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

A Tenderness Towards All Creatures

Quakerism has grown from the Christian tradition and, as an advocate of nonviolence, it is rightly proud of its pacifist principles. The renowned Quaker Peace Testimony, based on the principle of nonviolence, is primarily considered a testimony against militarism and the conflict and aggression of war between human beings. It has not been thought to include the exploitation and violence inflicted upon animals.

It is true that Quakers have recognized the need, on some level, to respect animals as sentient creatures. George Fox, catching an ostler stealing his horse's oats, wrote in his journal, 'A wicked thieving people to rob a poor dumb creature of his food, which I had rather they had robbed me.' He also condemned hunting and hawking.

John Woolman, 18th century American Quaker, said, 'To say that we love God--and at the same time exercise cruelty toward the least creature--is a contradiction in itself.' Noting the oppression of oxen and horses and the use of the whip, he lamented that 'the creation of this day doth loudly groan.' While sojourning in England, he refused to use the English stage-coach because the horses were brutalised by strenuous journeys, often resulting in exhaustion, blindness and death.

In many Christian countries, millions of animals are killed annually in slaughter houses, experimented on in laboratories and hunted as sport. Ironically, to celebrate the birth of the founder of Christianity, millions of turkeys are bred each year for Christmas consumption, mostly in horrible, dark and cramped conditions.

Many Christians continue to base their rationalisation for such action on the authority of the Bible; Quakers tend to be less inclined to seek the authority of scripture, preferring instead to recognise that, although there is a credible concern, there are more important issues in their list of Quaker priorities. Regardless of the conflicting theological views on whether or not the Bible sanctions cruelty towards animals, one thing remains true: the intentional and avoidable acts of violence inflicted upon other creatures, resulting in deprivation and death, for whatever reason, are wrong.

If the principle of nonviolence is absolute, it must be non-selective; a failure to recognise animals as sentient creatures, and to extend our compassionate protection towards them, is surely contrary to the professed ethics of a religion of love. The Bible informs us that 'God is Love' and those who do not love do not know God. Yet, it would seem that the recipients of this love do not include in its sweep the whole of creation.

Ancient historians claim that there have been many followers of Jesus who have advocated vegetarianism, including certain of his apostles, the most notable being James. Hegesippus, second century saint and Christian historian, as quoted in Church History by Eusebius; says "James, the brother of the Lord...did not drink neither wine nor strong drink, nor did he eat flesh."

All acts of violence, whether towards human beings or animals, are inextricably linked in the depths of the psyche. Dr. Albert Schweitzer, renowned Christian theologian and missionary said in his Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech: 'The compassion in which all ethics must take root can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.'

Despite the general lack of interest in the plight of animals among Friends, there have been a number of Quakers formally active on their behalf. In 1978, Quaker Concern for Animals was established as an informal listed group within Britain Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. It is one of the oldest established faith-based animal protection groups, having continuity with the Friends' Anti-Vivisection Association begun in 1891, later becoming the Animal Welfare and Anti-Vivisection Society. In the United States, the Friends Vegetarian Society of North America was established in 1982, unfortunately becoming inactive in 1995.

In consideration of the advice of John Woolman that we be mindful of 'a tenderness toward all creatures, that we do not lessen that sweetness of life in the animal creation,' might it not be time now for us to consider testing this concern?

—Stuart Hartley, Marsden Monthly Meeting, UK
Reprinted from The Friend UK


Silk Road Salad

1 lb. frozen shelled edamame, cooked according to package directions, drained and cooled
1 lb. pasta such as fusilli or rotini, cooked al dente, drained and cooled (add a little olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking together while waiting to be added to the salad)
1 carrot, grated
1/2 cup broccoli, lightly steamed (it should maintain a little crunch to the bite)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T sesame seeds
1/3 cup raw cashews


Juice of 1 orange
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T tamari
1 T sesame oil
6 - 7 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T water
1 T brown rice syrup
1 tsp evaporated cane juice (organic sugar)
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste (perhaps 1/8 -1/4 tsp)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Place edamame, carrot, garlic, broccoli, sesame seeds, cashews and pasta in large salad bowl. In a small bowl whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing. Pour over the edamame mixture. Toss to mix well. Refrigerate until ready to serve. May be served over a bed of lettuce greens if desired.

