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 Feast of Abundant Life

"Behold, I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that you and your descendents may live" (Deut. 30:19.)

These words, attributed to Moses, speak to many. Most people intend to choose life for themselves and others, at least the others in their family, ethnic group, or nation. The feast of Thanksgiving, much less corrupted from its original intent than Christmas, is still to a great extent an event in which the intention is to celebrate abundant life.

The vast majority of US-Americans and Canadians regard the laden table, centered in a roast turkey, with feelings of gratification and thanks. And they want to share. A feast is never a solitary affair; it feels not only appropriate but necessary for others, family and relatives and perhaps a friend, to join in celebrating this abundance by eating of it heartily. The vegetarian/vegan member who holds back and refuses a portion of the centerpiece (and perhaps also objects to cow's milk in the mashed potatoes and eggs in the pumpkin pie) seems to be sounding a sour, ascetic note: to be ungratefully turning her or his back on life, to be opting for scarcity and half-life, if not death.

In the face of such seemingly rational family convictions, strengthened by numbers and the security of long-accustomed ways, how is the lone vegetarian to communicate the painful irony involved in celebrating abundant life by eating a corpse, the corpse of a tormented innocent who also wanted life?

When all are gathered around the table is not a good time to bring up the subject; it has to be discussed beforehand. Unhappily, in some hard-core instances, very little communication can take place; virtually anything the vegetarian says, however gently and tactfully (some of us, of course, are neither), is taken as an attack, an insult to the cook and a rejection of the family. In such a case, if the vegetarian is an adult, the best course of action may be not to attend the event. The child or young teen is likely to be in an impossible position, humanly speaking, and can only hold to distant friends as the family of the heart, and to God as our compassionate Mother, Father and Friend.

In instances where the family shows some willingness to meet the"errant" (which originally referred to adventurous travel) member halfway, it can be helpful for her or him to demonstrate, e.g. by contributing a delectable vegan entree or eggless pie, that scarcity is emphatically not the vegetarian's message. This point cannot be overemphasized. As Carol J. Adams says in Living Among Meat Eaters, in any communal meal involving animal products, it is crucial that the vegetarian provide for her/himself by bringing something s/he can eat. If it is an exceptionally imaginative and delicious dish, it may even arouse interest and begin to dispel the scarcity mystique. The old adage about the way to a man's heart can have a deeper meaning!

Probably the most important thing the vegetarian of faith can bring to the feast is Hope, arising from commitment to the divine Light of love as the ultimate reality in the heart of every person, however tightly closed to her/his own compassion (at present). God's love for such persons never fails, and we must be channels for this love. We may not see any result from our efforts to encourage them to come to know their own hearts, but we see so little of the total reality of human existence! We do not know the full effects of what we do and say: seeds planted with love now may shoot up, bloom and bear in the lives of other people we have yet to meet; they may bear fruit even after death, on other planes of being.

Those of us who are blessed with vegetarian/vegan families can feast with the deepest gratitude, and can represent the eschatological feast in which God is host and no one is shut out.

Thanksgiving is meaningful in part because every meal is not meant to be a feast. In fantasy and romance literature we often find a pattern of movement between the Feast and the Quest. Arthurian knights gather at Camelot for the feast of Pentecost, enjoying bounty, celebrating their ideals, perhaps even rejoicing in a vision of the Grail. Afterwards, they ride out to seek the Grail and/or defend the innocent from violence, the while eating moderately of simple food they can carry. In The Lord of the Rings, the Hobbits on their anti-quest to destroy the Ring of Power can now and then enjoy an abundant dinner with Tom Bombadil or the High Elves, but most of the time they are traveling on foot, sleeping on the ground, and eating their plain waybread. In a world in which so many beings are suffering from hunger, we must eat moderately most of the time.

Friends, on this holyday let us keep the feast of abundant life. Then let us take the adventure that is sent us.

—Gracia Fay Ellwood

News Notes


"No man shall exercise any Tirrany or Crueltie toward any bruite Creatures which are usually kept for man's use."

