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

Refusal and the Journey

In the newsletter All Creation, editor Candi Phillips tells some animal stories from the New Orleans disaster. In one, a news reporter found and rescued a chihuahua in the kitchen sink of a flooded home; it seems the little dog swam in the rising waters, reaching the temporary safety of the sink. In another, in footage shown on the Oprah Winfrey show, one man was seen burying his face in the ruff of his dog while another told the camera "We’ve been waiting here for days for everybody to go with everybody else, so we can get on [a boat] with the dog. And then they told us at the last minute we can’t take the dog. Well, this guy and his dog rescued me off my roof. He’s only 24, and he’s had the dog for 14 years. Well, we’re not leaving without the dog. . .” The rescuer promised to take the dog to a home in Baton Rouge, from which his guardian could retrieve him later. The young man flung himself into the rescuer’s arms, and both cried.

On the other side, many rescuers had a policy of refusing to accept companion animals, period. To some extent, this arises from knowledge of their limits: limited space, limited emergency supplies. This undeniably presents a painful dilemma. But there have also been armchair critics whose objections strike a different chord, one all too familiar. These amount to an insistence that nothing whatsoever should be done for animals, at any time, until all human needs have been met: which in effect means never. They may caricature animal activists as sentimentalists who ignore starving children while gushing over the discomforts of rabbits. Tom Regan reports, in Empty Cages, that he has usually found that such persons are themselves doing nothing to help either human or nonhuman animals. (One effective response is to offer to join the critic next time in whatever hands-on volunteer activity she or he ordinarily does.)

But this do-nothingness is by no means always the case. To revert to our central concern, nonviolent diet, there are many people who in strictly human areas are doing beneficial, even compassionate work, may keep a cat or a dog themselves, but do not want to hear a plea for nonviolence toward farmed animals. They want slaughterhouses to stay in business (they may specify that killing should be painless, but they don’t make inquiries before meals).

Will Tuttle in The World Peace Diet describes this resistance as part of a conspiracy of silence about the basis of our culture in exploitation of and violence against animals. He says that when he speaks to church groups about animals, the resistance is almost as palpable as a wall, even in the Unity church, which was founded by articulate vegetarians. In another image, he suggests that the person who awakens to the truth is one who "leaves home." We cannot see the terrible truth until we go on a journey, viewing the situation from an existential distance. Even though we can have companions on the journey, to risk this state of homelessness takes great courage. Many will not be ready to take it on.

It is a temptation for those of us on the journey to respond to the folk who will not follow by branding them hypocrites (at least mentally), especially if they are members of our spiritual community who profess to be compassionate, even nonviolent. But I believe that to label them so is a mistake, a failure of our hearts as well as theirs; in my opinion, we should reserve the word "hypocrite" for the consciously dishonest. As Mohandas Gandhi says in his autobiography, the quickest way to obtain justice is to do justice to the other side. Compartmentalized compassion is still genuine compassion, and achieves genuine good. Besides, we do not know what compartmentalization may still exist in our own hearts, what failures of love and of truthfulness.

All compassion, all love wells up from the Divine Light that dwells in every heart of every being. If we undergo the pain of spiritual homelessness and transformation, and come to live from this Light from hour to hour, we can become like Joseph Campbell’s Hero, at home everywhere. We will then able to return to our community with gifts of renewal.

—Gracia Fay Ellwood


Creamy Artichoke Appetizer

2 cups rice milk
1/2 cup raw cashews
2 T + 2 tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 T. cornstarch
2 T. safflower oil
4 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 c. artichoke hearts in water (these can be bought in a jar), chopped
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1/4 tsp sea salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 T. nondairy creamer (Silk® Creamer is very good)
2 T. nutritional yeast
2 T. Vegan Parmesan (a gluten free parmesan substitute made by Soymage®)

Place cashews and rice milk in blender. Blend on high until smooth; make sure there is no graininess. Add lemon juice, cornstarch, safflower oil, 2 T olive oil, 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Pour this mixture in a small sauce pan, whisk constantly over medium to medium high heat until bubbly. Cook one minute, whisking constantly. Pour into a glass bowl and set aside to cool.

While creamy cashew mixture cools, warm 2 T. olive oil in large skillet, add onions; sauté until translucent. Add artichoke hearts, fennel seeds, 1/4 tsp sea salt and black pepper to taste; stir and cook until flavors have blended and artichokes are heated through. Remove from heat and set aside to cool briefly.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Return to the cashew mixture. Using a fork, break the mixture up and stir until it is once again creamy. Add Silk® Creamer, nutritional yeast, Vegan Parmesan, and the artichoke mixture and mix well. Pour into a 10 - inch round baking dish (such as a quiche dish) that has been coated with olive oil or sprayed with nonstick canola spray.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes; then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 15 minutes more or until golden and bubbly. Remove from oven; allow to cool slightly. Serve with fresh baked bread or fresh vegetables for dipping.

