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 Peaceful diet

Editor's Corner Guest Essay: Herbivores or Omnivores?

By Will Tuttle


It’s heartening to see that the Occupy Wall Street protesters have included widespread industrial animal abuse in their list of atrocities perpetrated by the corporations that have taken over our governments:

“They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
“They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless animals, and actively hide these practices.”


A Sleep of Death
As we are awakening to the widespread corruption and inequity that are devastating our economic, governmental, environmental, and cultural well-being, I’ve found it to be highly illuminating to look deeply into our food system and its enormous repercussions that radiate into every aspect of our lives. As I discuss in The World Peace Diet, our unwillingness individually and collectively to recognize and take responsibility for the massive violence required by our food choices is our defining blind spot as a society. Sowing seeds of enslavement, cruelty, and terror in millions of animals who are confined and killed daily for food, we also sow the seeds, unfortunately, of our own oppression and demise. I believe that awakening from the socially imposed practice of eating meat and dairy products is the essential requirement for creating a new cultural foundation where equality, harmony, justice, and freedom are possible.


Paying for and eating animal-sourced foods is behavior that is profoundly antithetical to our interests on every level, and increasing numbers of us are realizing that besides damaging our physical health, eating meat and dairy is devastating our environmental, psychological, spiritual, and cultural health as well. However, as the Occupy Wall Street statement implies, animal agriculture serves well to concentrate power and wealth in the hands of elite corporate interests controlling the military-industrial-meat-medical-media complex that profit immensely from disease, environmental devastation, and war.


"If It Eats Like a Cow . . ."

In this, our cultural situation parallels that of a typical dairy farm or beef feed-lot, and this is where the poignant riddle comes in: are cows really herbivores or omnivores? They surely seem to be herbivores! We all know that cows have a digestive system designed for eating grass. They evolved eating this way for millions of years in the grasslands of central Asia. Now, however, their diet is quite different. Their owners “enrich” their diet with corn, soy, wheat, and other grains in order to spur weight-gain, boost milk output, and increase profits. This diet is unnatural and causes the bovines to experience digestive distress, including the unnatural intestinal harboring of toxic E. Coli pathogens that sicken and kill hundreds of human consumers every year.


However, the riddle goes much farther than this. In addition to grain, agribusiness scientists long ago discovered that feeding cows animal protein, saturated fat, and cholesterol dramatically amplifies milk production, weight-gain, and consequent profits. The result is that for decades now, cows have been routinely fed diets not of grass, but of grain that is “enriched” with the rendered flesh and organs of fish, chickens, turkeys, pigs, and other animals, such as the millions of dogs and cats who are euthanized every year, and the road-kill and other carcasses collected by governmental agencies. Besides feeding the cows and steers all this meat from other species, they have been typically fed the ground-up slaughterhouse by-products of other cows (internal organs, nerves, brains, eyes, etc.), effectively turning them not just into carnivores, but into cannibals as well. This standard industry practice was supposedly stopped back in the '90s when it was discovered that it caused devastating mad-cow disease in human consumers of cow flesh. Nevertheless, we know that today, cows (as well as sheep, goats, pigs, and other obviously herbivorous animals) are eating huge amounts of meat because it boosts profits for the industry owners and operators, as well as the banks and financial institutions investing in the system.


Cows dutifully eat what they’re fed, even when it causes them digestive distress, cancerous tumors, and many other problems. Their owners feed bovines fishmeal, slaughterhouse waste, and other animal-sourced foods not because it is in the cows’ interests to do so, but because they exploit the cows and use them for their own purposes. They also force many types of drugs, chemicals, and antibiotics on the cows, again, not because doing so is in the interests of the cows themselves, but because it is in their interests as owners and investors to increase productivity and profits. Ironically, bovines all die very young: beef steers at about eighteen to twenty-four months, and dairy cow slaves at about four or five years. Though they would naturally live about twenty-five years, they die hanging upside down by one leg in slaughterhouses, stabbed in the neck and bleeding to death, killed for profit by their owners, and for their flesh and skins by obedient consumers.


Set Up

Do cows ever suspect they’re being ruthlessly exploited, or that the meat in their diet is toxic and part of that exploitation? Do they suspect they’re fed meat because doing so benefits their exploiters? After so many generations of being conditioned to eat meat, cows may think it’s their natural food. How would they know differently?


Now try re-reading the above paragraph, replacing the word “cows” with the word “people.”