This is a fresh and delightful salad. I recently created this salad to take on a family hike and picnic. My sons often do not like to try new foods, but love a Chinese restaurant called the "Silk Road." Because this salad has an Oriental flair, I named it the "Silk Road Salad" hoping the name would interest my sons. It was a success and the boys thoroughly enjoyed our hike and picnic fare. My family loves to eat this salad with chopsticks.

This recipe may also be made with brown rice instead of pasta. Simply use 2 1/2 - 3 cups of cooked brown rice in place of the pasta. Edamame are fresh soybeans that are usually sold packaged and frozen. Often they are still in the pods, but for this recipe purchase shelled edamame. Serves 4 - 6.

—Angela Suarez

Garden Fresh Basil Stuffed Mushrooms

24 large mushrooms
4 cloves garlic
2 cups basil
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1/4 - 1/3 c Vegan Parmesan (a gluten free parmesan substitute made by Soymage)
1/4 - 1/3 ground walnuts
2 -3 T extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven 325. Remove stems from mushrooms Reserve stems. In food processor, process garlic until finely minced. Add mushroom stems, basil, bread crumbs, Vegan Parm, olive oil , salt, pepper and 2 T water. Purée until smooth. Spoon purée into caps. Bake until tender—approximately 30 minutes. Serve hot. Serves 6 as an appetizer.

If you grow basil in your garden or have a friend who offers you fresh grown basil, especially if it is the Genovese variety, you will find this is a delicious way to enjoy the basil with mushrooms. Serve this appetizer followed by a light pasta and green salad for a refreshing summer meal.

—Angela Suarez

Conchiglie con Ricotta di Mandorle e Pomodori (Pasta Shells with Almond Ricotta and Fresh Tomatoes)

4 large ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped 6 - 8 T extra virgin olive oil
generous amount fresh basil leaves, roughly torn (such as a large handful)
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup almond ricotta (recipe follows)
1 lb. pasta shells (small shells)
Vegan Parmesan

To blanch tomatoes: bring pot of water to a boil; drop in tomatoes and remove with a slotted spoon or pour into a colander after 30 - 45 seconds (depending on size of tomatoes). Immerse tomatoes in cold water. Skins will slip off. Tomatoes may be seeded by simply gently squeezing the tomatoes in the sink. Do not be concerned if a few seeds remain in the tomato.

In large bowl mix tomatoes, olive oil, basil, salt & pepper. Leave to infuse for at least 15 minutes, then add almond ricotta.

Cook pasta. Drain and toss with tomato-almond ricotta mixture.

Sprinkle generously with Vegan Parmesan and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Almond Ricotta (Ricotta di Mandorle) yields 2 1/2 cups

1 cup hot water
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
1 cup cold water
4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 T cornstarch
2 T unbleached white flour
1 T canola or safflower oil
1 tsp. evaporated cane juice
1/2 tsp salt

Place hot water and almonds in blender, blend until smooth and not grainy.

Add the rest of the ingredients, blend well again.

Pour into a small saucepan, stir constantly over medium-high heat until bubbly, reduce heat and cook one minute.

Scrape mixture into glass container. Allow to cool. Whisk or stir with fork to give texture of ricotta. Store in refrigerator. Use as ricotta.

This recipe is adapted from Nonna's Italian Kitchen: Delicious Home-Style Vegan Cuisine by Bryanna Clark Grogan.

If ricotta was ever part of your diet prior to becoming vegan, this recipe will certainly cause amazement. If you are in the process of becoming vegan and are having difficulty "giving up" cheese, you will very likely be happy to add this recipe to your cooking repertoire. I like this recipe because it is very plain like ricotta. The flavorings do not occur until the cook adds them. I simply use it instead of ricotta in any recipe that contains ricotta. It is a wonderfully compassionate alternative to a product that causes pain and sorrow to cows and their babies.

My summer would not be complete without this favorite dish. Garden fresh tomatoes are juicy and make this recipe refreshing for any glorious summer evening. Serves 4 - 6.

—Angela Suarez

Mocha Ice Cream Vegan Style

2 cups raw cashews
2 cups strong brewed fair trade coffee
1 cup evaporated cane juice (organic sugar)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup organic cocoa

Place cashews and coffee in blender. Blend on high speed until very smooth and there is no graininess present. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to blend until smooth. 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 until easily scooped. Return uneaten ice cream to freezer. This ice cream can be stored for several days in the freezer. Yields about 1 quart.