This is a wonderful beginning to a dinner. It may be served hot or at room temperature. Cold leftovers are also delicious. This recipe is very rich and creamy. My non-vegan friends can’t believe it does not contain cheese; but they all say "this is so good!" Serves 6.

—Angela Suarez

Penne alla Zucca (Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce)

1 1/2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and seeds removed
4 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups cold water
1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 lb. pasta such as Penne or Pennette (Pennette is smaller form of Penne)
Vegan Parmesan (a gluten free parmesan substitute made by Soymage®)

Cut the butternut squash into finger length strips.

Warm the oil in a large saucepan over a medium flame. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the squash and garlic, stir it around in the saucepan to coat with the onion and olive oil; saute gently for a couple of minutes over low flame. Add the water, parsley, red pepper flakes and salt. Cook over low flame for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The squash will take on the consistency of a chunky puree.

Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and place in serving bowl. Pour butternut squash sauce over pasta and toss with Vegan Parmesan. Serve immediately.

My family always enjoys this recipe when butternut squash are in season. This year we especially enjoyed it because we had a wonderful crop of butternut squash in our family garden. We don’t have property to allow the squash to wander along the ground; so my husband built a quick and easy trellis for the squash to grow up. The squash adapt well to hanging above the ground by growing extra thick stems to hold tight to the mother plant. We have learned through experience that one does not need a lot of space to grow delicious and healthy food. Serves 4 - 6.

—Angela Suarez

Pomodori al Forno (Baked Tomatoes with Fresh Herbs)

6 ripe large tomatoes (such as Oxheart or Brandywine)
2 T. fresh marjoram leaves, chopped
2 -3 sprigs thyme, leaves only
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves only, chopped
3 T. fine dry bread crumbs
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 - 4 T. extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cut tomatoes in half. Place tomatoes cut side up in a shallow baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick canola cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, garlic, fresh herbs and olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve hot with crusty rustic bread.

Even though the name does not sound vegetarian, Oxheart tomatoes are probably my favorite tomato for salads and baking. I believe the name originated from their size and shape which was thought to be that of an ox. Of course the tomato is vegan and can be enjoyed from the organic garden knowing that we are eating in a simple way so others may simply live. Serves 6.

—Angela Suarez

Vegan Pumpkin Ice-cream

1 & 1/2 cups raw cashews
2 cups butternut squash puree (see directions below)
1 cup evaporated cane juice (organic sugar)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt

To make butternut squash puree: Using one medium size squash, peel and remove seeds from the squash. Cut into finger-like pieces or small chunks. Place in medium size sauce pan with 1 to 1 & 1/2 cups water. Cook until squash is very soft and easily mashed with a fork. Place in blender and puree; adding a little cooking water at a time to make a puree consistency.

Place cashews and butternut squash puree in blender. Blend on high speed until very smooth and there is no graininess present. (If the mixture seems much too thick, 1/4 cup spring water may be added to slightly thin; however the mixture should be thick). Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to blend until smooth. You may need to stop the blender, use a spatula to stir ingredients, then restart blender. Pour into a medium size stainless steel bowl. Cover and place in freezer. In a few hours, perhaps 4 - 6 hours, there will be delicious easy to scoop vegan ice cream ready to be eaten for dessert. If the ice cream remains in the freezer longer and is frozen firm, simply set out at room temperature.

This is a new recipe that was inspired by our crop of butternut squash this year. My son says this is his favorite flavor of ice-cream of all time. He says it tastes like “pumpkin pie.” This ice-cream really is rich, delicious, quite simple and best of all — no animals are harmed so that humans can enjoy a tasty dessert. Enjoy! Yields about one quart.

—Angela Suarez

Review: March of the Penguins

March of the Penguins. A film by Luc Jacquet. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, 2005.