The pharmaceutical-medical complex rakes in billions of dollars in profits from people eating diets high in meat, dairy products, and eggs, people who suffer from and buy drugs to treat the diseases caused by eating these foods: heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, strokes, obesity, osteoporosis, kidney disease, liver disease, autoimmune diseases, and so forth. This same industry brings in even more profits from people who eat foods sourced from animals who suffer terribly from the terror, frustration, and agony of modern animal confinement operations. Eating food products embodying this depression, anxiety, and insomnia, people ironically spend billions for psychiatric drugs to combat the same illnesses forced on the animals they eat. Drugging animals and humans, the pharmaceutical complex gorges on suffering to amass huge profits that enable it to control governmental bodies, the media, and public awareness. By analogy, the military-industrial complex profits from wars and policies that feed on disconnected, frustrated people, and powerful financial corporations steal people’s homes and wealth as dairy operations steal the cows' babies and milk.



We can free ourselves when we awaken from the cultural food trance and its official story line—that meat and dairy are natural for us to eat—and switch to a plant-based way of eating that frees the animals, ecosystems, and people enslaved by this official story. Like cows, being fed meat and cheese is not in our interest, but is only in the interest of exploitive forces. By freeing others, we will attain freedom. By questioning the official food story and going vegetarian and then vegan, we open the door to discovering our purpose on this beautiful Earth, and to being able to create a new world of equality, freedom, and harmony.


May we contemplate deeply the riddle of the cows we dominate for food! Are they really the omnivores they’ve been forced into being? Are we?


Will Tuttle, educator and composer, is author of the acclaimed best-seller, The World Peace Diet, and is co-founder of the Circle of Compassion ministry. He has been a vegan since 1980. For Will's "My Pilgrimage" story, see W Tuttle and scroll down about two-thirds of the way.

Unset Gems

"We worship a false God when . . . we think only human beings matter to God . . . .
--Andrew Linzey, address at RSPCA service Oct. 2, 2011

"The thinking [person] must oppose all cruel customs no matter how deeply rooted in tradition and surrounded by a halo. When we have a choice, we must avoid bringing torment and injury into the life of another, even the lowliest creature; to do so is to renounce our [humanity] and shoulder a guilt which nothing justifies." --Albert Schweitzer

--Contributed by Lorena Mucke

News Notes

Texas University Vegan Cafeteria

The University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, has opened the first full-service vegan cafeteria in Texas - or in any USA college campus, for that matter. It has become very popular, even among students who are not vegans--or, indeed, vegetarians!--but like the delicious and healthy food. Chicago Tribune, September 1, 2011.

--Contributed by Benjamin Urrutia


No Crates in Our State

Lawmakers in Massachusetts are considering a bill which will ban gestation crates and "veal" crates in that state. At present there are no factory farms in Massachusetts, and both animal advocates and a group promoting sustainability, called Farm Forward, want to keep it that way. See No Crates .

--Contributed by Lorena Mucke

A Glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom:

Elephants Remember

Shirley and Jenny, two circus slaves, had bonded when they were together for a few month in 1978, when Shirley was in her twenties and Jenny was a baby. About two decades later, each crippled due to abuse and neglect, they were discarded by their captors. In 2000 Jenny was sent to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, where Shirley was already living. Their noisy, ecstatically joyful reunion amazed the keepers. The two remained inseparable until the sad event of Jenny's death in 2006. See Reunion and Jenny
--Contributed by Karen Borch

Letter: Carl Sheppard, Gerald Niles

Dear Peaceable Friends,
I enjoyed your editorial "I Am a True Beast" very much. It is interesting that Lewis describes Aslan as an animal incarnation of God, because in the Vedas there appears an incarnation of God with the body of a man, but feet, paws, and head of a lion. As in The Horse and His Boy, his specific reason for appearing is to protect a small boy who becomes king. . . .

Regarding the Myth of the Birth of the Hero, there is a story in the Vedas that also carries the "Moses" theme . . . . A child named Karna is born when a princess, trying out a new boon she has received, calls a demigod to her presence. Unfortunately for her, the boon required that whomever she call be allowed to impregnate her, which he does, and when the child is born she puts him in a reed basket covered in pitch and floats him down the river. He is found and raised to become a great warrior. . . . This tale is also told in The Mahabharata, the great Indian epic that is longer than the Iliad and the Odyssey combined. . . . .

I agree with your point about God being incarnate in all beings, and I love the poem you chose, "As kingfishers catch fire . . .." to express this truth.

