“Our habits of eating and drinking show whether we are of the world or among the number whom the Lord by His mighty cleaver of truth has separated from the world.” —Counsels on Diet, 379
In the Beginning
“The diet appointed man in the beginning did not include animal food. Not till after the flood, when every green thing on the earth had been destroyed, did man receive permission to eat flesh.”—Counsels on Diet, 374
Contrary to popular belief, man did not evolve from apes and apes did not evolve from microbial soup. All of creation was purposefully designed with beautiful, harmonious, and noble intentions. And God saw that it was good.
Life was not created for death, nor was death ever meant to sustain life. Every creature subsisted on land- and aquatic-based plant foods. From the great whale to the miniscule mosquito, every want and need was satisfied and there did not exist any desire whatsoever to harm or devour another living being.
Humankind was originally designed to subsist off of the “fruit” of trees that were “pleasant to the sight and good for food” (Genesis 2:9, 16; See also: Genesis 1:29). It’s interesting that only after the Fall of Man were “herb[s] of the field” (vegetables, grain, etc.) introduced into man’s diet. (See: Genesis 3:18.)
Meat, or flesh foods, were not permitted for consumption until after the Flood. This was due, in part, to the lack of edible plant life available to Noah and his family once they were discharged from the ark. “Therefore the Lord in their necessity gave Noah permission to eat of the clean animals which he had taken with him into the ark. But animal food was not the most healthful article of food for man” (Counsels on Diet, 373).
As time went on, new and extended families and settlements sprung up from the offspring of Noah’s endeavoring sons. Not all chose to believe, or even remember, the tragic flood story, nor did they purpose in their hearts to know the God who had preserved for them a future. Sin arose once more in the midst of man and “God saw that the ways of man were corrupt, and that he was disposed to exalt himself proudly against his Creator and to follow the inclinations of his own heart. And He permitted that long-lived race to eat animal food to shorten their sinful lives. Soon after the flood the race began to rapidly decrease in size, and in length of years” (Counsels on Diet, 373).
Thousands of years later, science now confirms that the human body was not designed for meat. The distinctions between carnivores and herbivores have been studied for centuries and studiously recorded to reveal what many refuse to acknowledge: the human body is not equipped to ingest and digest meat. From the saliva to the teeth, to the stomach acid to the intestines, man is suited for fruits and vegetables.
Meat-eaters: have claws
Herbivores: no claws
Humans: no claws
Meat-eaters: have no skin pores and perspire through the tongue
Herbivores: perspire through skin pores
Humans: perspire through skin pores
Meat-eaters: have sharp front teeth for tearing, with no flat molar teeth for grinding
Herbivores: no sharp front teeth, but flat rear molars for grinding
Humans: no sharp front teeth, but flat rear molars for grinding
Meat-eaters: have intestinal tract that is only 3 times their body length so that rapidly decaying meat can pass through quickly
Herbivores: have intestinal tract 10-12 times their body length.
Humans: have intestinal tract 10-12 times their body length.
Meat-eaters: have strong hydrochloric acid in stomach to digest meat
Herbivores: have stomach acid that is 20 times weaker than that of a meat-eater
Humans: have stomach acid that is 20 times weaker than that of a meat-eater
Meat-eaters: salivary glands in mouth not needed to pre-digest grains and fruits.
Herbivores: well-developed salivary glands which are necessary to pre-digest grains and fruits
Humans: well-developed salivary glands, which are necessary to pre-digest, grains and fruits
Meat-eaters: have acid saliva with no enzyme ptyalin to pre-digest grains
Herbivores: have alkaline saliva with ptyalin to pre-digest grains
Humans: have alkaline saliva with ptyalin to pre-digest grains
Based on a chart by A.D. Andrews, Fit Food for Men, (Chicago: American Hygiene Society, 1970).
Recently, it has been discovered that meat is a carcinogen. Even more studies have concluded that a meat-based diet lends itself to a significantly shorter lifespan compared to those adhering to a plant-based diet. This confirms the Biblical report of a shortening of the life span since the introduction of meat into the human diet after the Flood.
Furthermore, studies and statistical data prove that within just the last 300 years, the average height of men and women has been decreasing steadily with nearly each new generation. This confirms the statement: “the race began to rapidly decrease in size” (Counsels on Diet, 373).
While meat was permitted by God, it was never His ideal choice. Though His intentions after the Flood were to provide Noah the necessities of life, God also intended meat consumption to be a means by which the evils of individual men could not persist unchecked for centuries (as they once had before the Flood, when men could live for hundreds of years).
Still, the Lord did not abandon those who chose to honor Him to the most harmful flesh foods. For them was assigned a temporary diet of meats derived only from the animals He deemed clean. “Only such animals could be used for food as were in good condition. No creature that was torn, that had died of itself or from which the blood had not been carefully drained, could be used as food” (Counsels on Diet, 374).
