names rather than numbers; chimps have been seen to have diverse personalities, complex emotions and social relationships, ranging from the affectionate to the bullying. They even show signs of responding to scenes of grandeur with awe

Yet in Africa they are still widely regarded as human food!

Chimps are shaped rather like us (or vice versa), and we share with them 98% of our DNA, so perhaps these facts shouldn't surprise us. But scienties studying cows—not quite in their natural habitat but with respectful regard for what it might feel like to be a cow— have also made some surprising discoveries. For example, at a recent conference in England on animal sentience, researchers Donald Broom and Kristin Hagen told of a project in which they devised a control panel in a paddock that required young cows to figure out how to open the gate admitting them to a food treat. Broom and Hagen fitted out the heifers with brain and heart monitors to measure their level of excitement. The heifers mulled over the situation for a time. When some of them figured out the solution and opened the gate, they had a "Eureka!" response: their hearts raced, their brainwaves altered, they jumped for joy, and trotted happily over to the food.

John Webster, a professor of animal husbandry at Bristol University, reports that cows in a herd form small friendship groups of up to four animals; they spend their time together, often grooming each other. They will be careful not to hurt one another with their horns. They may dislike certain other cows, and bear grudges for months, even years.

Keith Kendrick of Brabingham Institute reported parallel capacities among sheep. They can remember as many as fifty faces of other sheep, recognizing them even in profile; they can become strongly attached to particular humans, becoming depressed by separations and greeting the long-lost person enthusiastically after separations of up to three years.

Not so bovine—or ovine—after all! When we take in this kind of evidence that "farm" animals have complex lives and viewpoints, our human practices of casually incarcerating and killing them for food begin to seem more and more like the organized human slavery and massacres of the grimmest periods of history.

Wherein Lies Equality?

What if these studies had come up with different results, tending to support common prejudices about animal vacant-mindedness? Suppose our only signs that animals experience pain was their pulling back, trembling and screaming while facing actual violence? Does their claim to equality depend on their mental capacities and psychological complexity?

It does strengthen our appeal for changing the human treatment of them. But it can't establish their equality, because humans can still be "more equal," i.e., more intelligent, more complex. Equality, says philosopher Peter Singer, is a moral rather than a descriptive concept. He quotes 18th century thinker Jeremy Bentham: "The question is not, Can they reason? nor Can the talk? but, Can they suffer?" Similarly, Thomas Jefferson, in his efforts to do away human slavery, comments that "Because Sir Isaac Newton was superior to others in understanding, he was not therefore lord of the property or person of others." Most people would agree that subjecting a brain-damaged human being to painful experiments (or killing her for food!) is no more justifiable than doing the same to a genius.

Moving Toward Equality

Then how can we justify participating in this physical violence, let alone in the psychological violence of tearing a cow away from her friends, or a calf from his mother so that we humans can consume her milk? Most people, including most Friends and other socially concerned people, don't try to justify these massive violations of equality; they just go on eating their chops and their cheese. And the wealthy, politically powerful meat and dairy industries go on supplying them and raking in their subsidies and their profits. The dead hand of tradition and habit is heavy indeed.

Needless to say, it will not do. We must continue to examine our lives. We must "speak Truth to Power"—even when the powerful are not only politicians and CEOs, but ordinary, obscure human beings, including ourselves. After all, we have the choice to reach for that chunk of flesh in the supermarket, or to choose a nonviolent alternative—a power infinitely beyond that of the cow in the jammed truck headed for hell on earth.

—Gracia Fay Ellwood


Mixed Greens with Mellow Miso Salad Dressing

This recipe yields about 3/4 cup of salad dressing. Store leftovers in a tightly sealed glass jar in the refrigerator. Use within a few days. It is very delicious, so that should not be a problem. This recipe was adapted from a recipe in Joanne Stepaniak's Vegan Source Book.