I have made frozen desserts from a variety of bases including silken tofu and bananas; but this type is my favorite. Friends and family love it too. This method is inspired by Jeff Rogers who wrote Vice Cream. The cashews form an incredibly creamy texture and rich flavor. I like this method because an ice cream maker is unnecessary. For those of us who enjoy coffee but find it less than refreshing in the summer, this vegan ice cream offers a delicious coffee flavor accompanied by chocolate.

—Angela Suarez

Review: Honoring God's Creation

Honoring God's Creation. Video and DVD, Christian Vegetarian Association, P.O. Box 201791, Cleveland, Ohio 44120. Toll free 866-202-9170. $12.00

This is the video (or DVD) from the Christian Vegetarian Association for which we have been waiting. It has the same cover — the "Peaceable Kingdom" painting of the child Jesus with animals by William Strutt — and the same title as the CVA's widely distributed introductory booklet, the one formerly labeled, more provocatively, "What Would Jesus Eat — Today?" This beautifully-produced 25 minute video presents the case for vegetarianism as part of a Christian lifestyle as effectively on the screen as the booklet did on the printed page.

The principal speakers — Stephen Kaufman, M.D., co-founder of the CVA, Fr. John Dear, S.J., the Rev. Frank Hoffman, the Rev. James Antal, William Greenway, Ph.D., and others, including physicians involved in the medical benefits of a plant-based diet — tell us in engaging short statements that vegetarianism today is crucially important to the Christian values of compassion for all beings, right stewardship of the earth, care for the poor, and regard for one's own health as a gift from God.

All speak articulately, are obviously well-informed, and witness out of a deeply-grounded Christian faith, yet without any hint of high-pressure, in-your-face rhetoric. There are a few images of factory-farm horrors, as well as beautiful pictures of well-treated animals courtesy of the Farm Sanctuary, but the former will not be too much for first-time viewers of such scenes. (On the other side, there are some mouth-watering shots of tasty vegetarian dishes.) This DVD would be the ideal vehicle for anyone who has an opportunity to present Christian vegetarianism to a church or other interested group. It is bound to offer a positive image of the cause while provoking good discussion.

At the same time, if a second edition of this film is prepared, as I hope it will be, I would suggest it try to get a little more away from the "talking head" format to show the presenters "in action" in some way, as doctors, pastors, cooks, parents, or farmers, as well as perhaps some visual evidence for vegetarianism in relation to world hunger. But Honoring God's Creation is a great start, and a worth-while viewing experience in itself. Let's see that it gets the widest possible distribution.

—Robert Ellwood

Review: Apples & Oranges

Bob Pyle, Apples & Oranges. CD, with lyrics included, from Pyle Publishing, PO Bx 99, Ellicott City, MD 21041. $14.95

Here the troubadour of vegetarianism and the animals rights movement presents some of his favorite songs, with titles like "When They Close the Golden Arches," "Petunia the Pig," "Factory Style," or "The Seaweed Song." These variants on the Sons of the Pioneers, Sixties’ balladeers, and even the Salvation Army are written and sung in classic country-western style, with down-home talk and foot-tapping rhythm. Some are nostalgic, some protest songs in the great tradition of Bob Dylan or the "Wobblies," some slapstick parody. The standard American heartland heroes here find their guitar-strumming bard: the lonesome cowboy, the apple-pie mom, the idealistic lover, the embittered workman. But with a difference: instead of punching cows, the son of the golden West loves the gentle creatures around him; memories of country childhood are only of organic taters and live roosters that crow every dawn with nothing to worry about, love is for pigs and chickens as well as other sweethearts, and the protest is over souls even more exploited than the laborers who fought the epic union battles of yore. Most all folk in the right eating and right treatment movements with a softness in their hearts for both Nashville and the "critters" will want to get this CD and sing along.

—Robert Ellwood

Review: The Lost Religion of Jesus

The Lost Religion of Jesus by Keith Akers. New York: Lantern Books, 2000. 260 pp, $20.00.