--Body of Liberties
Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1641

Reflecting Elephants

A recent article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes a study with three elephants in the Bronx Zoo in New York conducted by researchers from the Yerkes Primate Center in Atlanta and Columbia University. The intention was to find out whether, like human beings and other primates, elephants show signs of recognizing their reflections in a mirror.

A large plastic mirror was put in the enclosure with the elephants. Rather than reacting socially to their image as though it were another animal, the elephants used it to scrutinize themselves, e.g., to examine inside their mouths and ears. They became very taken with its possibilities: "After the first few days, they were spending quite a bit of time in front of the mirror," said researcher Joshua Plotnik; at times they even took their food to eat in front of it. Significantly, one of the elephants, Happy, perceiving a (chalked) mark on her head that could be seen only in the mirror, used her trunk to touch it repeatedly, a standard test of self-awareness developed more than thirty years ago by a biologist from SUNY. The elephants also tried to look behind the mirror, knelt down to look under it, even tried to climb the wall holding it. Primatologist Frans de Waal (whose recent book was reviewed in the March 2006 PT) commented that such behavior is typical for self-aware animals.

Does not such behavior also tell us that human beings are not the only ones who qualify as persons?

Brain Food

More good news for vegetarians! A new study has shown that eating two or more green, leafy vegetables a day may decrease the decline in thinking ability during later adulthood by as much as 40%. Scientists suspect that vegetables may help protect memory and thinking speed because they contain high amounts of vitamin E, an antioxidant that can help reduce the damage caused by free radicals, unstable oxygen molecules generated by normal metabolism that can damage neurons in the brain and contribute to dementia. However, researchers didn’t find the same properties with fruit, possibly because the most common antioxidant found in them is Vitamin C, which hasn’t been consistently found to protect against mental deterioration. To read the full article please visit brainpowerinolderadults (no gap between "boost" and "brain")

--Contributed by Lorena Mucke
Editor, Take Heart

(By contrast, it is known that arteries to the brain clogged with plaques, which are fostered by eating animal products, can lead to multiple mini-strokes that hasten dementia.)

A Message from HIPPO

HIPPO (Help International Plant Protein Organization) is a British charity that assists people in developing countries, principally Africa, to build better lives for themselves via vegan farming practices and other forms of assistance. Here is an excerpt from their letter of October 29, 2006:

"Dear Friends,

"World Vision are at it again. Among the many undoubtedly good things they do on a scale that HIPPO can yet only aspire to, are the following items in their latest 'Alternative Gift Catalogue.' Once again the accompanying photographs invoke the natural affinity between children and animals to give a misleading aura of kindness to their callous exploitation of the latter.

"Happy moo year: a dairy cow
Surprise someone with a cow for Christmas - and bring hope on hooves to a child in Kisumu, Kenya. Many orphans here care for their younger siblings, so a dairy cow near their school will provide much needed milk and an income, which will help pay for school fees and provide a future livelihood. As the cows have calves, they'll 'moove' on and be shared with others in the community. [And so on, with items hawking goats, chickens, sheep, and pigs.]

" This rather puerile 'humour' might not be quite so bad as Christian Aid's 'Animal Multiplying Machine' . . . but does it give you the impression of an organisation that cares about animals? To say nothing of the environment. Or even human health?

"95% of black Africans are lactose intolerant and suffer health problems ranging from mild to severe as a result of drinking cow's milk. Any animal milk is an ideal culture for the growth and transmission of pathological bacteria, especially in places where hygiene, storage and distribution are difficult. Of all animals that are . . . threatening to the health of humans, especially in the tropics and especially when kept in close contact with people, the most dangerous are pigs. They might soon be joined by poultry, especially chickens kept in close association with families, as avian flu has already reached the border of Kenya in Sudan.

Yours truly,

To find out more about HIPPO, click on

Film Review: Open Season

Open Season, A computer-animated film by Sony Pictures. Directed by Jill Culton, Roger Allers, and Anthony Stacchi. Rated PG. 2006.