Fresh mixed greens, washed and dried to serve 4 - 6.
Additional toppings for salad such as grated carrot, sunflower seeds, raisins, alfalfa sprouts and/or walnuts
3 T mellow miso (a light variety not dark barley or red miso)
4 T olive oil
2 T water
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 tsp evaporated cane juice (organic sugar)
1/4 tsp. onion granules or 2 T fresh, finely chopped onion
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Place all of the ingredients in a blender; blend on high until smooth. Toss desired amount with salad greens and toppings.

—Angela Suarez

Velvega (pronounced "vel -vee-ga")

This is great recipe for vegans who may still occasionally crave a grilled cheese sandwich. This is usually a great success with kids. I have found that on occasions when I do not want to take the extra step of using and cleaning my blender, if I place all the ingredients in the saucepan and whisk very well and make sure there are no lumps, then I can skip the blender step and mix and cook in the same pan. This recipe was developed after reading several vegan melty cheese recipes from various sources. Yields about 1 1/4 c.

1 c water
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1 T unbleached flour
2 T cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 T canola or safflower oil

Place all ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a small saucepan, whisk over medium high heat until the mixture begins to thicken, then lightly boil 30 seconds. Whisk vigorously. Pour into glass container. The velvega will become firm, but will easily spread on bread to make grilled cheese sandwiches. It may also be eaten cold or room temperature on sandwiches with vegetarian deli slices, lettuce and tomato and vegan mayonnaise. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To make grilled cheese: preheat skillet over medium heat (or use electric skillet preheated 350�F). spread outside of sliced whole wheat bread with a good quality butter substitute, such as Earth Balance; then spread the velvega on the other side of the bread, top with another "buttered" slice of bread and grill until golden on each side.

—Angela Suarez

I Can't Believe It's Vegan! Chocolate Cake

I have made this cake and served it at many social functions where the people were not vegetarian, let alone vegan; and every time it was very well received. I was even once asked if I was sure there were no eggs in it-- of course I was sure; I had made it in my own kitchen where there are never any eggs.

It is important to use good quality cocoa when baking. The raspberry vinegar gives the cake a delightful hint of raspberry flavor. This cake is moist enough to be served without frosting, although frosting is delicious. It is also good with fruit and vanilla soy yogurt. This is an original recipe that was inspired by many vegan desserts.

1 1/2 cups organic, unbleached flour, sifted
3 Tablespoons organic cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup evaporated cane juice (organic sugar)
1/4 tsp salt
5 T canola oil (may substitute safflower oil)
2 tsp raspberry vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/4 cup vanilla soy milk (if batter seems too thick, add an extra 1/4 cup of soy milk or water)

1. Place flour, cocoa, baking powder and soda, sugar and salt in a medium size mixing bowl. Whisk to combine.
2. Pour the soy milk, oil, vinegar, and vanilla into the flour mixture.
3. Whisk the wet and dry ingredients together until smooth, then pour into a 9 x 9 inch baking pan. (Spray cake pan with nonstick cooking spray before pouring in cake batter.)
4. Bake at 350 F for about 25 - 30 minutes; test with a toothpick. It is done when toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a cooling rack, then remove from pan. I find that cakes easily slip out of glass baking dishes once they have thoroughly cooled.

—Angela Suarez

My Pilgrimage: The Call to Vegetarianism and NonViolence

Since childhood I have heard the urging of the Inner Voice to live non-violently and to seek the ways of understanding, Peace and harmony—basically, simply, to live the Golden Rule.

My parents practiced no particular organized religion, and, overall, taught living the Golden Rule as the main instrument of "salvation." To them good deeds provided upliftment. As I grew up I studied different religions. It became apparent to me that the Eastern religions tended to promote vegetarianism and veganism, claiming that such fare respected the sacredness of life by not spilling the blood of animals for food, and, secondly, because vegetable food as one's source of nutrition calmed people, made for more harmonious digestion, and thus fostered peace and calm for deeper meditation.

Even in Western religion I found this leaning to vegetarianism. For example, I came to understand that among the prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures, Daniel and his companions in exile partook only of vegetable food to express their loyalty to Israel's God. My inner being exclaimed that such ways were true and right.

