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Animal Rights/How to do the least amount of harm possible (in eating)

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Question
Dear Tina,

I care a lot about morality and so I want to do the least amount of harm I possibly can (towards myself, but also towards all living beings, including plants and maybe even some viruses). Is there a way to not harm any animals and plants and still eat in a healthy way (that doesn't cost me a lot of energy, because I also do a lot of volunteer work and that's important as well). And could every human being live that way (or aren't there enough resources?)? If not, what do you think is the best possible option to live/eat morally?

I know that these are extremely difficult questions to answer, but I think that we both deeply care about them, so maybe we can find some answers. Thank you very much for reading my questions and I hope you can help me find good answers.

Kind regards,

Rick

Answer
Hi Rick,

I think that this is a very moral decision on your part, and doing the least harm, or "Ahimsa" is the most responsible and ethical way to live your life, not to mention the path to health on so many levels.

However, doing no harm is a difficult path because of all of the products that are loaded with chemicals, animal products, etc.  Doing your best consciously is the only way to be completely moral with regard to animals, plants and microbes.  

I have read that regarding plants:

Since plants do not have a nervous system, and cannot run from predators, it is believed they do not feel pain and suffering - although they are complex.  Animals do have a nervous system, they show pleasure and pain, they cry and nurse injuries (unlike plants) and avoid those who have hurt them in the past, they are the necessary beings that should be respected.

Many paths can be taken, however, veganism, I believe is the best path for sentient beings.  Many others take this a little further and become fruitarians - eating only fruit picked from trees - and raw, eating only that which is alive with enzymes - however, it can be very difficult to sustain health without the entire amino acids needed in the human body.

It is a very tricky balance, and I suggest reading everything you can on the subject - a couple of suggestions are:

The China Study, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D.
80-10-10 diet, by Dr. Douglas Graham
The Food Revolution, by John Robbins

These would be a great start to researching what fits your moral questions as well as your quest for 'Ahimsa' - a term coined by the Jains, who are probably the closest group of people I can think of that cause the least amount of harm than anyone else on the planet.  

Good luck!  I hope I've helped... just remember, it is a process and if you bite off more than you can chew, you might get discouraged, so take it slow, absorb everything and take what you feel suits you.

Love and Peace,
Tina Volpe

Animal Rights

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Tina Volpe

Expertise

I can answer almost all questions about animals raised for food... and the horrifying truths of the abuse and torture these animals endure. Also, about the health ramifications of eating animals or their products, i.e. heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, and a host of other diseases linked to our diets. Any questions on existing on a plant based diet, solely, raw diet and the health benefits.

Experience

Author of the book “The Fast Food Craze, Wreaking Havoc on Our Bodies and Our Animals” and co-author of the new book, "The Missing Peace, The Hidden Power of our Kinship with Animals". Health researcher, 34 year vegetarian, speaker, educator/consultant, television guest appearing all over the country, radio host of the top rated show “Wake Up America” on GlobalTalk Radio, and published columnist. Now affiliated with PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) as a "Heart Health" speaker, and SPEAK, as a Humane Educator.

Organizations
Mercy for Animals, Compassion over Killing, Friends of Animals, PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) Farm Sanctuary, Animal Acres, Catskill Animal Sanctuary.

Publications
LA Life Magazine, Personal Excellence Magazine, and several other misc. publications.

Education/Credentials
See above

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