According to author Akers, Jesus (Yeshua) was a vegetarian pacifist rabbi, and his early followers, particularly his brother Jacob (James) were vegetarian pacifist Jews. A follower of Jesus need not embrace every aspect of Judaism, says Akers, but s/he should at least become a serious vegetarian and pacifist, one who thinks and acts with love and respect toward all living beings.

On pages 101 to 134, the heart and core of the book, Akers presents a strong case that Jesus was firmly opposed to animal sacrifice, and that his action in the Temple was partly motivated by his intent to stop it—which may well have been one of the main reasons he was put to death. If so, this would make him the first martyr of animal liberation. When we read Jesus' quoting Jeremiah 7:11 about God's house having become "a den of robbers," we should not stop there, says Akers, but read on in Jeremiah 7 to verse 22: "Indeed I did not speak to your ancestors, neither did I command them, when I brought them out of Egypt, about burnt offerings or sacrifices." Jahweh's point, in this passage, is not merely that sacrifices must be sincere or accompanied by righteousness; he never commanded them at all. Similar passages appear in Amos, Isaiah and other prophets.

There is no question but that the so-called Books of Moses do include many pages of instructions about animal sacrifices (in the Priestly Document, or P), but most mainline scholars agree that Moses could not have written them in their present form; they date from a period as late as a thousand years after Moses. Thus scholarship appears to confirm what Jeremiah and others asserted—that animal sacrifice was not part of the original Law of Moses.

Scholars have differed about the core of Jesus' intent in his Temple action; traditionally it was called "the cleansing of the Temple," meaning that he wanted to clean it up from dishonest money exchangers (and, perhaps, animal droppings). Others hold that he was making a symbolic attack on the Temple, which was under the control of a priestly hierarchy claiming a monopoly on access to God, and exploiting the impoverished mass of the people. The truth, according to Akers and the Ebionites (early Jewish Christians who followed Jesus' brother James, identified with the poor, and were vegetarian), is somewhere between these two positions: Jesus wanted to cleanse the Temple from all animal slaughter as well as from all buying, selling, and exploitation, making it again into a true House of Prayer.

But could Jesus in fact have been vegetarian? The four canonical Gospels have stories in which he is shown to promote fishing, eat fish, and feed it to others. But Akers makes a case that when one reads the stories carefully, comparing variant texts and parallel passages, one may conclude that Jesus did not actually eat fish himself. Other scholars—Robert Graves, Joshua Podro, Hugh Joseph Schoenfield, Hyam Maccoby, et al., though they do not mention the issue of vegetarianism, have also made the point that the Ebionites, as they were led by the family of Jesus, were far more likely to have preserved his views and practices than did Paul, who never met Jesus in mortal life. Still other Christian vegetarians take the position that Jesus, existing in a cultural situation of great deprivation, may well have accepted the eating of fish as necessary, but that this fact does not constitute a model for us in our very different culture.

Keith Akers does not advocate a restoration of the Ebionite church/movement, only the practice of simple living and a vegan diet—for the sake of the animals, of the planet, and of our own souls. His book provides a strong defense of a Christianity that is animal-friendly as well as committed to the welfare of impoverished human beings.

In my opinion, the 20th-century person most in keeping with the convictions of Jesus as seen by the Ebionites was Mohandas Gandhi. Though his Hindu convictions may not have been acceptable either to Jesus or James, he was a staunch practitioner of pacifism, nonviolent resistance, vegetarianism, voluntary poverty/simplicity, and one who venerated Jesus. "The only people on earth," said Gandhi, "who do not see Christ and his teachings as nonviolent are Christians."

—Benjamin Urrutia

My Pilgrimage

I was a Fish Killer

Early Years

I first fished at age five, with my brother Greg, who is one year younger. Each of us caught a perch out of a lake in St. Paul, Minnesota. Fascinated, we watched the two perch swim around in a small bucket until first one and then the other died. I don't remember what happened to their bodies, but I know they were not large enough to eat. Perch are plentiful, and easy to hook, and are therefore considered to be a good species for practice fishing. Many members from both sides of my family were fishers, as well as hunters, trappers, and ranchers. . . . Like most children, we learned what we were taught, setting aside whatever qualms we may have felt. Our mother raised us to care for cats and dogs, and we regularly took in strays, despite housing project rules which forbade it. However, we were told that fish had no feelings, and we killed them with abandon. . . . Sometimes they were eaten, and sometimes they were simply thrown away. The most important thing was the acquisition: the victory.

