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 nonviolent diet

The Animals and the Angels, Part II


The editorial in the April '06 issue of PT commented on William Blake's poem "Night," in which the narrator describes angels walking through the fields at night, caring for the sleeping animals. The angels weep when any are killed by predators, and carry the souls of the victims to the Peaceable Kingdom, in which the sheepfold is guarded by a compassionate Lion.

Philosophical Background

This narrative, which is likely to be seen by many as sheer fantasy, has implications for the nature of reality that are worth examining. The confident assurance of many educated people in our culture that death is extinction of consciousness is not, as they assume, a scientific finding. It is a cultural belief, part of a materialistic worldview that evolved out of the philosophical ferment in the seventeenth century during the birth of science. The dualism associated with Descartes that separated mind and matter as two different realities was adopted not only by scientists throwing off the rule of religious authorities, but by religious thinkers who actually intended thus to safeguard the reality of God and the immortal human soul, which was under challenge at that time. But in the next centuries, this plan backfired, because it is hard to imagine how two totally different realities can interact at all. Thus the soul--or consciousness--came to be seen as a mere byproduct of the brain, or even nothing but the brain. In any case, it implies that consciousness is extinguished by death.

There are serious problems with materialism which philosophers are increasingly recognizing. There are mountains of evidence of different kinds that it cannot accommodate. Of particular interest to us is evidence (not proof) that human consciousness survives the body's death. This evidence is of various kinds, including veridical (truth-telling, evidential) instances of apparitions, reincarnation-type claims (especially by small children), mediumistic communicators showing initiative, and Near-Death experiences (NDEs). The whole issue is extremely complex (see my 2001 book The Uttermost Deep: The Challenge of Near-Death Experiences); I can hardly do more here than provide a very rough sketch with a few examples.

Near-Death Experiences

Of the different types of evidence of life after death, NDEs come closest to the pivotal action in Blake's poem, the angels' conveying the animals' souls to paradise. Remarkably, one of the pioneers of NDE studies was Frances Power Cobbe, also a pioneer of animal defense, featured in our February '06 PT. In the title essay of her book The Peak in Darien, Cobbe presents several cases she collected which, as she concludes, strongly suggest that the death of a human being is not extinction but expansion of consciousness. For example, in one account, "At the last moment so bright a light seemed suddenly to shine from the face of the dying man, that the clergyman and another friend who were attending him actually turned simultaneously to the window to seek for the cause (pp. 296-97)." Such a perception of an awe-inspiring supernal light has been reported by many persons, mostly unfamiliar with the pattern, who came close to death and returned; only rarely, however, do bystanders also see it. In many cases the light is felt to be alive and intensely loving, but some experiencers find it distressing and seek to evade it. In Blake's poem, supernatural light is suggested by the gold tears and bright mane of the lion, and the "immortal day" of the new world.

In another case from Cobbe's collection, involving a spiritual welcoming party akin to Blake's angels, a dying woman in joyful surprise told of seeing by her bedside her three deceased brothers, then described a fourth thought to be alive in India. This "excited such awe and horror in the mind of one of the persons present, that she rushed from the room." In time the news came that the brother had in fact died before this date (p. 297). (This kind of case, in which a welcomer not known to be deceased appears to a dying person, is now known as a "peak in Darien" case.) In popular literature, angels, both as guardians and welcomers, tended to be conflated with the spirits of the beloved deceased.

In a a few rare cases, bystanders have also seen welcomers; for example, from the files of the Society for Psychical Research comes the nineteenth-century case of a dying Harriet Pearson who told of seeing her beloved deceased sister Ann. But before Harriet perceived the figure of her sister, no fewer than three of her caretakers, then in other parts of the house, saw an apparition of Ann Pearson, in her distinctively old-fashioned cap and shawl, walking towards Harrier's room. (Myers, Human Personality, Vol. 2, pp. 333-34)

Unlike the above, most NDE cases are not (potentially) evidential, but many are impressive nonetheless because they include themes common to other NDEs, and to afterlife concepts prevalent in cultures distant in time or space, themes which the experiencers neither knew of nor expected. Another notable factor is their evident power in many cases to lead to extensive and often liberating changes, including psychic gifts, in the subsequent lives of the experiencers.