But I was rebellious. Simply, I liked excitement, and animal food aroused more internal excitement. And although my parents attempted a balanced omnivorous diet, I for the most part was a Meat Eater. I did eat fruit once in a while, but no more vegetables than I could help; the only ones I consumed on any regular basis were french fries and onion rings on hamburgers. Also I ate a lot of cheese on hills of pasta. But the main item on my menu was flesh, very rare, and sometimes raw.

During this period I had colds and flu more of the time than I was healthy. Although I did not realize it at the time, I was also lactose-intolerant.

Though I went out of my way to avoid violence to other humans, I was destructive to myself: besides the harm I caused myself by flesh and dairy consumption, I was a substance-abuser (alcohol, illegal drugs) from age 11 to about age 30. After my marriage failed, I fell deeper into patterns of self-destruction.

Finally I declared to the Creator that I was willing to turn my life around for my sake and my children's sake. More light came to me, including information on the restorative power of vegetables on bodies ravished by substance abuse. Initially I went on a vegetable and fruit regime to cleanse myself. After a time I fell to meat-eating again, but since I continued with the vegetable food as well, I was healthier. The alcohol and drugs became a thing of the past.

However, my Inner Voice urged me to live more fully the Golden Rule, and that, the Light made clear, meant not eating animals. It became a struggle between my lower self and my spiritual nature.

I also had much contact with Native Americans, including people of African-American-Indian descent. And these folks, though they held all life sacred, nevertheless ate animals. That seemed right in its traditional native practice, but it did not ring true for me. I bought food from the supermarket, and the meat and dairy there came via the savage and inhuman business of factory farms and slaughterhouses. But I was prone to addictions, and considering that I had such a vampiric and ghoulish taste for flesh and blood, it was an enormous battle.

I reminded myself that I had been able to quit alcohol, illegal drugs and tobacco all at the same time; I could extricate myself from animal flesh and dairy. But I was still not ready to do so.

I was confused about the health issue; I had heard for years that people need animal protein, and I had worries about my health, but the East Indian material I had encountered said plainly that we not only do not need it, we would be all the healthier as vegetarians or vegans. So I set about studying the matter more closely. In the process of this search I came across a book called Oahspe. It claims that throughout history there have always been groups of people who worshipped an everpresent Creator, ate vegetable food, and would rather suffer death than take the life of another. It also asserted that a vegetable diet would be a help in developing the prophetic state (which I have not yet attained). For me, the book provided the first nail in the coffin of flesh-eating. I stopped for good.

When I was on a meat diet, even though I engaged in meditation and prayer, I had a volcanic temper. Since I have become a vegetarian, and now a near-vegan, I have found that I have greater peace; the volcano has not erupted in over fifteen years. I have also found that I am more open to subtler vibrations; spiritual perceptions are clearer. Simply put, I find it much easier to be in the world but not of the world. Anot only am I free of the bloodlust, I have no desire for drugs or alcohol (though I still have a caffeine problem that I'm working on).

Human beings, for me, are assigned to be the caretakers of the world—an assignment we have nearly blown. These brothers and sisters are to be attended to and learned from, not dismissed as things; cared for, not tormented and butchered. Only then can we find peace within ourselves and with one another.

—Peter Hartgens
Peter Hartgens is a member of the Animal Kinship Committee of Orange Grove Friends Meeting.

Review: Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, starring Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen, written and directed by George Lucas.

The last of the Star Wars saga to be produced, though number three among the six in chronological sequence, Revenge of the Sith continues the series' focus on vast and richly-hued vistas spread through many worlds, featuring innumerable creatures of many aspects. Some are beautiful and some menacing (by human standards), some emerge as tiny (like the physically diminutive but spiritually towering Yoda) and some loom gigantic. Moreover, some are living, some droid, and some perhaps a mixture of both. Throughout all these fabulous realms, action is fast-paced, but pauses sufficiently to indicate the psychological anguish tormenting the central figure, Anakin Skywalker, later Darth Vader, as he struggles with, and finally submits to, the Dark Side of the Force.