As soon as Open Season opened, it shot to the top of the box office charts. This was a happy surprise for us of The Peaceable Table, considering that several animal-friendly movies we were rooting for did not do very well. Why did this one do so much better?

Perhaps it was because most people in this nation--and many elsewhere--experienced in our childhoods the trauma of the violent death of Bambi's mother. So we were waiting for a long time (half a century in my case!) for a movie in which the forest critters would repel the death-dealing aggression of the hunters. But why did we have to wait so long? Perhaps because the denizens of the forest could not unite against the invaders until they had a worthy leader?

The Alpha Stag in this film, being a braggart and a bully, could not be that hero. However, even Bambi himself could not have led a strong defense against humans; he knew nothing about us, he never even saw a human. Obviously, what was needed was an animal raised by humans and familiar with our ways, qualifying him to use man's tools against him.

The hero of the hour appears in the person of Boog (voiced by Martin Lawrence), a gargantuan but good-natured grizzly bear. Orphaned as a cub, he was adopted and raised by kindly Beth the Park Ranger (voiced by Debra Messing). He is not her "pet," or even her companion animal; he is her child, her baby. They are a happy family of two.

But not everybody is happy about this wild animal living in town. Paradoxically, the two who are most opposed are Beth's best friend and her worst enemy. There could not be two more different people in this world. The friend is Gordon (voiced by Gordon Tootosisis), the wise old Native American police chief--a great character, whose part in the story one could wish were bigger. Gordon gently reminds Beth that Boog ought to be returned to the wild.

Beth and Gordon's enemy--and the enemy of all animals--is the psychotic hunter Shaw (voiced by Gary Sinise). He looks, acts, and sounds like the devil incarnate, but he is really not so much evil as insane: a sociopath and a paranoid schizophrenic. (For a truly evil hunter, a desalmado [in Spanish, a soulless man], see The Rescuers Down Under.) Nothing quite as bad as that here. And the other hunters are even less evil than Shaw: they are Ordinary Joes who do not realize the monstrous thing they are doing by planning to kill the animals. This point is realistic: most of the world's evil is done by people who know not what they do.

Most hunters semi-patiently wait for the beginning of hunting season to begin dealing out death. Not so Shaw. He jumps off road to run down a deer, and lies that it was an accident. But bad karma gets him. His outrageous misdeed starts a chain reaction of events that eventually punishes his wickedness and, more importantly, teaches him what it is like to be a hunted animal. The deer he injured, Elliot (voiced by Ashton Kutcher) is very far from dead, and makes mischief that gets Boog banished to the forest. There, after much slapstick and several disasters, he becomes the heroic leader the animals need. As the saying goes, he has greatness thrust upon him.

The movie is a fine voice for the voiceless as well as first-class entertainment.

—Benjamin Urrutia

Book Review: Pet Ghosts


Joshua P. Warren, Pet Ghosts: Animal Encounters from Beyond the Grave. Franklin Lakes, NJ: New Page Books. 235 pp. $14.95 softcover.


Is the cherished pet of yesteryear really dead and gone? Have you ever, despite all reason and common sense, felt the beloved animal's presence, or ever seen, heard, smelled, or felt something that brought her or him back to mind--or maybe was the presence of the vanished companion?

Not everyone involved in vegetarianism, or animal rights, takes an interest in issues like these, or in the tales that accompany them. But hear me out. Joshua Warrren, a psychic investigator, tells some fascinating stories, and raises some issues that may be relevant to animal concerns, though coming from an unusual direction.