There is another important case of a deathbed attendant seeing an apparent welcomer, a case much stronger than any of those cited above, because a record of it was made by the experiencer very shortly after it took place. (As a pioneer, Cobbe was unaware of the principles, developed later, of careful recording and second-party attestation of psychic events.) In this account a nurse, Mary Wilson, was sitting up at night attending a dying Mrs. Rogers. The patient had spoken of her eagerness to see her (deceased) husband Mr. Rogers and her children again, which made Nurse Wilson rather nervous. At about 2:30 A.M. Mrs. Wilson happened to glance toward the door of the room, and she saw standing there a redbearded, florid-faced man who looked first at her, then at the unconscious Mrs. Rogers. At first she thought he was a living man, but his motionlessness soon made him seem uncanny. When the nurse looked away momentarily, then looked back, the apparition had disappeared. A search turned up no such person in the house. Inquiries the next morning from Mrs. Rogers' niece produced the information that the apparition did not at all resemble Mr. Rogers, but looked exactly like the patient's first husband, Mr. Tisdale, 35 years deceased. Mr. Tisdale was completely unknown to the nurse and to any other persons in the vicinity.

This case is particularly significant not only because it is evidential, but because the percipient was clearly uncomfortable with the idea of contact with the dead, knew nothing of the distinctive-looking Mr. Tisdale, and had no motivation for unconscious creation of such a figure, as Mrs. Rogers herself might have had. The case strongly suggests that, at least in some instances, deathbed welcomers are more than images that might be projected by dying persons hoping for reunion with loved ones.

Apparitions are one category of experience suggesting human survival. There are others: a sense of presence, voices, footsteps, electronic phenomena such as lights inexplicably going on or off at significant times, characteristic scents (perfume, tobacco), shared dreams. Surveys show that a great many bereaved persons, especially spouses and parents, have such experiences, but most keep quiet about them. Many cases are not evidential, but in a small percentage of them, when two or more persons experience such an unexplained phenomenon at the same time, the impact is increased, and it becomes less likely that the explanation is wish-fulfillment on the part of the bereaved.

Animal Survival?

So much--or so little rather--about human experiences that suggest human survival of death. But how about animals? There are a number of collections of cases of this kind, and it is significant that they are quite similar to the categories of accounts suggesting human survival: apparitions, a sense of presence, characteristic sounds (barks, miaows, jingling tags, jumping or padding feet), unexplained familiar scents, vivid and coherent dreams of the deceased. Some (including dreams) are experienced by more than one person at once. Most have to do with animal companions, but on rare occasions, apparitions of wild animals have been seen as well.

As in human cases, many such experiences, though comforting to the bereaved, are not evidential. But they do not all happen to bereaved caretakers. Author Kim Sheridan tells of a case in which the apparition of a deceased dog, a white toy poodle named Skila, was seen by a chiropractor who had several times given her a spinal adjustment at the request of her guardian Barbara Myers. The chiropractor knew Skila very well; she had more than once come down the hallway of his office to greet him, and had enthusiastically jumped into his arms after the adjustment, perhaps to thank him for relieving her back pain. But not only was the chiropractor (like the nurse Mary Wilson) not hoping for such an apparition, he had been firmly convinced that all such claims were nonsense generated by grieving guardians. He called Myers in great agitation, very fearful that he was hallucinating and losing his mind. They discussed the matter several times, and she was able to reassure him, so that when he saw Skila's apparition a second time several days later, he was able to deal with it. The experience led to a major change in his life in regard to his attitude toward animals, with the result that the man who had been uninterested in keeping an animal companion adopted a dog himself. The case is suggestive. (Kim Sheridan, Animals and the Afterlife, pp. 170-72).

The question of whether angels come as welcomers to dying animals is, of course, going to remain very hard to settle one way or the other. But the idea is worth taking seriously. These few comments can hardly do more than encourage readers to question received notions and perhaps look into the evidence fo themselves. But if in fact the more highly evolved animals do survive death, the implications for ethics are important. I will explore this topic in the June issue.