Revenge of the Sith, the most forceful of the prequels as it carries through a catastrophic crisis the life-story of Anakin Skywalker begun in The Phantom Menace and advanceded in Attack of the Clones, is different from the classic three Star Wars films: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. Revenge has psychological and mythological resonance. But compared to the series beginning with A New Hope it remains somber and larger but less than life. It is often as if the principal characters were mythic archetypes enacting their timeless roles, rather than real people like us here below in the human galaxy—although the inner tension and conflict leading to Anakin's turn to the Dark Side to become Darth Vader is powerful and convincing. Perhaps this is the way it was meant to be and all to the good: the great myths are ageless and undying, as refreshing now as ever.

Yet the original trinity of Star Wars films somehow managed to combine archetypal meaning with characters who remained far more appealing, because more human, than any in the three prequels. There, Luke and Leia were sometimes the eternal hero and heroine, and sometimes just very young people setting out on the scary yet tremendously exciting adventure of life in a fabulous but uncertain universe. Above all, Han Solo, freebooter and lovable scoundrel, managed always to keep the films alive with human and well as mythic interest.

Significantly, the Han Solo type also resembles a mythic role, the Trickster, sometime player of cruel pranks on people, sometime benefactor, but always living on his own terms and in his own way. Quite often this character is an animal, like Coyote in much Native American lore, or the Fox in Chinese and Japanese folk tales. Here the animal is held up to the human to teach the salutary lesson, the deep theme all comedy, that there are limits to humanity's scope and skill, and too much pretension is likely to lead to a pratfall. Yet Coyote as giver of gifts humans could not have obtained for themselves, even as culture-hero, puts the animal in the other role of showing humans how much they depend on that which is outside of themselves, and not seldom the quadruped—like Lassie in the old movies—is nobler than the ordinary human.

Revenge of the Sith is better in regard to animals than Episode II, Attack of the Clones, in which, in a horrific arena scene, animals of all bizarre sorts were goaded (by the baddies) to fight the Jedi for the entertainment of a vast amphitheater of spectators. In the earlier films various beasts were used as mounts, and variously treated, but in Revenge the only one I can recall in such involuntary servitude, a lizard-like vehicle of the heroic Kenobi, was well-treated and shown affection.

At the same time, most of the menacing robots in the picture are suggestive of animals: crabs, camels, birds of prey, and the like. This perpetuates the stereotyping of animals as embodiments—actually projections—of human fears, or of negative qualities in our own makeup, rather than as creatures in their own right, with their own centers of being. The fact that a giant crab may seem fearsome to a human does not mean the crustacean is fearsome in itself, or necessarily so to other crabs with whom it may wish to mate. Such projections can be the beginning of looking at animals solely in terms of their role, or use, to humans, and so as objects for our manipulation rather than our love.

On the other hand, Revenge, like the other Star Wars episodes, presents wonderful examples of interspecies friendship and cooperation. The sequence on the Wookie planet is all too short, but recalls the earlier/later relationship between Han Solo and the Wookie Chewbacca, Han's loyal companion and co-pilot. The primate-like Wookies look like quasi-human animals, are clearly very intelligent and high-spirited, but speak in a way that only a very few humans, like Han and Kenobi, can understand. This association puts forth an ideal for interdependence between forms of sentient life that could well apply here on old earth as well as in a galaxy far away. We too need each other, have known people with peculiar abilities to communicate with animals (and many more could if they would really try, in love, dispersing first any Dark Side mists of instrumentality-type thought), and could cooperate in many ways for the betterment of our common home.

Let it begin with us.

—Robert Ellwood

Review: The God of Evolution

The God of Evolution: A Trinitarian Theology. By Denis Edwards. Paulist Press, 1999., 144 pages.

When the nature scientist, Sir Joseph Banks, was asked, "What do we learn about the Creator from the study of the creation?" Sir Joseph replied "An inordinate fondness for beetles." God must love those insects greatly, to have created so many species of them in such profuse variety. Well, I love beetles too, so I think Sir Joseph was on the right track, but he did not go far enough.