In our early teens we also fished for carp. Although they are considered a "trash" species, not recognized as "game," they are much larger and fight much harder. Carp typically were left to suffocate on the shore. We were told this was good for the other fish in the lake, as carp supposedly turned the bottom to mud. Sometimes I would give a fleeting thought to whether these animals suffered as they lay gasping on the shore. Like catfish and bullheads, carp take a long time to suffocate. After a while, we would hit carps' heads with rocks to kill them quickly. Once we brought M-80 firecrackers to the lake. We stuffed one into the gill of a large carp, lit the waterproof fuse, and released him. Seconds later the water erupted in a red spray. When the muddy water cleared, we saw the carp's head, blasted away from his body. I watched tentacles of flesh sway back and forth in the current. Small fish inspected them with curiosity. For some reason we felt bad about this, although no one said anything in particular. . . .

In our late teens we got our own cars, and turned our attention to different lakes and larger game fish . . .. Often we bought large sucker minnows as bait. . . . The suckers were thrown out and suspended under a bobber. . . big enough to prevent the minnow from pulling it underwater, but small enough to be taken down by a larger predator as it grabbed the minnow. Although we were told, and wanted to believe, that fish did not feel fear or pain, we almost always knew when a predator approached the sucker. The bobber would begin to bounce and move; although the sucker wasn't big enough to sink the bobber, his or her panic was obvious. The bobber jerked, pulsed, and slowly dragged across the water as the bigger fish approached. Often the predator would only strike the sucker and let go, probably sensing that something was wrong. We would reel the smaller fish in to find him, or her, often still alive but ripped to shreds. At one point I decided that live bait fishing was cruel and not particularly "sporting," and I pursued my prey thereafter with artificial lures or dead bait. This, I felt, would be more humane.

As time went on, we increasingly often addressed matters of ethics and conservation, at least superficially. Spokespeople for fishing began talking of catch-and- release. This, they assured, would secure both the future of our victims, and the tradition of humans harassing and killing them. In catch-and-release, we would hook our prey, allow them to suffer as they fought for their lives, and then release them, hoping they would survive to endure this torture again. What we never bothered to admit was that any supposed quest for food, our supposed primary objective as hunters, played no part in our new ethic. . . . At about the same time catch-and-release became popular, there came another move to make fish abuse more "sporting." This time the ethical gurus decided that fishers should use lighter gear to fight our victims. It was of course no accident that the move spawned a whole new avenue for profit. . . . For me, ultra-light methods were a very successful method of destroying many species of fish.

Of course, using ultra-light gear condemned our victims to more suffering than ever in the name of sportsmanship. We thought it was great. A small fish could be fought not for a couple minutes, but perhaps for a quarter of an hour, half an hour, or more. As someone who invested heavily in ultra-light gear, I was able to in some cases extend my victims' misery for hours. I even wrote articles on the subject that appeared in local fishing magazines.

Coming of age

As I reached my early twenties, I continued my quest for bigger fish. One goal was to catch a fish over forty pounds. . . . When I wasn't fishing, I was either working to make the money I needed to pursue fish, planning my next expedition, or reading up on my obsession. A library book about shark fishing almost immediately convinced me to try it. Over the next few months, I made ready for a trip to the Atlantic Ocean.

At first, my conversion to shark fishing seemed to quell a fairly quiet but nagging voice suggesting that killing animals, especially those much smaller than me, was not completely defensible as a hobby. . . . In the spring of 1985 I drove to Montauk Point, Long Island, New York. I immediately found that my preparations were completely inadequate. Nevertheless, by a stroke of luck and macho stupidity, I succeeded in killing a seven-and-a-half foot, 230-pound mako shark, despite of my undersized boat and equipment. My fish story about the one who didn't get away was written up in the New York Daily News.

For the next few years I heard my story retold by those who did not know I was the human participant, and it was a real ego boost. Fishermen love to tell stories, whether their own or someone else's. Every year, the fish became larger and the boat became smaller. In truth, I had ambushed a fish who was merely seeking a meal, and subjected him to five hours of agony before killing him. For some years the mounted shark hung as a trophy on my office wall. At home were other mounted animal bodies, testimony to my insecurity, insensitivity, and willingness to kill for fun. As I look back, the whole thing seems quite macabre.