Their heads are like the heads of seagulls, their feet are like the feet of dinosaurs. From behind, from a distance, they look like monks and nuns on a holy pilgrimage. From the front they look more like comic snowmen. From the side, especially when looking down at a chick, they are both tender and elegant. Their voices sound like something halfway between a seagull and a whale. These are the Emperor Penguins, amazing creatures who march for weeks to the frozen wilderness where they were born, so their babies may also come into their frozen world. Safely far from the sea they sing their seagull-cetacean song. They pair up and make love. Momma lays an egg shaped like an alien spaceship. In a delicate and difficult operation, they transfer their numinous treasure from her to the space between Poppa Penguin's reptilian feet and a warm fold of fat. Then the dedicated Dad must remain standing for 125 days without eating or drinking, whipped by winds with a wind-chill factore of minus 100 Fahrenheit. [Actually, the Dad participates with the other expectant fathers in a tight, inching spiral dance, so everyone has turns in the warmer interior of the spiral as well as the exposed exterior.] In the long Antarctic night, the only illumination comes from the Southern Lights above. What wondrous love is this, O my soul?

Only at one point in the film does any penguin descend to a human moral level. This happens after a baby penguin--the cutest little creature between the south and north poles--wanders off from Momma and freezes to death. At that point, I was weeping, and I pity the heart of stone that was not shedding a tear. The poor mother, driven mad with grief, tries to kidnap somebody else's child. At last, we are on familiar ground. Humans have been doing this sort of thing at least since the days of King Solomon, and probably for thousands of years before that monarch. But the penguins do not need a king or a sword to restore the Rule of Law. Five other mommas pile up like football players on their bereaved sister and save her from her folly. Life goes on.

After other events, at long last the fathers, having taken their turn in the ocean, return with bellies full of fish for their children, and once again the voice of the penguin is heard in the land. Every chick-child knows the voice of her or his parents, and vice versa, and the parents recognize each other by their voices also. "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine."

I hope that many who see this extraordinary documentary will gain a reluctance, perhaps even a repugnance, to eat the flesh and eggs of any bird. However, I do not know if any have. I find the devotion of the father to be stunning. You could not pay me enough to face the ordeal he endures while incubating the precious egg. I humbly acknowledge these birds to be my moral superiors, and the worst of them has a better right to heaven than I will ever have.

The movie has stimulated debate among the proponents of Creation, of Evolution, and of Intelligent Design. For my part, when I see this seagull-headed, porpoise-bodied, dinosaur-footed birds, it seems plain and obvious that they are creatures of evolution. But I cannot believe that all their beauty, dedication, love, and sacrifices are the product of an aleatory process, a mere rolling of the dice. No, there must be a supremely wise and infinitely patient Being behind and above all this. But what is the Higher Purpose? In other words, what do we learn about God from Emperor Penguins? Could it be that (as we suspected) God begets, is begotten and born, and gives birth? That God is a Mother, a Father, and a Child who loves each one of us as though there were only one to love?

—Benjamin Urrutia

Review: Forest of the Pygmies

Forest of the Pygmies. by Isabel Allende. Translated by Margaret Sayers Peden from El bosque de los pigmeos. Harper Collins, 2005. 296 pages, $13.95 (USD).

This is one of a series of adventure books for young adult readers. The heroes are Nadia and Alexander, two young people with the power to transform into an eagle and a jaguar, respectively. At the onset they are seventeen, and "best friends forever." By the end, they are eighteen, and engaged to be married. They accompany Alexander's grandmother, a writer (who seems to be based to some degree on the author herself) in her journeys around the world. In the present story, they are in Africa when they are asked to help find some missing missionaries.

It soon becomes clear that in order to do this they will first have to liberate a tribe of Pygmies from slavery. On the way to carrying out that self-imposed mission, Nadia and Alexander rescue a mother gorilla and her baby from a trap. Later they stop the pygmies from killing an elephant, and in return for the pygmies' compliance, they promise their help to achieve freedom. The young people deliver the promised help—and the help of the gorillas and elephants as well.

Forest of the Pygmies is not just an exciting adventure and romance story. Allende also takes the opportunity to deal with the nature of the spirit world, religious tolerance, women's rights, humans' obligations toward animals, and similar subjects. The book is wholeheartedly recommended for readers of all ages. And—"anyone who loves Harry Potter will probably love this book as well."

—Benjamin Urrutia

Odds & Ends

During the 1970s at Ohio State University, scientists were carrying out a cruel and unnecessary experiment of damaging the health of rabbits by feeding them a high-cholesterol diet. (Rabbits are of course herbivores, and cholesterol is found only in animal foods.) However, in the rabbits whose cages were at an easily reachable level, there was no ill effect from this unnatural diet. Why not? An investigation revealed that the student assigned to feed them had a practice of petting them for a few minutes before each meal. I was happy to read this (in You Can Feel Good All the Time, p. 103, by Robert D. Willix) because I never pass up a chance to pet an animal. Armadillos, boas, cats, dogs, elephants, ferrets—I pet them all. I know it does me good, and I am glad to hear it may do them good as well. "There is no pre-eminence of a man above a beast." Since we come from the same Source, it is no surprise that we should share some of the same feelings.