Thank you for this great editorial.
--Carl Sheppard

Dear Peaceable Friends,
. . . . I would never have guessed my best insights on Rise of the Planet of the Apes would have come from Benjamin Urrutia's film review in the Oct. PT. While I'm not a movie watcher, if I could, I might watch that one. But if I couldn't, I'd be glad to settle for the Milanese Green Beans and/or the Creamy Strawberry Dessert.
--Gerald Niles


Book Review:

Vicki Myron with Bret Witter. Dewey's Nine Lives. New York: Dutton, 2010. 306 pages. $19.95 hardcover

Millions know of Dewey, the librarian cat from Spencer, Iowa, who touched his readers' lives through Vicki Myron's original book, Dewey. This unforgettable feline, who entered the story as a tiny, half-dead kitten found in the library book drop one freezing morning, lived to be a beloved institution at the library, and died at the age of nineteen toward the end of that book. Now there is evidence that Dewey lives on through that work's influence. In Dewey's Nine Lives, the author tells two further stories about Dewey, and, perhaps more significantly, relates accounts of other important cats selected from out of the thousands of letters she received as a result of the first treatise.

Many of these tales are quite poignant, essentially witnessing to the way an animal companion can be the crucial mainstay of the life of a human being otherwise lonely, discouraged, and feeling all is futile. Not a few readers are likely to find their eyes moistening over some passages.

There is, for example, Yvonne, a plain woman with a very low self-image who continually found only bottom-rung jobs, and felt herself frequently passed over for promotion. Her one consolation, apart from religion, was her cat Tobi, who was always on the bed waiting for her when she came home from work. But Yvonne, who lived in Spencer, was also a friend of Dewey, and when Tobi finally went the way of all flesh, Dewey befriended her whenever she came into the library.

Bill was a Vietnam veteran who had been a strong animal lover as a boy, but after he came back from combat was suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. Estranged from his family, unable to settle down or form lasting relationships, drinking too much, he drifted from place to place and job to job. One day a wounded kitten, apparently dropped by an owl, hit his car. He brought the bleeding creature to a vet who managed to save him. Gradually Spooky became a stabilizing element in Bill's life. Like him, the animal was injured but a survivor. Spooky survived several painful episodes later on, including encounters with coyotes and a bear, as well. Once he walked over twenty miles back home after Bill's short-term wife had tried to dump him. After Spooky's death, and after Bill had got his life relatively more together, he loved telling friends about his feline friend's extraordinary adventures.

One could go on with more such narratives, but read the book. Myron and Witter do a marvelous job of telling these stories, largely about people we might callously dismiss as small-time or even as "losers," yet who have been loved by a cat and have loved her or him in turn. But surely there is no person alive whose life, if fully understood and appreciated, would not be as rich, as complex, or as profoundly telling of the human condition, as any out of Shakespeare or Tolstoy. God understands this, and in their way so do cats, whose love has nothing to do with whether we are beautiful, rich, and famous or quite the opposite. Indeed, some cats, like Dewey or the Providence, RI, hospice cat Oscar (see Review, Oscar ), seem to have an uncanny ability to know when people are hurting or about to make the Transition, and do what they can regardless of who the person is.

Myron and Witter make these obscure lives come alive and reveal their inner importance; they show how the cats enabled the humans to love and grow. Dewey, and his legacy, are truly a gift to our troubled world.

--Robert Ellwood

Did You Miss This One?

Animal Days. By Desmond Morris. Published in the UK in 1979 by Jonathan Cape Ltd. Published in the USA in 1980 by Wm Morrow (New York, N.Y.). 304 pages. Hardback and paperback.
Chances are you have not read or even seen this book before, as it appeared more than three decades ago and did not make any big splash at the time. Earlier books by Morris did create quite a bit of controversy, notably his famous and controversial The Naked Ape (some of whose loudest critics had not read the book at all). Morris, a zoologist, looked at the human being, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, as an animal (a very offensive notion to some people) and studied us as a zoologist would.

Animal Days is an anecdotal and autobiographical account of many of Morris' experiences with animals. Zoology was his passion from an early age. At first, he wanted to collect as many animals as possible, but soon he turned to wanting to allow the creatures to remain free as he observed them in a nonintrusive way.

After obtaining his doctorate under Niko Timbergen and Konrad Lorenz, Morris became the Curator of Mammals at the London Zoo. This situation, of course, is not one of observing animals free in nature, but he retained his ideal and worked to make living conditions somewhat happier and more comfortable for the animals under his care. Instead of barred cages, he provided the animals with habitats that resembled their natural environments, including social, emotional and intellectual stimulation.