Over the next few years I went to the ocean at least twice a year, for two or three weeks at a time. I bought a new boat, made for ocean fishing, and named it the One Resolve, because of my determination to hunt and kill a rare thousand-plus-pound great white shark.

I stole the lives of uncounted victims of many species. But what should have been a killer's dream come true was somehow losing its luster over time and death. On occasion we would go night fishing for tuna offshore. Tuna are large, very strong fish, with rigid bodies. Once pulled onto the deck of the boat, they beat their tails incredibly fast and furiously. They can break a fisherman's foot. When the bite was on, the deck could literally be full of tuna struggling for life. In order to keep them still, we simply put a cloth over their exposed eye to block the light and calm them, much as you would calm a horse. This was a problem. Much like a horse? How much like a horse? I wouldn't do this to a horse. Why was I doing this? For years, I managed not to answer that question.

The Baby and the Big One

. . . . My brother and I encountered a baby mako shark next to the boat . . . Mako sharks are fearsome-looking, with large gnarly teeth and coal-black eyes that make them look as if always enraged. But this miniature version, of about twenty pounds, was just plain cute, like a lion cub trying to strut his stuff with baby growls and tiny hops, feigning attack. My brother Greg asked if he could catch the baby, and have him mounted. This was a common practice, but one that I abhorred. This was, after all, a baby. From a fisher's view, however, he was also a lot cheaper to mount, and did not require the room a large fish did to display. Initially I refused to allow the capture, but when the baby hung around, a sorry version of brotherly love won out. No effort at all was required to capture the baby. Greg stuck a dead hooked mackeral in front of him, he grabbed it, was hooked, and Greg swung him into the boat, into a fish hold. We did not shoot or even hit the baby in the head: that would ruin the mount. I don't remember how long it took him to die, but it was very long. Every now and then I would open the hatch to see if he was dead yet, and he would look at me. Sharks can move their eyes to a point, and they can and do follow activities around them. I will never forget that baby watching me as I waited for him to die. This was probably the lowest I dropped in my long history of killing.

Then came the day that a friend and I hooked into the largest mako shark I ever saw. She looked like an ICBM missile when she jumped, and my friend and I were so fearful that our legs shook. This was going to be the trophy of our lives. For the next two hours we fought and fought just to get the huge animal close to the boat. But a short time after the fish began the familiar circling around the boat that indicated the start of fatigue, the hook pulled out. Probably she had been "foul hooked," meaning hooked in the body somewhere other than the mouth. Our dreams of a "monster kill" were shattered. We fished the area for the rest of our trip, but without ever so much as seeing our "trophy" again.

When we were ready to leave for home, we were still sulking like scolded puppies. I moaned and groaned my disappointment to the marina manager, with whom I had become good friends. His response was not what I expected. He looked me in the eye and said, "Steve, I'm glad you didn't kill that fish." I was so taken aback, I said nothing. He told me that such a large mako was almost certainly a female. He said he recently learned that females had to attain many hundreds of pounds before even reaching the age of giving birth. With the mako population in serious decline, he said, we had to stop killing them. This made sense to me, even if I still wanted that "trophy."

But then he said, "I'll tell you the truth, I just don't know how much more of this killing I can take." Oh s--t. Now that nagging voice I was hearing for years wasn't just in the back of my mind any more. It was being voiced right in front me, by a friend. I didn't know what to say, except to murmur that I respected his right to his opinion. I didn't say that I was having a tougher and tougher time trying to deny this feeling in myself.

One of the last straws occurred at a most odd time. I was fishing with a friend and working companion named Rick, with whom I had taken a number of successful fishing trips in the past. We hooked a 200-pound mako shark right at the end of the day. The fish jumped repeatedly and fought hard, all of which we should have enjoyed immensely. Having brought the victim to the side of the boat, I made a good shot with my .357 magnum revolver. . . . As the beautiful luminescent blue of the mako began to turn to turn gray with death, I turned to Rick and said, "You know, I just don't enjoy this the way I used to." There. I had said it. That nagging feeling that had dogged me for so long now had a voice, and was my own. But things got stranger when Rick, his smile disappearing, said, "You know, I feel the same way." What was my world coming to?