Admittedly, the first 77 pages of this book are rather theoretical, and may tell some readers, eager to get to the actual cases, more than they feel they need to know about the history and physics of animal ghosts. But then the contemporary narratives arrive, and they are hard-hitting. There is an eerie, unforgettable acount of the killing and grisly revenge of a slaughtered pig--and all but a single member of the family have not eaten meat since. There's the ghost parrot who, seeing and knowing all, revealed a young woman's infidelity to her fiance. And the ghost horses of South Carolina--on a farm located on what had once been a slave cemetery--that were real enough to be photographed. Not to mention a nightmarish spectral pterodactyl (not exactly a pet) who had perhaps lingered hundreds of millions of years past his/her/its time. More common, of course, are the cherished dogs and cats that will not go gently into that good night, but insist on staying with their bereaved people a while longer, making themselves known by anything from a bedtime purr to an unmistakable wet-dog smell in the garage.


Regrettably, Pet Ghosts wanders again toward the end, into rather technical information on how to observe ghosts scientifically, which may be of value to some but does not seem to me to belong in this particular book. Then appear many pages from out of the lore of cryptozoology, the investigation of rumors of undocumented creatures like Bigfoot or the famous Mothman of West Virginia; this folklore is also intriguing, but does not seem pertinent to pet ghosts.


At the end, though, the book gets back on target with questions of what it all means. Warren quotes Brad Steiger to the effect that "Their returning from the dead is, in our opinion, evidence that our pets have souls." That sums it up. We can call it soul, or consciousness, or the will to live, or undying love--whatever name is used, the point is that that which dwells in us can also be recognized in all sorts of ways in our nonhuman companions. One does not even need to believe all accounts of pet ghosts--though one should not reject them out of hand, but look into these phenomena with an open mind--in order to be stimulated to think in a new way about animals and our relationship with them. Perhaps the case of the slaughtered pig, in particular, was the return of the consciousness of an animal who had loved and trusted his people and felt betrayed and murdered; or perhaps it was a projection of the deep remorse the family afterwards felt when they realized what they had done. Either way, the event led to a profound lifestyle change in nearly all of them.


Read and decide for yourself. Either way, you won't forget Pet Ghosts.


--Robert Ellwood


Gingerbread Cookies

1 ¼ cups organic sugar
1 cup Earth Balance (2 sticks)
4 T. vanilla soy milk
3 T. molasses
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups organic unbleached flour
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt

Combine sugar and Earth Balance in large mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Add soy milk, molasses and vanilla. Continue to beat until well mixed (1 -2 minutes). Reduce speed to low and add remaining ingredients. Beat until well mixed.

Divide dough into thirds. Shape each third into a ball; flatten. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm. May be stored in refrigerator for a few days until ready to bake.

Preheat oven 375°
Roll dough out on lightly floured surface, one third at a time; use cookie cutters for desired shapes. place on ungreased cookie sheet about one inch apart. Bake 6 to 9 minutes depending on thickness of the cookies. Remove from oven, let sit one minute; then remove to cooling racks until thoroughly cool.

May be frosted with a confectioner’s sugar, Earth Balance, and soy or rice milk frosting.

I volunteer with an organization, Infinite Family, where I mentor a youth in South Africa who has been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The core staff of the Infinite Family recently visited South Africa where the children/youth who are part of the program live. My friend Geneva and I were able to bake and send these gingerbread cookies to the children and staff at the Haven. It is wonderful to share delicious cookies with children who live nearly 9,000 miles from my home. We baked 20 dozen cookies – 19 dozen of which were sent to South Africa and one dozen were shared among our children. The cookies taste especially good because they are vegan, made with lots of love, and shared with family members we have yet to meet!

Butternut Squash and Cannellini Pasta
Serves 4 -6

1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
¾ small hot banana pepper (red), minced
3 T. Earth Balance Buttery Spread (stick)
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into finger length pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp. rosemary powder
1 ½ T. light vegetable broth powder (or 2 ½ cups light vegetable broth)
2 cups water (if NOT using vegetable broth)
2 T. fresh mint, chopped
2 cups white beans (cannellini), cooked
¼ cup pignoli nuts (pine nuts), lightly toasted
In large skillet, sauté onion and pepper in Earth Balance until onion begins to soften. Add butternut squash, garlic, rosemary and 2 cups broth or water, and bring to light boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook until squash is tender and breaks up easily with wooden spoon, about 15 -20 minutes. Add white beans, stir to combine, and cook 5 minutes, until beans are warmed through. At this point the additional ½ cup of broth may be added if the sauce is too dry. However, do not make the broth too “soupy.” Add fresh mint and stir to combine.