—Benjamin Urrutia

One of our hard-copy subscribers, Robert Jordan, may hold the record for having been a vegetarian longest of any in our circle. He gave up eating flesh in 1926, when he was 16. Recently, having discovered at age 95 that dairy and eggs were not cruelty-free as he had thought, he became vegan. I think we can all agree that our world could use a lot more of that sort of open-heartedness.

If anyone can top this record, we'd love to hear about it.—

My Pilgrimage

My Vegetarian Journey

I was raised Quaker, so I grew up around pacifists and the principles of nonviolence. One repeated childhood memory for me, during the Vietnam War, was of the middle-aged people in the Quaker Meeting I grew up in fully supporting the young adults in the Meeting who were engaging in draft resistance, public statements of resistance against the War, and demonstrations sometimes involving civil disobedience. That complete absence of any generation gap on political issues of war and peace, right at the height of the great era of the generation gap, made a profound impression on me.

Sadly for me (and for farmed animals), the possibility of a vegetarian diet was never presented to me until I was 16 years old. On my sixteenth birthday, my father took me and two of my friends out to dinner at a fancy restaurant. After my friend Joan had ordered a baked potato and a salad, my father asked her, "Are you a vegetarian?" and she said, "Yes." So, I asked, "Why?" and she said, "Because I don't want to be killing animals." I immediately said, "Wow, I have to do that, too!" (I have seen Joan recently, and she is still a vegetarian today!)

Another unusual element of my background is that my mother (as well as my father) is a scientist, with a Ph.D. in biology. So, when I told her that I wanted to become a vegetarian, she immediately said, "Well, you'll have to combine beans plus grains to get a complete protein." I am aware that it was unusual for a non-vegetarian mother in the 1970s to immediately be able to offer such relevant, accurate information! — although it did also show an uninformed acceptance of the American myth of the need for excessive protein and a lack of awareness of the detrimental effects of protein overdoses.

So, I tried to become a vegetarian at age 16, but only lasted about two weeks. I tried again at age 17, but only lasted one week. At age 18, however, in the midst of dropping out of college during my first year to become a political activist (around issues of war and peace, human rights, and social justice), when I discovered that all of the political activists around me were vegetarians (all for reasons of morality and nonviolence), it suddenly became much easier to make a more lasting conversion. That time, after becoming a vegetarian at age 18, I lasted as a vegetarian for eight years — my "first round" as a vegetarian. This included a year while I was living and working in the Community for Creative Non-Violence (CCNV), an urban commune located in an African American ghetto in Washington, DC, devoted to pacifist, world hunger, and poor people's advocacy issues, as well as through the period when I went back to complete college, and for several years afterwards.

I did my undergraduate years at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, which has one of the top Food Science and Nutrition departments in the country, and I took a couple of food science courses while I was there. Interestingly, despite widespread American mythologies about nutrition, claiming that, "the information keeps changing," and, "it's hard to know what to believe," all of the basic information that I learned in those two courses has remained scientifically accepted and unchallenged across the quarter of a century since then! This included facts like, a vegetarian with a high fiber diet has a 0% chance of getting colon cancer; and, 70-80% of a human being's caloric intake should be in the form of carbohydrates. Even the bogus fad diets that recommend extreme overdoses of protein never claim that this is healthy or natural for human beings, nor do they undermine facts about nutrition that have been scientifically accepted for decades. And most of what I recall from my college nutrition courses supported the choice of a vegetarian diet. So, bravo to UMass, my alma mater!

About two years into those eight years of my "first round" as a vegetarian, I started wavering in my commitment, and found myself debating whether to abandon the vegetarianism. However, right at that time, I happened to be walking along a street in downtown Boston near some restaurants, one day, and a delivery truck drove up, parked, and started unloading wooden slatted crates jam-packed with live chickens, who were clucking away loudly in protest. Not only were they jam-packed in there, but the men unloading the truck were throwing the crates down onto the ground, so that the chickens were experiencing a nasty, cruel jarring jolt, probably incurring painful injuries, and they continued clucking loudly in protest. I immediately realized that there was no way I could stop being a vegetarian! Despite the difficulties and lack of support that I was experiencing in being a vegetarian, that revolting image of the men throwing crates full of captive chickens down onto the ground helped motivate me to remain a vegetarian for another six years.