Hegins: The End and the Beginning

I don't know how long I might have been able to ignore my awareness that I was doing something indefensible. It might have gone on for years. Fortunately, Hegins, Pennsylvania lay close to the route I took from Chicago to Montauk. On the way to my boat in 1989, I chose to stop and see the infamous Hegins Labor Day pigeon shoot. After witnessing my first pigeon shoot, my perception of my animal trophies was never the same.

. . . . Initially, it never crossed my mind that I would actually stop doing what I had done for three decades. My intention was to stop these vile pigeon shoots, and then go on with the vile things I was doing. I approached many of my hunting and fishing friends for help in fighting pigeon shoots, which as I explained, were not only unethical, but cast all of us "legitimate sportsmen" in a bad light. With the exception of my brother, none of the great hunting "conservationists" were willing to take any time away from killing to actually try to help animals.

It was about a year before I gave up blood sports. God knows how I fought to continue to kill. Leaving blood sports meant accepting a whole new set of values, and eventually coming to terms with owing a debt I could never repay. But after Hegins, it became clear that I would have to try. Greg and I buried our "trophy" victims, including my first shark and the baby mako, in a grave on our family property, next to the graves of beloved nonhuman family members. I donated the One Resolve to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. As I tearfully bade her good-bye, I renamed her the New Resolve, for she would now be used to save lives instead of taking them . . . .

When I first talked to activists about fishing, at Hegins in 1989, one person asked me, "Would you still fish if they had vocal cords?" I believe the answer in most cases would be no. Fishing is as popular as it is precisely because fish do not have the ability to communicate suffering as readily as cats, dogs, cows, or other mammals. But I know they suffer tremendously, just as we would if subjected to such horrendous treatment. While many people may at first be taken aback at the mere suggestion that fish can suffer, I believe society can grasp the concept. And if we can make people feel for those who cannot cry out their suffering, how much more will they feel for those who can?

—Steve Hindi

Steve is the founder of SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK), an organization that opposes all cruelty to animals in the name of sport, as well as all threats and violence in defense of animals. This article is abridged from his essay in Animal People, May 1996, and may also be read on his website

Odds and Ends

Interview with Master Yoda

Interviewer: Master Yoda, I've always thought your name was related to the Hebrew term "Yodea," meaning "He knows," but I read in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia that it may be related to the Sanskrit "Yoddha," meaning "Warrior." So, are you the One who Knows or the Great Warrior?"

Yoda: Great Warrior? Hah! Wars not make one great.

I: My apologies, Master. I fear that was the question of a fool.

Y: A fool no questioner is. By asking, wiser he becomes.

I: Then I shall be so bold as to ask what is that wonderful smell coming from your cooking pot?

Y: Root stew. Come, eat, ready now it should be. Cold do not let it become.

I: Thank you. . . .Mmm, this is delicious. It reminds me of carrots, onions, potatoes . . . but different, a touch of wildness. May I have a second?

Y: Another helping you may have. More discernment have you than Skywalker's son. Wrinkled up his face, he did.

I: Have you always eaten roots, Master Yoda?

Y: Since from the egg hatched I was, thus have I eaten. Roots and leaves, fruits and berries, pod-fruit and seeds.

I: So you don't eat meat?

Y: With all living beings through the Force am I connected--so, how could I kill them to eat their corpses? Like killing and eating myself, it would be. Tasty I am sure I am not.

I: Master Yoda, I know we are all connected through the Force. I promise you that in the future I shall try to eat only plants.

Y: Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.

—Benjamin Urrutia

Pioneers: Thomas Tryon

Thomas Tryon, born into the English working class in 1634, lived up to his surname by trying on different occupations--spinning, shepherding, hatting--as well as sampling one or two of the spiritual movements proliferating at that time.

He had taught himself to read and write, and his investigation of the writings of German mystic Jacob Boehme brought about a spiritual conversion. "The blessed day-star of the Lord began to arise and shine in my heart and soul, and the [female] Voice of Wisdom . . . called upon me for separation and self-denial. . ." At first he limited his diet to water, bread, and fruit, but later his spiritual guide Wisdom allowed him to include butter and cheese as well.