—Gracia Fay Ellwood

We invite responses to editorials or any other feature of PT for our next issue's letter column:

News Notes

Factory Farms and Avian 'Flu

A substantial number of organizations and individuals are pointing to factory farms, with their crowded and unsanitary conditions, and their practices of including animal litter and rendered animal bodies in chicken feed, as the primary source of the threatened avian 'flu pandemic. One example of such finger-pointing organizations is the WorldWatch Institute, which issued a report to that effect, citing also the alarming international spread of agribusiness operations, and the ecological disasters that it fosters: Meanwhile, it is reported that certain parties in U.S. agribusiness and U.S. Government are profiting handsomely from the 'flu scare. Tyson Foods, ConAgra and others of their ilk are issuing propaganda to the effect that their chickens are "safe" because they are kept indoors! Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, a major stockholder in Gilead Sciences/Roche Inc., is doing well out of booming sales of the drug Tamiflu, of uncertain benefit against avian 'flu, but certainly promoted by the governments of Bush and Blair. See ______www.globalresearch.ca_____.

Chicago Bans Foie Gras on Menus

An ordinance banning the sale of foie gras in Chicago restaurants was passed in the city council 49-0 in April 2006. "Our city is better for taking a stance against the cruelty of foie gras," said alderman Joe Moore, who sponsored the bill.

The impressive unanimity of the vote does not, however, mean that there was no resistance to the passage of the proposed ordinance. Mayor Richard Daley trotted out the familiar "people-first" argument: "We have children getting killed by drug dealers . . . . And we're dealing with foie gras?" In other words: after all human problems are solved--that is, never--it will be valid to take action on behalf of abused animals.

In 2005, California became the first state to outlaw the production of foie gras, but with a long "grace" period for the state's only such "farm." Other states are considering similar actions. Israel banned it in 2003. A film by PETA showing grisly scenes of tightly caged, dying and dead birds has had a significant educational effect.

Review: Curious George

Curious George. Animated film by Universal Pictures. Starring Frank Welker as George, Will Ferrell as Ted ("The Man in the Yellow Hat"), Drew Barrymore as Maggie, Dick Van Dyke as Mr. Bloomsberry, Eugene Levy as Clovis. Based on the books by H. A. Rey and Margret Rey. 2006. Rated G.

Jane Goodall likes to introduce African children and orphaned chimpanzees to each other, knowing that this will make the human children less likely to eat the "bush meat" of their furry cousins. One wishes every African child could see this movie. Curious George (called a "monkey" in the books and in the film, but really an infant chimpanzee) is so charming and appealing that no one who makes his acquaintance will want to eat such a being. He is an orphan, too--a motherless youngster living alone in the West African rainforest. We do not know how he became an orphan, and we do not really want to know, as the story must be heartbreaking. He is very intelligent, able to swim and paint much better than your average chimp, and he knows that he really needs a parent or two. So when Ted appears (the film gives him, at last, a name, and explains how he was tricked into wearing yellow), George decides to adopt him.

Ted is not looking for primates, but for a major archaeological piece that he wants to display in the museum he works for. He fails to find this treasure because the museum director's treacherous son has sabotaged him. However, little George finds Ted, and follows him across the Atlantic with perseverance as unfailing as his curiosity and creativity. Shenanigans galore and slapstick ensue, all in old-fashioned inks and paints, and rated G. This movie is a paean to innocence, harrowing (in the Christian-mythological sense) the cruel and jaded twenty-first century.

Recommended for children, child-friendly parents, and any grownup still able to turn and become like a little child.

--Benjamin Urrutia

Review: The Wild

The Wild. Produced by Clint Goldman, starring Kiefer Sutherland, Greg Cipes, and William Shatner. Walt Disney Pictures, 2006. Rated G.