While butternut squash sauce is cooking, cook pasta al dente. Drain. Place in pasta bowl, coat lightly with olive oil to prevent sticking. Toss with butternut squash and white bean sauce; sprinkle on pine nuts and serve immediately. Garnish with Vegan Parmesan and additional mint, if desired.

This creation came at the end of summer as I harvested our crop of butternut squash. The blend of flavors allows the memories of summer to linger as the anticipation of autumn mounts with cooler days and evenings.
Pine nuts may be lightly toasted in a dry skillet over medium heat. Continually stir pine nuts with a wooden spoon or shake the skillet for about 2 minutes—being very careful not to brown or burn the pine nuts. Set aside until ready to use.

Besciamella (White Sauce)
makes about 2 ½ cups

2 cups soy milk
3 T. Earth Balance buttery substitute (stick)
3 T. organic unbleached all-purpose flour
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper
pinch fresh ground nutmeg
½ tsp. whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
thick slice onion

Heat soy milk in saucepan and infuse it with black peppercorns, nutmeg, bay leaf, onion-- just drop the herbs and spices in the soy milk. Do not let soy milk boil, but keep it hot. Allow flavors to infuse for at least 20 minutes; then strain to remove peppercorns, onion, and bay leaf.
In another saucepan melt the Earth Balance over medium heat. When it is bubbling, add the flour all at once, stirring constantly with a whisk. Let the mixture cook for 3 minutes. Careful --do not let it burn or scorch.
Remove pan from heat, add the strained hot soy milk, stirring the entire time.
Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Put the sauce back on the heat, and stir constantly until it begins to boil.
Lower the heat and cook the sauce, stirring , until it is thick and glossy. Use immediately.

But if you do not want to use immediately-- Using Earth Balance, grease a piece of wax paper and push it, greased side down, onto the surface of the sauce. Keep all air off the surface of the sauce. It can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.

The sauce can be made thinner or thicker simply by adding more or less of the liquid or solid ingredients. If sauce is too thick, add a little hot soy milk and mix well, returning to heat if necessary. If the sauce is too thin, cook it longer over low heat, being careful not to let it scorch.

This is a versatile and delicious white sauce. It’s wonderful over pasta and/or vegetables. Be creative and enjoy.

Makes one round flat loaf -- serves 6.

4 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 ½ cups chickpea flour
3 ½ cups spring water
1 tsp. sea salt
1 T chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 400° F. Oil 10 inch round baking dish (such as a quiche pan) with 1 T olive oil. Pour flour in large bowl and gradually add water, using a whisk to prevent lumps. Add salt and rosemary and the remaining 3 T olive oil. Whisk until batter is smooth. Cover and let sit for at least one hour. (You may allow it to sit for several hours at room temperature and bake at your convenience). Pour batter into prepare baking pan. Bake at 400° F for 20 minutes. Then decrease oven temperature to 350° F and bake until knife inserted into center comes out clean. This may take 40 - 50 minutes. The top will turn golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving. Cut into thin wedges.

Variation: Fennel seeds and/or hot pepper flakes can be substituted for the rosemary, especially if fresh rosemary is not available.
1 T. fennel seeds, crushed
¼ - ½ tsp hot pepper flakes

This recipe makes a wonderful antipasto. Cecina is difficult to describe, but the flavor is delicious. It is very easy to make and the flavor is rich and complex. I once won a blue ribbon for Best Recipe at a Fall Harvest Party when I brought this appetizer.

-- Angela Suarez

My Pilgrimage

One Family's Vegetarian Journey

Jean Myers, left, with daughter Hadley and husband Carl.