A nice thing, about four years into the eight years of my "first round" as a vegetarian, was that I briefly had a boyfriend who worked as a manager at a tofu manufacturing company. He introduced me to tofu and tempeh and a variety of ways to cook them, primarily just sauteing them in a little vegetable oil with a bit of soy sauce or tamari sprinkled on top while sauteing sometimes adding other chopped vegetables. (I can't resist tempeh-tation!!) Earlier, during my CCNV political activist period, I had learned how to make all sorts of beans-plus-grains dishes, particularly things involving lentils, brown rice, and split peas, including my famous split pea soup with caraway seeds. As it happens, during my childhood I never learned to cook (beyond spaghetti, heating up frozen vegetables, flipping pancakes, and flipping burgers) — so, it's rather delightful, actually, that I learned to cook as a vegetarian, at the beginning of my adult years!

But I always found the lack of support for vegetarians in the late 1970s and early 1980s rather wearing — particularly, the sense of imposing on people and creating difficulties for them when visiting them in their home. So, after eight years as a vegetarian, at age 26 I stopped officially calling myself a vegetarian — although I mostly continued to cook and eat as a vegetarian, continuing with the use of tofu and tempeh, rice-and-lentil dishes, pea soup, etc. But I felt that I needed to take a little break from feeling as if I was inconveniencing people with my vegetarianism while getting no support for it.

Meanwhile, several years went by, and it took a while before I noticed that the numbers of vegetarians were gradually increasing, and this statistic was contributing to an overall dynamic of greater tolerance and support for vegetarians in our society as a whole. Then, in the fall of 1996, I happened to be living in Ithaca, NY while writing my Ph.D. dissertation on Jewish history for Binghamton University, and several factors converged and started "inviting me back" to vegetarianism. For one thing, Ithaca has been rated by Vegetarian Times as one of the most "vegetarian-friendly" towns in the United States. It has at least three health foods stores, at least three vegetarian restaurants (including the famous Moosewood restaurant), and, in the period when I was living there, at least three animal rights groups. Somehow, I found my way onto an e-mail list of CSETA (Cornell Students for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), and very quickly after my contact with them began, in the fall of 1996, I became a vegetarian again. (It didn't take much to sweep me back in!!) There were several very dynamic, eloquent, articulate members of CSETA, some of whom I never even met in person, who made a lasting impression on me. I then met members of the non-academic animal rights group in Ithaca, HEART (Humans, Environment, and Animals Relating Together), and participated in some demonstrations with them. I also joined a group in Ithaca called the Vegetarian Supper Club, which met once a month on a Sunday evening for a potluck supper together, each person bringing a vegan dish, which would begin by going around the circle with each person describing his or her dish and listing what ingredients had gone into it. I attended the Vegetarian Supper Club for several years, until I left Ithaca in 2001.

But back to the fall of 1996, when I first returned to vegetarianism: On my previous "round" as a vegetarian (the eight years), I had been a vegetarian but not a vegan. That is, I had refrained from eating any animal flesh, but had not yet arrived at a full understanding of why there are equally compelling moral reasons to refrain from eating animal products — which also involve killing, also involve slavery, and also involve unspeakable cruelties being committed on a massive scale every day (but I'm getting ahead of myself here, because I didn't understand that yet). A few months later, in February 1997, a young woman from the London office of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) came to speak in Ithaca on the animal rights issue. She was incredibly articulate, well-organized, voluminous in her provision of relevant information and evidence, and compelling in her overall presentation.

She ended her talk with one major thought, and one respectful recommendation. She had presented material on many different sorts of animal rights violations, ranging from the viciously cruel leg traps used by animal trappers, to the ceaseless cruelty toward the enslaved animals in circuses, to the horrors of animal experimentation (which, on top of its horrifying cruelties, often leads to false conclusions about human beings and thereby delays scientific advances in health care). However, most of her presentation focused on the industry of animal slavery and exploitation to produce animal flesh and animal products to be consumed by human beings as food (that is, the slaughterhouses and the factory farms), and she concluded by pointing out that the vast majority of cruelty toward animals and suffering of animals in this country takes place in the farmed animal industry. So, she respectfully suggested, at the end of the evening, "I would like to encourage anyone here tonight who is not a vegetarian to consider becoming one, and anyone here tonight who already is a vegetarian to consider becoming a vegan."