Too many viewers, including some who should know better, claim that this film is a plagiarized and recycled version of Madagascar. That, however, is impossible, since it takes years to produce a movie, and computerized animated films even longer than live-action ones. The Wild was in fact begun before Madagascar was. Nevertheless, by unfortunate coincidence, the similarities are at first so thick that one definitely gets a drowsy sense of deja-vu. Again we have a group of animals living, mostly happpily, in a New York zoo, within whose cofines they move freely when the park is closed for the night and the humans have left. One animal (this time it"s Ryan, the lion club, played by Greg Cipes) is less happy than the others, and makes a half-hearted attempt to escape to the wild. This is more successful than he intends, and soon a small group of four-footed friends find themselves stranded in a dangerous wilderness.

However, as the story progresses, the film becomes more and more different from Madagascar. Ryan ran away from the zoo because he felt too much overshadowed by his legendary sire, Samson the Wild Lion.


But Ryan does not know that his father is concealing a deep, dark secret--Samson was not born in the wild, but in captivity. To be specific, in a circus, one that exploited and humiliated him--in a childhood worse even than that of poor Dumbo--until it shipped him off to the zoo. He's all roar and no guts. He does not have enough aggressive instincts to fight off a poodle or eat a hyrax (a small rabbit-like hoofed mammal, and the first such I've ever seen animated). How can this pathetic creature rescue his son?

It gets worse. Both lions, and their friends, fall into the hands, or rather hooves and horns, of a herd of gnus who have started a cargo cult. The leader of the cult, Kazar (played by William Shatner channelling Darth Vader) was saved from being the victim of three lionesses by the fall from the sky (a la The Gods Must Be Crazy) of a talking toy koala modeled after Nigel, one of the group of zoo runaways. Inspired by this deliverance from on high, Kazar has started a new gnu religion, of which the central premise is that gnus must rise to the top of the food chain by eating lions.

Gnus turning carnivorous? Impossible, surely! Alas, it is not; the ancestors of humans apparently did the same thing perhaps a million years ago, going from harmless herbivores to scavengers to the fiercest of predators (and still making themselves sick on their inappropriate fare). Chimpanzees may be doing the same thing today. So Kazar's plan could, in theory, work--but any religion that centers on and promotes meat-eating, declares this story, must be an evil cult . . . . A message we who dine at the Peaceable Table can live with!

However, the central theme of the story is not really the meat-eating vs. vegetarian conflict, but the father-son relationship. It is a weird but wonderful development that the two lions, father and son, bond together and create a great relationship--not by eating a gnu but by saving each other from getting eaten by a wildebeest. Not very realistic, perhaps, but quite delightful . . . .

—Benjamin Urrutia

Review: Are Animals Our Neighbors? Taking the View from Below

By Gracia Fay Ellwood. 2005, 2006.

This attractive sixteen-page pamphlet is based on an article which appeared in the April 2005 issue of Friends Journal, now revised for a general audience of people of faith. The unpleasant realities of factory farming it describes are depressingly familiar, but this piece strikes fresh ground in what is implied by the subtitle. It invites (indeed, almost compels) the reader to "take the view from below." What does this mean? We know that in relating to slaves or other exploited and abused human beings, it is not enough simply to see them as objects of mercy. If one is really to understand and so rightly to rectify (or begin to rectify) their situation, one must have the courage also to identify with them, to imagine oneself in their place. In the same way, we are asked not merely to see animals as inferior beings who need kindness, important as kindness is, but as thinking and feeling creatures, clearly capable of love as well as suffering, beings to whom we owe nothing less than justice. Gracia Fay Ellwood shows how this brave endeavor can bring deep joy and great pain, but is necessary to any experience of the wholeness of life. She points out that this stance is actually mandated by a significant minor theme in the three major Western religions, giving particular examples of pioneering thinkers in Christianity and is Judaism, from whose central theme of Exodus from slavery comes the tradition of divine empathy and compassion for the oppressed.

I hope many will let this booklet speak to them, and will make it available to still others. The illustrations, mostly from Farm Sanctuary, are marvelous. It is available from the author (to whom, by way of full disclosure, I happen to be married) at or 10 Krotona Hill, Ojai, CA 93023. Suggested donation, $2.00 for one copy, $1.00 for each additional copy.