Denis Edwards does take the next logical step. Not only does God love creation, even down to the smallest beetle (and even smaller creatures), the nature of God is like the nature of Nature--it is a Nature of relationships. Edwards quotes with approval from Richard Dawkins in River Out of Eden: "Each one of us is a community of a hundred million million mutually dependent eukaryotic cells" (p. 25) Recall Genesis 1:26, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness . . ." Edwards is presenting a trinitarian theology, God as a community of three mutually loving and interdependent Persons. But perhaps God is in fact a community of a hundred million million mutually loving and interdependent persons, as the multidinarian theology of certain Process and Hindu and Latter-day Saint thinkers has it.

In any case, whether we understand God as community of three or of a trillion trillion, we are learning something about God from the study of nature. As Edwards puts it: "This relational view of God is a point of contact with biological science, which understands reality as an interdependent, relational process (24). And what consequence does such a view of God and Nature have for us? "It calls human beings to an ecological consciousness, to an empathy for and solidarity with all the life forms of our planet" (128). Indeed, one cannot conceive of a worldview more conducive to compassion and empathy with fellow living creatures than one that teaches us that these creatures are our genetic relatives, while also reminding us that we are all creatures of a loving and compassionate God.

By contrast, no ideology is more anti-animal than one that denies God while also insisting that emotion, intellect and language are nonexistent in animals, having appeared in humans out of nothing--a sort of atheistic creationism.

Edwards draws attention to an insight from Genesis 1:2, learned from the Syriac text. He might in fact have gone to the original Hebrew text. In both Hebrew and other Semitic languages such as Syriac, rwakh, "spirit," is always feminine, and the verb in this passage, merakhefeth, "brooding" (in feminine form, of course), refers normally to the action of a hen or any mother bird as she covers her eggs with her body to hatch them. Thus, the Spirit is to us a mother who imparts of her own warmth and life to us, her embryonic children, to bring us to full Life and Divinity. This image offers much-needed balance for the prevailing masculine images of God in Judaism and Christianity.

Denis Edwards does an excellent job of showing how intellectually powerful a position of theistic creationism can be, but one could wish his book were a bit more accessible. Greek theological terms are explained usually only once. Latin expressions are usually not translated at all. This makes some arguments rather hard to follow for those of us who have, like Shakespeare, "little Latin and less Greek." A glossary of Greek, Latin and theological terms would be very useful indeed, as would an index.

The book would also be improved by proper credit having been given in presenting the idea of God deliberately withdrawing to make room for the universe (32); credit for this should go to the Kabbalists. The image of God as a composer and director of music is credited to a book published in 1993 (52), but it was anticipated by J.R.R. Tolkien in The Sillmarilion," published in 1977 but written much earlier.

—Benjamin Urrutia

Pioneers: Pythagoras

Pythagoras is probably the first historically-anchored figure in the West for whom vegetarianism was an important part of his worldview. He did not leave any writings, and although there are contemporary and second-generation references to him--enough to indicate that he must have been an impressive figure--most of the narratives of his life and specifics of his teachings are from later centuries, their historicity uncertain. He was, and remains, controversial, but some generalizations may be made.

Pythagoras was born about 570 BCE (a contemporary of the Buddha) on the island of Samos off the coast of Ionia (Turkey). In his youth he left Samos to avoid the tyranny of Polycrates, the island's ruler, and probably also because of a desire to study with learned teachers. During the next several decades he may have studied with Thales and Anaximander, Egyptian theurgic priests, Zoroastrian magi, and adherents of the Orphic cultus. Eventually he settled in the city of Kroton in southern Italy, where he founded a spiritual community which grew very large and had great influence (as well as arousing enmity).