At the end of her presentation, I approached her to ask her a question that had been troubling me for some time. I said, "I've been wondering for a long time, when they create these huge populations of female cows to produce milk, and these huge populations of female chickens to produce eggs, what happens to the other 50% of those animals who were born male?" And she replied that the male chicks (who are not considered to be the "right kind" for chicken flesh production) are killed shortly after they've hatched — they're either gassed or suffocated or thrown in dumpsters to die of crushing or starvation and exposure. And the male calves of the "milk-producing" designated types of cows are the ones who become the veal calves, who suffer the horrible short lives of agonizing constriction in tiny cages, about which we've been hearing for over thirty years (incredibly, the exact same cruelty is still being committed thirty years later). That is the reason for the expression, "the milk-veal connection". Thus, any claim that consuming the products of female cows or female chickens "doesn't involve killing" gets completely demolished by these two facts. So, I immediately became a vegan, after attending this PETA presentation in February 1997.

I have since become increasingly conscious of just how unnatural it is for adult mammals like ourselves, and also children who have been weaned from their mother's milk, to continue drinking infant formula — and downright disgusting, when you think about it, to be drinking the infant formula of a different species! — aside from the most important moral consideration, the torturous suffering of the mother cow and baby calf during their premature forced separation, as well as the other cruelties they're subjected to — the female cow being kept in a state of perpetual pregnancy, then forcibly separated from her babies again and again so that her babies' milk can be stolen by the members of a different species, plus the sufferings of the veal calves, etc. I have also since learned how "milk" cows are bred to have their udders produce sometimes up to ten times as much milk as their udders are naturally supposed to contain, so much so that cows' udders will often end up dragging on the ground! I want to be very clear and consistent in my commitment not to give any economic support to this massive organized cruelty. In addition, the moral-philosophical-political implications of "dairy" and "egg" industry products being derived from the exploitation of the reproductive organs of female animals also compel serious consideration.

Three years ago, in September 2002, as a result of a new job I moved to the Pasadena, California area, where I joined the Animal Kinship Committee, an ad hoc committee of the Orange Grove Friends Meeting in Pasadena. Although the link between the principles of nonviolence in the Quaker Meeting in which I was raised and my later automatic affinity, passion, and compassion for animals, was most certainly operating in my vegetarian journey throughout my life, this was the first group that helped me consciously to articulate this link! The AKC has also been wonderful as a mutual support group for our vegetarianism, as well as engaging in various "outings" to visit people with vegetarian pets, such as rabbits and pigs, to learn more about having those kinds of companion animals, participating in the Walk for Farm Animals (a benefit for Farm Sanctuary), offering vegetarian cooking classes for other members of the Orange Grove Friends Meeting, attending animal rights conferences, etc.

An interesting analogy has arisen, for me and some other members of the AKC, these last few years, between the Quaker relationship with the anti-slavery movement 150 to 200 years ago and the Quaker relationship with the vegetarian animal rights movement today. During my childhood, I was taught that in the earliest days of the abolitionist movement, not all Quakers opposed slavery, and many European American Quakers actually "owned" African American slaves. Although the Quakers as a whole were further advanced than the members of most other religious denominations in moving toward opposing slavery, there were great internal struggles among the Quakers over this issue before all Quakers eventually embraced abolitionism completely. Because the Religious Society of Friends was explicitly pacifist and against violence from its inception, and because it has always tended to be on the cutting edge of political issues in general, there are many reasons why it is natural and logical for Quakers again to be further advanced than the members of many other religious denominations in embracing the vegetarian animal rights commitment. And yet there is much intense internal struggle among the Quakers over this issue — similar to that internal Quaker struggle of 150 to 200 years ago. Although this is frustrating and excruciatingly sad for some of us, it does have the intriguing element of enabling us to get a sort of "insider's view" or eyewitness perspective, even a participatory experience, of what it might have been like to be there during that other historical struggle, a couple of centuries ago! Not all abolitionists lived to see the emancipation of the enslaved people — but it was extremely important that they continued to take their stand and build their movement, every step of the way.

Within the past 13 months, I have had three particularly powerful experiences pertaining to the animals whose species have become the farmed animals. Two experiences were negative and wrenching, but hopefully motivational, and took place during a transcontinental drive that I took in August 2004. The other experience was positive and inspirational, and took place this past February 2005. In August 2004, as I drove across the country, in Colorado just east of the Rocky Mountain National Park, I found myself driving past miles and miles and miles of an Auschwitz-like installation, involving the "feedlots" filled with cows exuding a devastating aura of hopelessness and despair. (And, as a scholar of Jewish history, I can assure you that I have visited Auschwitz — as well as Dachau, Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen, and the Warsaw ghetto location — so, when I say that these "feedlots" evoked Auschwitz to me, I am not speaking abstractly.) The second wrenching event on that drive across the country took place at a truck stop in Iowa, where a transport truck, a semi truck jam-packed with pigs on two different levels, was parked. As I walked across the parking lot to enter the restaurant, these pigs were literally screaming and screaming and screaming, I can only imagine primarily from thirst, but probably also from painful injuries suffered in the transport process, hunger, heat, crowding, disorientation, separation from companions, terror, and other agonizing feelings that we who have not experienced it cannot begin to imagine. As I approached the restaurant, a man came out the door who said, "Wow, those pigs seem really unhappy," to which I replied, "Yes, well, I'm a vegetarian for animal rights reasons — I don't know what more I can do!" I hoped, of course, to have some influence on his dietary choices, but that didn't lessen the torturous emotional anguish of that moment.