In my early thirties, I read an amazing book by Frances Moore Lappe’ called Diet for a Small Planet that changed my life. Once I realized the devastating effects of meat production on our planet’s precious resources, I felt called to make major changes in my diet. However, as a full-time mother of three young children and spouse to a busy physician, all of whom had eaten meat all their lives, I was reluctant to disrupt our family’s eating patterns for my newfound environmental consciousness. I tried putting my knowledge on the back burner of my mind, but it wouldn’t stay there! As Peace Pilgrim, one of my favorite spiritual teachers, says, “If you know but you do not do, you are a very unhappy person indeed.”

There came the day when I realized that waiting until the children were grown to live my vegetarian ideals was indeed causing me great unhappiness. From then on, I led a double life as a cook - vegetarian for me, and the usual fare for everyone else. Wasn’t it a hassle? Yes, it was a little more work to make two pots of spaghetti sauce or remove my portion of the casserole before adding the meat, but the relief from knowing that I personally was walking lighter on the planet gave me joy and plenty of motivation to keep going.

Three years later when my daughter was seven years old, she told me that she had decided to become vegetarian, too! After reading the Animal Inn series of children’s books in which the heroine, a veterinarian’s daughter, becomes vegetarian out of love for animals, she had made the choice to forego eating meat as well. Several years later during the course of researching Mahatma Gandhi’s life for a school paper, my older son chose to become vegetarian as well. About the same time, my husband gradually adopted vegetarianism by first eschewing red meat, then fish and poultry as he investigated the deleterious health effects of eating meat. Finally our middle son quietly became vegetarian without telling anyone. When he was the only meat-eater in the house, I had stopped cooking any meat at home. It wasn’t until I noticed him feeding our dog with the turkey from his Subway sandwich, that he revealed that he had stopped eating meat entirely. When I asked his reasons, he explained how uncomfortable he had felt during our last family vacation: Riding past huge stockyards in California with four vegetarians in the car (even though no one said anything to him) was his moment of truth. Eleven years after my decision to become vegetarian, the whole family was again united at the dinner table!

From Vegetarian to Vegan
Vegetarianism continued to be a journey of increasing awareness. After years as a lacto-ovo vegetarian, I began to look more deeply into the incredible suffering of dairy cows bellowing for their calves who are removed shortly after birth. Their male calves become veal, and they themselves become hamburger around 4 years of age when their artificially high milk output (due to added hormones) begins to drop. Then I learned about the horrible suffering of layer hens from overcrowding into tiny crates with no access to the outdoors as well as the inhumane slaughter of male baby chicks. I vowed to forego dairy and eggs to become vegan, but it proved to be quite difficult, much harder than my original switch to vegetarianism had been. Cheese and frozen yogurt called to me, despite all my good intentions.

After my first attempt at becoming vegan failed, I dug into more books on animal suffering caused by the dairy and egg industries. When these realities became such a part of my being that the sight of cheese and frozen yogurt reminded me of the dairy cow’s suffering, my desire for these products finally melted away. It was a few more years before my husband switched to a dairy-free menu, but once again, as he became convinced of the links between dairy products and disease, there was been no turning back. Only after we had become vegan could we finally see the constant conditioning to consume milk and eggs that bombards us in the U.S.

By sharing our family’s journey, I hope to offer encouragement to others who may be just starting down this path. In each family someone has to be the first to adopt a kinder, healthier diet. With patience, respect, and a good example, extending the truth of nonviolence to include what’s on your plate will have far more impact among your family and friends than you can imagine.

--Jean Myers

Pioneers: Caroline Earle White, 1833-1916

Born in a wealthy Quaker family in Philadelphia, Caroline Earle received an exceptionally fine education and grew up in a context of strong social awareness. Her parents were active abolitionists; her mother, who was a cousin of Lucretia Mott, worked on behalf of women's rights as well.