The Last-day Diet
Torn Animals and Their Blood
Animals that endure injury and inaccurate death blows experience prolonged suffering and increased fear, even aggression. The stress hormones produced and released throughout their body during the undignified methods of some people (or even other animals), situate themselves in every tissue of the animal’s flesh. When the animal is consumed, its final moments of fear and aggression are retained within its stress hormones, which now permeate throughout the consumer’s body with every bite.
Regardless of the type of death, if the blood is not properly drained, the consumer is then subjected to every impurity and malady that the animal carried within itself, including stress hormones. In addition, blood is mentioned all throughout Scripture, not only as life’s vital fluid and the bleeder’s identifier (DNA), but also as a sacred symbol. The phrase “the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11 KJV) should at least make a Christian pause before thinking of consuming it.
Animals “That Had Died of [Themselves]”
Natural deaths of animals were not permissible for consumption. Natural deaths meant that the animal’s health and nutrient-content was severely degraded, making it completely unfit as food. “Road kill” or animals that befell tragic ends were especially unsuitable because decay and bacterial and parasitical infestation begin shortly after death, rendering the carcass even more unsuitable than natural deaths.
Dignity in Life, Dignity in Death
“Think of the cruelty to animals that meat eating involves, and its effect on those who inflict and those who behold it. How it destroys the tenderness with which we should regard these creatures of God!” —The Ministry of Healing, “Reasons for Discarding Flesh Foods,” 176
The Lord’s mercy extended beyond the concern of the faithful few’s health. It’s no surprise that the God whose eye is on the fallen sparrow (Matthew 10:29) would have a concern over the treatment of animals, especially those permitted as meat.
“The intelligence displayed by many dumb animals approaches so closely to human intelligence that it is a mystery. The animals see and hear and love and fear and suffer. They use their organs far more faithfully than many human beings use theirs. They manifest sympathy and tenderness toward their companions in suffering. Many animals show an affection for those who have charge of them, far superior to the affection shown by some of the human race. They form attachments for humans that are not broken without great suffering to them.”—The Ministry of Healing, 176
Livestock were bred and raised with the utmost care—most herders exhibiting a loving and tender method that recognized the sanctity of life. The beasts were afforded the freedom to roam in open, lush fields and directed toward clean, fresh-flowing water on a daily basis. In cold season, the animals were ushered to sheltering groves or clean, man-made stalls. A manner of determined firmness may have been needed to keep all safe and in order, but the Godly principles of tenderness and protection ruled those firm hands. Nothing less would have been acceptable in the eyes of the Lord.
God provided a firm set of guidelines in the killing of animals. This practice—known traditionally today as “Kosher”—has been carried over in current-day Judaism.
“Kosher” Killing Tradition
- The animal must be thoroughly examined prior to slaughter. Any illness or injury disqualified the creature as food. Firstly, this ensured the quality of the meat for the consumer. Secondly, it prevented those who bred, raised, and slaughtered animals for food purposes from partaking in methods that were abusive, neglectful, and inhumane. The reasons behind this were vital to both the consumer’s health and the moral compass of all involved.
- The animal must be comfortably restrained. This ensured that the slaughtering could be done correctly and as painlessly as possible without inducing fear or aggression during the animal’s final moments. If the beast was injured during the restraining process or it injured itself after being restrained, it was considered unfit for slaughter and released.
- The instrument of slaughter must be in flawless condition. Every aspect of the knife must be impeccably maintained from the hilt to the blade itself. The instrument must be long enough to pass cleanly through to the other side of the animal’s throat. It must also be sharpened to the point that, should the slaughterer accidentally slice his own hand, he would not even feel it. Therefore, the blade must be sharp enough to not only kill the beast in a single blow, but also give it as painless a death as possible.
- The death blow must be a rapid, unhindered incision directly and immediately through the esophagus, trachea, carotid arteries, and jugular veins instantaneously. The incision must not pull or tear at the tissue but slice cleanly and swiftly through it. The motion of the death blow needed to be quick and painless. If done correctly, the animal would die within 2 seconds and feel nothing at all.
- The animal must be drained of its blood. Generally, the dead beast was hung upside-down in order to accomplish this.
- The animal’s vital organs must be examined. Any defects, damage, or sign of decay in the essential organs would make it unsuitable for consumption, as the condition of the vital organ are a good indicator of whether there was health or disease throughout all portions of the body.
- All impermissible (or non-“Kosher”) parts must be removed from the hind quarters and vital organs. Blood vessels, the sciatic nerve, and all fat had to be discarded before consumption.
Livestock today are not permitted to roam freely in the open, lush fields and drink from the clean, fresh-flowing water that their ancestors were Divinely-afforded. Today, most animals intended for meat are kept in man-made structures from birth to death. Their first glimpse of the world is often filth-ridden, mechanical, hard, unnatural, and made of metal and concrete. They are deprived of a family unit and often taken from their mothers long before they are properly weened off her milk. Processed foods, antibiotics, synthetic supplements, and even those contaminated with the flesh of their kin is offered to them as sustenance instead of the living food that grows abundantly in their natural habitats. Theirs is a life condensed to small pens and cubicles where the density of their population is so uncomfortably thick that they chew and peck on one another out of frustration. The sun is not freely theirs, the air is foul and stagnant, and wherever they stand or rest their weary bodies is covered in their own defecation.