His vegetarian regime was not motivated only by asceticism; when he began to write, in his middle years, he referred to it as "innocency of living," an allusion to the life of Eden:

For there is greater evil and misery attends mankind by killing, horrifying and oppressing his fellow creatures and eating their flesh . . . than is generally apprehended or imagined. Man's strong inclination after flesh and his making so light and small a matter of killing and oppressing the inferior creatures, does manifest what principle has got the dominion in him; for had man continued . . . in the power of the humane nature and followed the voice and dictates of the divine principle which he was created to live in, he would have been far from oppressing, killing or eating the flesh and blood of the beasts, which was not allowed him in the beginning. . . [M]an was created to . . . live in the power of the divine principle and therefore was put into a garden amongst innocent herbs, fruits and grains which were intended and ordained for his food . . . [I]t should be considered that flesh and fish cannot be eaten without violence and doing that which a man would not be done unto . . .

Tryon was also convinced that the vegetarian diet was optimal for health, and wrote books, including a cookbook, with this emphasis.

Now, the sorts of foods and drinks that breed the best blood and finest spirits are herbs, fruits and various kind of grains . . . so likewise oil is an excellent thing of nature, more sublime and pure than butter."

He objected to meat consumption partly because

flesh has more matter for corruption, and nothing so soon turns to putrefaction. Now, 'tis certain, such sorts of food as are subject to putrify before they are eaten, are also liable to the same afterwards.

He held that the cruelty inflicted upon animals affected those who ate them:

over-driving, abuses of cruel butchers . . . renders their flesh still more unwholesome.

He was very much aware that cultural numbing is involved in making people oblivious to the horror of a meat market.

What an ill and ungrateful sight is it to behold dead carcasses and pieces of bloody, raw flesh! It would undoubtedly appear dreadful and no man but would abhor to think of putting it in his mouth, had not Use and Custom from generation to generation familiarised it to us . . . .

Tryon did not limit his pen to the issue of vegetarianism; he wrote as well on the abuses of Black slavery, on education, economics, and simplicity of life. His advocacy of silent worship and pacifism appear to have been influences on the beginnings of the Society of Friends.

—derived from The Heretic's Feast by Colin Spencer


In the two poems for this month, the respective narrators describe, vividly and compassionately, a single wild animal out of her/his nest, and compare the animal's situation to his own. In style, however, the two works could hardly be more different, and the conclusions drawn are equally opposed. Cullen's "To a Waterfowl" is written in English that has a biblical sound to contemporary ears, and just as some characters in the Bible are providentially protected, this bird is safe from any hunter with ill intent. And though separated from the flock with whom we would expect to find her migrating, she is sure to reach her fellows, and her secure nest, by nightfall. The mystery of her navigational skill is attributed to a Power that cares, both for her and, by extension, for the narrator.

The hapless mouse of Burns' dialect poem, however, is made homeless shortly before winter descends by the unintentional act of a sympathetic narrator who doesn't begrudge the bit of food she eats, and considers himself her "earth-born companion / And fellow mortal." He sees his own lot as similar to hers, but worse; she lives only in the moment, but he, spiritually homeless, anxiously contemplate both past and future, and sees only "prospects drear."

To a Mouse
On Turning Up Her Nest with the Plow, November 1785

Wee, sleekit, cowrin', tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start aw' sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I was be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
And justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin' wi' the laive,
And never miss't!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin'!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin',
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin' fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,—
Till, crash! the cruel coulter passed
Out through thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou's turned out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreich cauld!

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men,
Gang aft a-gley,
An' lea'e us naught but grief an' pain,
For promised joy!

Still, thou art blest, compared wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
Buth, och! I backward cast my e'e
On prospects drear!
An' forward, though I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

—Robert Burns

To a Waterfowl

Whither, midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
Far, through their rosy depth, dost thou pursue
Thy solitary way?

Vainly the fowler's eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
As, darkly painted on the crimson sky,
Thy figure floats along.

Seek'st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
Or where the rocking billows rise and sink
On the chafed ocean-side?

There is a Power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast,—
The desert and illimitable air,—
Lone wandering, but not lost.

All day thy wings have fanned
At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere,
Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,
Though the dark night is near.

And soon that toil shall end;
Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest,
And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend,
Soon, o'er thy sheltered nest.

Thou'rt gone, the abyss of heaven
Hath swallowed up thy form; yet, on my heart
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given,
And shalt not soon depart.

He who, from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
I the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright.

—William Cullen Bryant

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 September issue will be August 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