I wanted those two wrenching negative experiences to become motivational to me, and, despite financial difficulties, a few months later I increased my number of memberships in nation-wide animal rights groups from two to seven organizations, as well as of course continuing my involvement with my local group. The positive experience, of this past February 2005, was a visit to the California location of Farm Sanctuary, where rescued animals from the farmed species have a place to live out the rest of their lives (neutered) in safety and with good care. I found this visit a surprisingly moving experience. I had not been fully aware, previously, of the underlying anxiety and depression that must permeate and visibly exude from the bodies and minds of most farmed animals, but the contrast that I observed at Farm Sanctuary was positively striking, as the relaxed, peaceful, contented animals there exuded a tremendously different aura of genuine happiness — especially the cows, a species that I as a childhood "horse nut" had always felt an affinity with. So, this was deeply moving to me, and inspirational. I was particularly impressed by the pigs, a species that I had never previously connected with much, as they stretched out their long bodies in a delightfully cat-like manner, lying on top of a giant thick bed of pristine clean straw! The Farm Sanctuary employees seemed to have a special enthusiasm for the pigs, and now I understand that better. I did already know that pigs are as intelligent and meaningfully interactive as dogs, but now I decided that I must become more closely acquainted with pigs in the future. (I hope eventually to become one of the vegetarian "placement" households, who adopt a couple of cows or pigs or other species when Farm Sanctuary receives too many animals to care for themselves and must find safe vegetarian homes for them.)

About a year ago, I wanted to adopt a companion dog for my dog, but I made myself wait until after I converted my dog to vegetarian dog food. As soon as that conversion was clearly successful, I went ahead and adopted a same-species companion for my dog (one of the most successful gifts of love that I've ever given). They both now eat the vegetarian dog food, and enjoy it as much as any other food. The store-bought vegetarian dog food unfortunately is very expensive, but I'm trying to contribute to increasing the demand for it, and by extension to economies of scale (the way in which cost per unit goes down when producers can make larger quantities). I also try to think of it as a very important charitable contribution — albeit a pricey one. Occasionally, I also try to make a modified version of the recipes in the book, Vegetarian Dogs, by Verona re-Bow and Jonathan Dune (Halcyon, CA: LiveArt, 1998).

So, now, on the "second (and permanent!) round" of being a vegetarian, I have already surpassed the eight years of the "first round" — having been not only a vegetarian but also a vegan for over eight years! I can't tell you how much I love being a vegan. I love the fact that I am contributing NO economic support to the animal flesh and animal slavery industries and their inherent, everyday cruelties (not to mention the over-the-top extreme cruelties committed against the veal calves and the KFC chickens). I love how easy it is to be a vegan. I love how "clean" all of my food feels, and how it's virtually impossible to get food poisoning from plant-derived foods (at least when prepared in a plant-foods-only kitchen). I love eating the correct type of food for my vegetarian-animal teeth and my vegetarian-animal digestive system. I love the fact that I can be a vegan for moral reasons pertaining to animal rights and animal kinship, yet simultaneously, with no extra effort and no separate action, I get the three extra "cherries on top": I am helping fight world hunger (by not consuming the eight times as much vegetable protein that it takes to produce animal flesh protein), helping to save the environment (by not contributing to the animal flesh industry's depletion of the water table, nor to the animal flesh industry's production of more than 50% of our country's solid waste), and I am making myself more healthy (by avoiding heart disease, cancer, and the bone fractures made more likely by protein overdoses). I love the fact that, in being a vegan, I can engage in major, monumentally important political activism, three times a day, making the world a significantly better place, yet in a period of my life when I have no extra time or energy to devote to political activism! There are no ifs or ands or buts about it — being a vegan is positively heaven!

So, to end on an upbeat tone: BOYCOTT SLAUGHTERHOUSES!! Let's beat our swords into plowshares. Let's beat the swords of the slaughterhouses into the plowshares for growing plant-based food. To draw again from the Jewish tradition: Save a life, and you will save the world. Destroy a life, and you will destroy the world.