--Robert Ellwood


"Men dig their graves with their own teeth, and die moreby those instruments than by all the weapons of their enemies. "

-- Attributed to Pythagoras

Food for Thought: Thought for Food
Suggested Queries for Meetings and Individuals

Two phrases often heard are: "We must eat to survive," and "Let our lives speak."

Throughout our lives we impact others. We love, we feel compassion, we make conscious decisions, we practice religions. In free societies we choose which religion or religions to practice. As Quakers we choose to seek and express our faith through putting our Testimonies to the test in our daily lives. We develop queries to probe how faithful in practice to our testimonies we are. Yet, do we full-heartedly seek Truth in arriving at our responses to the queries? Or do we, too often, foolhardily maintain self-centered comfort? Considering how brief is our time on this planet, I would hope that we as a species, and particularly as people of faith, could work towards harmony rather than thoughtlessly continue in patterns of violence to other living beings. Although we cannot change the thinking and actions of a society, or for that matter the world, by expressing a commitment to justice, we can start with ourselves and strive for the ripple effect to bring about everlasting change.

I suggest these queries for our testimony of Peace and Nonviolence in daily living:

1) How do we embrace peace/peaceful living in our daily interactions with all beings?
2) How do we choose our words carefully and express kindness even in difficult circumstances?
3) How well do we understand the commercial processes that bring animals to slaughter and ultimately to breakfast, lunch, and dinner plates?
4) What are we doing to stop the horror or factory farms?
5) How do we teach children about peace and nonviolence in all relationships regardless of species?
6) How do we talk with children about how some animals become food?

The following may help bring clarity to our choices. In applying the Peace/Nonviolence Testimony as related to food choices, I suggest the following for consideration:

1) It is true that we must eat to survive; however, it is not necessary to kill sentient beings -- to shed blood -- in order to eat. Why would we choose to kill when it is not necessary?

2) "Let our lives speak" is well known and practiced among Friends. What do our lives say when we choose nonviolent food options that promote not only human health but the health of the planet? What do our lives say when we, unthinkingly or deliberately, choose foods derived from violent and de facto torture?

Living a peaceful live encompasses many facets. Examining our choices of food may at first glance seem somewhat trivial compared to working to stop war or to eliminate human suffering. Yet peace begins at home; our basic behaviors have great impact and repercussions on other humans, on animals, and on the earth. Living peacefully and eating a nonviolent diet will no doubt affect the world in a positive manner. Starting with one's self is a first step toward bringing an all-embracing peace.

Most vegans do not become such overnight. Listening and learning are two tools to facilitate the journey towards a compassionate and peaceful life. Once we are aware of the atrocities of factory farming and realize that all farmed animals suffer under human enslavement, that they naturally want to have their basic needs met, the responsibility is upon the Friend or other person of faith to let his/her life speak. The journey may be long, but there are many on the path to extend love and compassion to all.

-- Angela Suarez

Note: I encourage F/friends to read (or re-read) the December 2005/January 2006 issue of PT, "Odds & Ends" column about HIPPO (Help International Plant Protein Organization). HIPPO helps disadvantaged people use the planet's resources to promote well-being of humans, the planet, and animals, by turning away from animal slaughter and toward a plant-based diet. This is an important project to help restore land, clean water, forests, and human health in African countries, Romania, and Croatia.


Crostini al Mare (Seafood Toast)
serves 6

1/2 lb. organic tofu, extra firm
1/2 - 3/4 t. powdered kelp
1 T. dulse flakes
1/4 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread, cut into pieces
1 T. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 T. chopped yellow onion
2 tsp. fresh squeezed organic lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
12 slices country bread or baguette

Preheat oven 350° F
In medium size bowl, crumble tofu and mix with powdered kelp, dulse flakes, Earth Balance, parsley, onion, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
Toast slices of bread in oven until golden -- about 5 minutes on each side. Remove toast, and while still hot, spread with the tofu mixture. Arrange on a platter and serve.

These are a delicious seafood crostini that can be enjoyed with a salad for a light lunch or as an appetizer to a dinner with friends. I recently made this recipe with my cooking group, Cooking with Friends, at Pittsburgh Meeting house. It was a success there; it is also a favorite of my husband and best friends. The bits of Earth Balance buttery spread are rich and delicious. Enjoy!