He also developed, and vigorously and diligently promoted, an international program of zoo breeding of animals, to make it unnecessary to plunder the wild for new "specimens." In the bad old days, animal

parents were often killed so their little ones could be confined as zoo inmates. The zoo breeding program made Morris realize a major problem: some animals (such as chimpanzees, gorillas, and pandas) who had been reared by humans thought of themselves as humans, were attracted only to humans, and simply could not be persuaded to mate with members of their own species. The results were sometimes comical, but more often tragic. Morris worked to find ways to solve this problem.

Conscious of his excellent intentions, Morris was shocked and humbled when a child (very much like the one who innocently pointed out that the king was not wearing any clothes) informed him that his being the Curator of Mammals was really no better than being a "Jailer of Cows." This caused him to re-evaluate his life, and soon he left his position at the zoo.

Of the many extraordinary stories in the book, the one I find the most amazing is that of the visit of Desmond and his wife Ramona to the Plaza de Toros (bullring) of Barcelona. The Morrises were very much opposed to the very concept of bulls being tortured for Neronian "entertainment." Nevertheless, they thought they should watch once, so they would not be like those people who fanatically attack books they have not read, movies they have not seen, ideas they do not understand. So they took their seats in the Plaza de Toros. However, the scheduled bull-baiting was cancelled by a sudden and unforeseen hailstorm. "If we had been deeply superstitious we would no doubt have felt that the gods had interceded to spare us the ordeal," comments Morris (page 263).

I do not think I am "deeply superstitious" either, but neither do I have any knee-jerk skepticism towards the supernatural, so I do suspect that the gods, or rather the guardian angels of Ramona and Desmond Morris, caused the hailstorm and eliminated that particular cruel spectacle. Now, after some decades, such torture of bulls has been banned not only in Barcelona, but in Catalonia as a whole, so one could say that the gods or angels had the last word and the last laugh.

And speaking of laughs, this book is full of them, though some of the stories are more tragic than anything else.

The whole book is both entertaining and very educational, and I strongly recommend it to all those who love animals and want to learn more about them, as well as to anyone who enjoys a good story. The reader will certainly gain a good understanding of some of the great problems that face captive animals today.
-Benjamin Urrutia


Baked Apples with Lavender
Serves 6

1 T. plus ⅓ cup Earth Balance®, cold and cut into pieces
1 ½ apples, Granny Smith or Pink Lady, peeled, halved, cored, sliced lengthwise 1” thick
juice of one organic lemon
½ cup unbleached organic flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. crumbled dried lavender

Preheat oven to 375°F.
Rub 1 T. Earth Balance to coat a 9 inch x 13 inch glass baking dish.
Place apples in a baking dish and toss with lemon juice. Set aside while making lavender crumble topping.

In a medium size bowl, place flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, sea salt and lavender. Using your fingers, cut in the remaining ⅓ cup of cold Earth Balance® to form a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle over the apples. Bake in oven until apples are tender and the top has begun to slightly brown, about 30-35 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. May be served with soy or rice ice cream for a delicious dessert.

--Angela Suarez

Seitan with Mushrooms
Serves 4 - 6

6 T. extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 packages West Soy® chicken style seitan, cut into pieces (or 2 lbs. homemade chicken style seitan)
1 cup dry white wine
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 ¼ lbs. fresh mushrooms (shiitake or white)
1 T. fresh thyme leaves or ½ tsp. dried thyme leaves

In a large skillet, sauté seitan in 3 T. olive oil until golden-brown. Add garlic. Pour in wine, add sea salt and black pepper. Cover and cook at low heat for 10 -15 minutes, until heated through.
Clean mushrooms and slice. Sauté with thyme in another skillet in 3 T. olive oil for 3 - 4 minutes. Then add the mushrooms to the seitan. Stir well and cook 2 more minutes. Arrange on a serving platter, and serve immediately.
--Angela Suarez

Poetry: John Keats, 1795-1821


On the Grasshopper and Cricket
The poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper’s—he takes the lead
In summer luxury,—he has never done
With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.

The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems, to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper’s among some grassy hills.


The Peaceable Table is a project of Quaker Animal Kinship / 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.

The journal is intended to be interactive; contributions, including illustrations, are invited for the next issue. Deadline for the December issue will be Nov. 25, 2011. 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 Editors: Lorena Mucke and Marian Hussenbux
Technical Architect: Richard Scott Lancelot Ellwood