—Virginia Iris Holmes

Pioneers: Anna Bonus Kingsford

Anna Bonus Kingsford was born in 1846, the youngest of a large and prosperous London family. She early showed an intense love of beauty, and precocious gifts for poetry, fiction, and drawing; a novella she wrote was published when she was only thirteen. Some of this creative work appears to have been automatically produced, flowing out unretouched like Mozart’s music.

She also had frequent visions, sometimes of purported spirits of the deceased, some giving insights into the living, some predicting future events. Her parents did not welcome these manifestations of an “overexcited brain,” and would send her to a physician who attempted painful and dangerous “cures.” When her precognitions of impending deaths were fulfilled, she would be blamed for the outcome. Unsurprisingly, she soon learned to keep her visions to herself.

Although she suffered often from poor health, including bouts of asthma and neuralgia, for a time around age 20 she took great pleasure in fox-hunting, a practice she remembered with horror. “I not only loved the wild excitement of the gallop and the chase, but I delighted to be in at the death. I seemed to find a savage joy in seeing the dogs fasten on the fox and tear [him] to pieces . . . as though my moral nature was completely in abeyance. But suddenly one day, while riding home after a ‘splendid run and finish,’ as it is called, something in me asked me how I should like to be served so myself, and set me to looking at the matter from the point of view of the hunted creature, making me vividly to realise its wild terror and breathless distress all the time it is being pursued, and the ghastly horror of its capture and death. . . . What right have I, I asked myself, thus to ill-treat a creature simply because it has a form which differs from my own? Rather, if I am the superior, do its weakness and helplessness entitle it to my pity and protection than justify me in seeking my own gratification at its expense. And as for its lower position on the ladder of evolution, if there be evolution in one thing there must in another—if in the physical, then in the moral—so that for a man to act thus is to renounce his moral gains and abdicate his moral superiority. Of course that was the end of my hunting, and thenceforth I and my steed took our gallops by ourselves . . . (Maitland, V. 1, pp. 9-10)

While still in her teens Anna became active for the liberation of women, collecting signatures for a petition for the protection of married women’s property. When she married her cousin Algernon Kingsford at age 21 (by which time she had become financially independent), he agreed to her insistence that he not restrict her in any sort of activity to which she might in the future feel called. Not long after the marriage she purchased and became editor off a weekly journal called The Lady’s Own Paper: A Journal of Progress Taste, and Art, in whose pages she expressed her ideas about female nature, ideas which underlay the reforms she perceived as so urgently needed. As her powers with the written word became known, feminist members of parliament engaged her to write speeches for them.

The journal quickly attracted some of the leading feminist thinkers of the 1860s. One of these, Frances Power Cobbe, responded to a brief paragraph about vivisection. She aroused in Anna a deep concern for this issue, which was to engage Anna’s energies throughout much of her life.

In this controversy, Anna's remarkable beauty—deepset hazel eyes, masses of golden hair, flawless features—became an asset. Opponents were wont to argue that women who demanded rights for women or animals (from public platforms, yet!) only engaged in such unladylike actions because they were homely, frustrated old maids. Brilliant ad hominem arguments of this sort could not well be aimed at Mrs. Kingsford.

Despite her skill as a speaker and writer, Anna felt after a time that activism was not her primary calling. She wanted to gain a fuller understanding of the physiological basis of vegetarianism, and therefore sought a medical education. Since no medical school in England would admit women, in 1874 she applied to and was accepted by the University of Paris. Unable to leave his parish duties to accompany her during her time in Paris, her devoted husband asked Edward Maitland, a friend of both, to escort and watch over her there, an office the equally devoted Maitland carried out unimpeachably. Her Paris years were highly stressful. Though admitted, women were far from welcome, and she had to endure abuse from both students and professors. Her refusal to engage in vivisection created further obstacles, as did the anguish of listening to the screams of tortured animals in the laboratory. It is no wonder that she suffered bouts of serious illness that interrupted her education. Eventually, however, she took her MD in 1880. Her dissertation, De l'alimentation vegetale chez l'homme, was published in English as The Perfect Way in Diet.

Practicing as a physician, particularly successful with women patients, Anna resumed her animal activism, publishing several essays on vivisection and vegetarianism. She also co-authered with Maitland a book on esoteric concepts from Greek and Egyptian mythology. But her career was to be short. Seven years after taking her degree, while vising Pasteur's laboratory, she she contracted a cold which developed into tuberculosis. A stay on the Riviera was not helpful, and she died in England in 1888.

—Gracia Fay Ellwood


Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born.
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight:
Some are born to endless night.

—William Blake

If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking...

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

—Emily Dickinson

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 November issue will be October 31, 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