Coffee Scented Spice Cookies
makes 3-4 dozen cookies

2 cups organic unbleached flour
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. sea salt
3/4 cup evaporated cane juice (organic sugar)
1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery spread (1 stick)
2 T. soy milk, vanilla flavor
1 T. molasses
3 T. freshly brewed dark coffee, cooled to room temperature

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, spices, soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, mix Earth Balance and organic sugar until light and fluffy. Add soy milk, molasses, and coffee; mix to blend well. Stir in flour mixture to form a dough. Divide dough in half; wrap in waxed paper. Store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven 350°F
Lightly flour the work surface. Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness; cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Bake about 8 minutes. Remove from baking sheets and cool on racks.
These are a wonderful "grown up" cookie to serve with afternoon coffee.

Carob Peanut Butter Cookies for Companion Animals

makes 3-4 dozen, depending on size of cookie cutter shapes

2 cups organic whole wheat flour
1/4 cup organic carob powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. nutritional yeast
3 T. organic natural peanut butter, no salt added
1 T. safflower oil
1 T. molasses
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 cup spring water, plus additional water if dough remains too stiff

Preheat oven 350°F

In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients; set aside. In another bowl or 4-cup glass measuring cup, whisk together peanut butter, safflower oil, molasses, soy milk, and water. Pour into dry ingredients and stir well with a wooden spoon to form a soft dough. Dough may be wrapped in plastic or waxed paper and stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Lightly flour a work surface, roll out dough to desired thickness, and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Place on nonstick cookie sheet (or a well oiled baking sheet). Bake 15-30 minutes, depending on desired crispness. Place on cooling racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Best if stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Just thaw a few each day to give as a treat.

These are a yummy treat for companion dogs (and possibly for cats who are willing to taste home-baked treats).

-- Angela Suarez

My Pilgrimage

A Difficult Road

When I was growing up in Iowa, in town, my family had dogs, and once two baby chickens. One time when I was playing with the chickens, I accidentally broke the frail neck of one of them. I was horrified, afraid, and felt terrible guilt and shame. I blamed the chick's death on the dog. Mom took the news in stride, but I was wondering what she would think if she only knew that her young son had committed murder …

The chicks had come from a family raising "fryer" hens in their back yard. When the chickens were big enough to get fried, several families in the neighborhood assembled in the yard. The killing was begun by the boys (including me) going into the cage, putting a chicken head underfoot, and pulling the feet until the head tore off. The headless chickens were then handed to the women, who put them into big tubs of hot water. The bodies were "cleaned," and the men cut up some of them and cooked them. Everyone ate. I don't remember eating any chicken that day. Although I murdered a few of the chickens along with the other boys, I looked around at the glee of everyone involved, and felt afraid. I wanted no part of the gruesome ordeal any more.

Fishing was another activity I had to deal with. I never fished myself, but when I was around caught fish, I could see the pain and suffering in their eyes.

Yet, like all those around me, I grew up eating flesh and animal products.

In my early twenties, a lacto-ovo vegetarian friend explained to me the benefits of his diet, and I adopted it for myself. But I soon found that it wasn't enough to satisfy my sense of compassion. I learned about the violence that goes into the production of milk and eggs as well as flesh, and their harmfulness to health. I was soon persuaded to embrace a vegan diet and to be mindful of the possible presence of animal products in hygiene products, as well as to avoid other everyday items such as leather footwear.

My present situation, however, creates serious difficulties in maintaining this commitment. I have been a prisoner in Florida since 1990, where vegan meals were not even possible until after federal litigation in 1995 mandated that they be available. But since then there have been changes for the worse, primarily in the food service provided by Aramark Corporation, and I have found it impossible to maintain good health on their vegan meals. So my commitment at present seems necessarily compromised. This is distressing to a committed vegan. One extreme example of deficient provision: in 2003, at Century Correctional Institution, Aramark employees Rusty Anderson and Michael Gandsy served vegan inmates a cold dehydrated potato product crawling with live ants. I sued them--and lost, because of lack of means for an appeal.