When they are ready for the meat-eater’s plate, they leave their pitiful confinements and are roughly and painfully ushered through the cruel process of a death that should forever destroy the appetite of those whose flesh-loving palates are held in greater esteem than the life of another being.
The feathered creatures are swept up like trash into machines and thrown from one station to another where they are battered, torn, and aggressively hung by their flesh from hooks before death even takes them. Fruitlessly, they flail about in pain for long, excruciating minutes until their last breath. In the absence of that method, some are tossed in scalding-hot water where their last moments are filled with an agony only John the Beloved understood and survived.
The pitiful cattle and pigs are made to endure electrical prods and even violent kicks from the slaughterhouse crew as they make their death march. Terrified and enduring intense pain, they try to turn and flee, only to be battered more heavily and forced back into the assembly line. When they reach their final destination, they are often shot in the head with a captive bolt pistol or a stun gun that studies have shown rarely ever renders them unconscious. Instead, their pain is increased as they are confined tightly and uncomfortably in a pinching mechanism before their throat is torn or their trachea is ripped from them by a mechanical device. For minutes—not seconds, not moments—they are left to stumble about as they suffocate on their own blood. Their eyes wide with terror, bewilderment, and unbelievable agony.
When the deaths are accomplished, only base, minimalist measures are taken to ensure the quality of the flesh for consumption. When meats fall below standard or lose their appeal due to rot or other reasons, they are often doctored to look safe and appetizing by the use of dyes and chemicals.
Day in and day out, the killing commences. Millions upon millions slaughtered for the tongue’s pleasure. Slaughterhouse workers, though in many cases desensitized from the reality of their daily task, privately endure a hell like no other. Trauma, cruelty, and agony are the tools of their trade and, each day, they set aside a portion of their humanity just to earn the infamous “buck” that pays their cable bill. Frequently, heartfelt complaints and tears of shame are shed in private conversation about the torment their hearts endure as butchers. Many claim their minds are revisited time and time again by the deaths and tortures they have not only witnessed but performed. The animals are not the only victims of the meat industry.
“What person with a human heart, who has ever cared for domestic animals, could look into their eyes, so full of confidence and affection, and willingly give them over to the butcher’s knife? How could he or she devour their flesh as a sweet morsel?” —The Ministry of Healing, 176
“Those who profess to love God do not always consider that abuse to animals, or suffering brought upon them by neglect, is a sin. The fruits of divine grace will be as truly revealed in men by the manner in which they treat their beasts, as by their service in the house of God. Those who allow themselves to become impatient or enraged with their animals are not Christians. A man who is harsh, severe and domineering toward the lower animals, because he has them in his power, is both a coward and a tyrant. And he will, if opportunity offers, manifest the same cruel, overbearing spirit toward his wife and children.”—Ellen G. White, 1880
Many today are suffering disease and a lack of vitality because the flesh foods they so strongly desire undergo neglectful farming conditions, shameful slaughterhouse methods, and appalling aesthetic doctoring. In the eyes of the Lord, these creatures are wronged in every possible way. From their treatment in life to their treatment in death, there can be no other understanding except that they are unnecessary martyrs to the unfettered appetite. Death is offered up to the masses as a vital commodity for life—an irony lost on millions—and yet the masses are dying in droves from cancers and diseases of the heart, liver, kidneys, blood, and other tissues.
While some claim a more ideal approach to farming and slaughter, the case still remains that flesh foods are unnecessary in the procurement of long-lasting health.
“It is a mistake to suppose that muscular strength depends on the use of animal food. The needs of the system can be better supplied, and more vigorous health can be enjoyed, without its use. Grains, with fruits, nuts, and vegetables, contain all the nutritive properties necessary to make good blood. These elements are not so well or so fully supplied by a flesh diet. Had the use of flesh been essential to health and strength, animal food would have been included in the diet appointed human beings in the beginning.”—The Ministry of Healing, 176
Not only is the human body ill-equipped to properly utilize flesh as food, but the abundance of plant life on earth and its ease with which it nourishes the human body is a testament to the nonessential existence of the meat industry. With abounding knowledge available at the simple tap of a fingertip and a planet and global-trading system of plant-based food sources nearly limitless in their bounty, the consumption of flesh foods and the abhorrent meat industry should be long-forgotten sin of the past and not a grace-abusing luxury of present-day Christianity.
“Is it not time that all should aim to dispense with flesh foods? How can those who are seeking to become pure, refined, and holy, that they may have the companionship of heavenly angels, continue to use as food anything that has so harmful an effect on soul and body? How can they take the life of God’s creatures that they may consume the flesh as a luxury? Let them, rather, return to the wholesome and delicious food given to the human race in the beginning. And let them practice, and teach their children to practice, mercy toward the dumb creatures that God has made and placed under our dominion. —The Ministry of Healing, 177