His investigations in science, philosophy, musical theory and geometry ( he is known today chiefly as the proponent of the pythagorean theorem) were all part of his spiritual enterprise, the search for God and the salvation of the soul. Perhaps the central tenet of his worldview was the idea that the soul was immortal, a fallen divinity that incarnated not only in successive human forms, but also in animal forms. Thus all animals are our cousins; injuring, killing, eating them were abhorrent to him, and compassion was enjoined. His latter-day biographer Iamblichus says "Amongst other reasons, Pythagoras enjoined abstinence from the flesh of animals because it is conducive to peace. For those who are accustomed to abominate the slaughter of other animals, as iniquitous and unnatural, will think it still more unjust and unlawful to kill a man or to engage in war."

The veneration of Apollo and the Muses, long periods of silence, simplicity or even austerity of lifestyle and diet, with emphasis on fresh, uncooked foods and herbs (perhaps including psychedelics), were all integral to the search for spiritiual attunement and purity which could bring about a return to the divine Source. (Eating fava beans was also taboo for the Pythagoreans, for reasons not clearly understood today.) It appears that he remained uncommonly trim, strong and healthy on this regime.

He was also spiritually powerful; Pythagoras became a figure of inspirational stories, a kind of ancient St. Francis. He was said to been able to command an ox to stop trampling a field of beans, to have fed a wild bear and curbed his aggressions, to have healed the sick by means of music and dancing, to have understood the language of birds. It was claimed that he remembered his own pre-existence and could awaken knowledge of former lives in others. He was thought to have lived for 150 or even 300 years.

Not everyone adulated him; followers of the pythagorean diet became stock figures of fun in Greek comedy, and during grim periods of Church history, were regarded as highly dangerous to the status quo. But he was so influential that his name was identified with the meatless diet until the 1840s (when the word vegetarian was coined).We--humans and other animals--owe him much.


—Gracia Fay Ellwood, Krotona, California


Shelley's long poem Queen Mab, written at age 20, describes a future Golden Age in which human beings will live in peace and equality with one another, and in harmony with animals. In the notes to the poem, some of them lengthy enough to be essays, the young author develops his radical ideas at further length. In the one on vegetarianism he gives several of the supporting arguments that have been rediscovered in our own times, generalizing that in the unnatural human practice of eating flesh lies one source for the ills of the world. He points out that the pythagorean diet fosters good health; that many people would not eat flesh if they had to do the bloody work of killing with their own hands; that "the quantity of nutritious vegetable matter consumed in fattening the carcase of an ox would afford ten times the sustenance, undepraving indeed and incapable of generating disease, if gathered immediately from the bosom of the earth."

Immortal upon earth, no longer now
He slays the lamb that looks him in the face,
And horribly devours his mangled flesh,
Which, still avenging Naure's broken law,
Kindled all putrid humours in his frame,
All evil passions, and all vain belief,
Hatred, despair, and loathing in his mind,
The germs of misery, death, disease, and crime.
No longer now the winged habitants
That in the woods their sweet lives sing away,
Flee from the form of man; but gather round,
And prune their sunny feathers on the hands
Which little children stretch in friendly sport
Toward these dreadless partners of their play.

—Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792-1822

The Peaceable Table is intended to resume the witness of that excellent vehicle of the Friends Vegetarian Society of North America, The Friendly Vegetarian, which appeared quarterly between 1982 and 1995. Following its example, and sometimes borrowing from its treasures, we publish articles for toe-in-the-water vegetarians as well as long-term ones, poetry, letters, book and film reviews, and recipes.

The journal is intended to be interactive; contributions, including illustrations, are invited for the next issue. Deadline for the July issue will be June 30, 2005. Send to or 10 Krotona Hill, Ojai, CA 93023. We operate primarily online in order to conserve trees and labor, but hard copy is available for interested persons who are not online. The latter are asked to donate $12 (USD) per year. Other donations to offset the cost of the domain name, server and advertising notices are welcome.

Editor: Gracia Fay Ellwood
Book and Film Reviewers: Benjamin Urrutia & Robert Ellwood
Recipe Editor: Angela Suarez
Technical Architect: Richard Scott Lancelot Ellwood