In this situation, it is no wonder I am afflicted with depression, and need psychiatric treatment. Can you see the conflict created by the long-ago horror and the compassion it awakened, faced with the forced dependence of prison life? The continuing journey for every committed vegan is not as easy or peaceable as we would all wish.

-- Gerald Niles, 122280
Tomoka Correctional Institute
3950 Tiger Bay Road
Daytona Beach, FL 32124

Note: Gerald welcomes letters from fellow vegetarians.

Pioneers: James Granger, 1723 - 1776


On October 18, 1772, church-goers in the parish of Shiplake, in Oxfordshire, England, were startled to hear a sermon on Proverbs 12:10, "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beasts." The sermon condemned the callous and cruel treatment, widespread in England, that caused such enormous suffering to horses; it also spoke sharply against the dreadful "sport" of baiting, setting hounds to attack a tethered animal such as a bear or bull, causing much bloodshed and often death.

The congregation had not expected their polite and learned vicar, James Granger, to dwell on horses and bulls, and there were strong objections. When the courageous Granger went on to publish his sermon, under the title "An Apology for the Brute Creation, or, The Abuse of Animals Censured," it again proved unpopular. By January 1773, only a hundred copies had been sold (and this was a culture in which sermon collections were big sellers). However, it was favorably reviewed in the Monthly Review and the Critical Review--a "sensible discourse," said the Monthly, a "seasonable and useful sermon," said the Critical--and his publisher, Davies, assured Granger that "every body speaks well of it."

Granger had complied a Biographical History of England, 1769, which had involved much correspondence, and as a result he had wealthy, influential friends and a wide acquaintance among the learned. This helped, and in the trouble with his congregation, his Bishop was induced to visit Shiplake and support him. He needed support: "The foregoing discourse," he said in a note to the published edition, "gave considerable disgust to two considerable congregations." The mention of dogs and horses was censured as a prostitution of the dignity of the pulpit, and considered as proof of the author's growing insanity."

What had Granger said? A "righteous man" thinks himself "allied" to animals; the "meanest creature . . . has an equal right with himself to live"; in killing an insect "a man destroys what neither he, nor all the united powers of the world can every repair"; England is "the Hell of Horses," and "there is no country upon the face of the whole earth . . . where the beast is so ill treated, as it is in our own." These are the most impassioned passages. The sermon is generally a sober discourse.

Not long afterwards, the Reverend Mr. Humphry Primatt published his faith-based defense of animals (PT.Vol 1. No. 3, Oct. '04); poet William Cowper's long opus, The Task, appeared, with its several fiery passages on behalf of animals; and John Wesley preached his groundbreaking sermon "The General Deliverance" (PT. Vol. 2. No. 12, Dec. '05-Jan. '06). There is no evidence, to my knowledge, that these brave early figures knew one another. The soul was hard and the seeds slow to germinate, but within two generations, organized agitation on behalf of animals appeared, and protective laws began to be passed.

We cannot do without our pioneers, hard and lonely though their task may be.

--Derived from David Perkins, Romanticism and Animal Rights, and Robert Wennberg, God, Humans, and Animals






Expanses, Expanses

Expanses divine my soul craves.
Confine me not in cages,
Of substance or of spirit.
My soul soars, the expanses of the heavens,
Walls of heart and walls of deed
Will not contain it . . .
I thirst, I thirst for God
As a deer for water brooks . . . .

How can I utter the great truth
That fills my whole heart?
Who will disclose to the multitude,
To the world, to all creatures,
To nations and individuals alike,
The sparks abounding in treasures
Of light and warmth
Stored within my soul? . . . .

I am bound to the world,
All creatures, all people are my friends,
Many parts of my soul
Are intertwined with them,
But how can I share with them my light? . . . .

--Abraham Isaac Kook

The Peaceable Table is a project of the Animal Kinship Committee of Orange Grove Friends Meeting, Pasadena, California. It 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, news notes, 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 June issue will be May 31, 2006. 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, if their funds permit, to donate $12 (USD) per year. Other donations to offset the cost of the domain name and server are welcome.

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