Always sensitive to the feelings of animals, as a child Caroline was so traumatized by seeing horses being beaten while pulling heavy vehicles down Market Street that she would be depressed for days afterwards, and dreaded returning to that street. But she was not one to withdraw from suffering; she opposed it on a personal level (for example, she took in numerous homeless animals), and in adulthood expanded her labors to a transpersonal level. Attorney Richard White, whom she married in her early twenties, encouraged and supported her, and she converted to his Catholic faith.

Following the suggestion of Henry Bergh, founder of the ASPCA, in 1866 Caroline White launched her first major effort, canvassing upper-class neighborhoods over a period of two years to garner funds and commitment for the foundation of a Philadelphia SPCA. Two other male activists were doing the same thing, and, joining forces, they realized their intent in 1868. As a woman, Caroline White was denied any leadership position in the strong organization she had co-founded, but her husband, who took a position on the board of directors, spoke on her behalf. Gender discrimination was to be a thorn in her side throughout her life, and eventually the women in the PSPCA separated to form their own group, the Women's Humane Society. Their success, thanks largely to Caroline's charismatic leadership, came to outweigh that of the parent group.

Throughout her long life, she took the lead in many areas of animal defense. For example: feathers were much in demand for women's hats during the second half of the 19th century, and nesting birds were gruesomely killed in vast numbers to supply them. Together with conservationists and birdwatchers, Caroline White took the approach of appealing to women, who were seen as more compassionate and nurturing than men, to boycott "murderous millinery." Over time, their efforts achieved enormous success.

In keeping with this appeal, like other early leaders Caroline White regarded humane education as crucial to changing society's attitudes, and it was she and other women in the movement who did most of the actual labor involved. "Cruelty to animals, unchecked, leads to commission of the most revolting crimes," she wrote, and "to teach children . . . that animals have certain rights . . . creates in their minds a respect and regard for life per se. . . ." A great deal of literature was published and distributed in schools, from the primary to the undergraduate level; essay contests and club establishment were two other approaches taken.

Opposing vivisection was still another area where Caroline White took the lead, establishing the American Anti-Vivisection Society (still active today) in 1883. This was a particularly bold move, as it was the male-dominated medical profession that she and others (mostly women) were taking on, and they had to cope with the tremendous and still-growing prestige of science, big money, and even tactics such as one psychologist's "discovery" that animal defenders were subject to the "zoophil-psychosis"--particularly women! This ridiculous claim was taken quite seriously. Medical researchers increasingly closed off their laboratories to the public gaze, but gruesome stories were still leaked to the public by the antivivisectionists. But the prestige of science was not all on one side--animal defenders pointed out that Darwinian evolution clearly implied kinship, rather than a sharp dichotomy, between humans and animals. Overall, however, the efforts of Caroline White and others in this area met only very limited success; it was not until the late twentieth century that, thanks to the work of ethologists like Jane Goodall and the development of technological models, that public support for vivisection has begun to erode.

These are only a sampling of Caroline White's labors.

Whereas several other prominent activists maintained a welfarist approach, as time went on, Caroline White espoused more radical views, holding that animals have rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as fully as do people. She explicitly rejected as an artificial construct the nearly-universal speciesist view of animals as inferior beings who exist to serve human wants. Following her own logic, she became a vegetarian.

This woman of extraordinary initiative, compassion, and courage is virtually unknown today, and we are the poorer for it.



The Bells of Heaven

'Twould ring the bells of heaven
The wildest peal for years,
If Parson lost his senses
And people came to theirs,
And he and they together
Knelt down with angry prayers
For tamed and shabby tigers
And dancing dogs and bears,
And wretched, blind pit ponies,
And little hunted hares.

--Ralph Hodgson

God's Grandeur

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.








There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs--
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

--Gerard Manley Hopkins

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 December issue will be November 30, 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 to donate $12 (USD) per year if their means allow. 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
NewsNotes Contributors: Marian Hussenbux & Lorena Mucke
Technical Architect: Richard Scott Lancelot Ellwood