Practical Issues > Actions to Take > Religion for ARAs
Judeo-Christian Compassion?

This message was sent to Prof. Richard Schwarz after I understood that he was unwilling to even mention unconditional compassion...

Subject: RE: Compassion?
Date: Sun, 14 Mar 2010 11:08:15 -0400

Professor Schwartz,

From your response it appears your primary goal is to promote religious values which treat animals as human property, rather than to promote a model of compassion which honors their intrinsic worth. When I receive testimonials about the disrespect caring individuals have experienced within the judeo.christian tradition with regard to their deepest concerns for animals, I will let them know that they have indeed made the correct decision to leave, as those who work for compassion within these religions value human needs above the right of an animal to exist and remain free from pain. I will not promote the Jain religion or provide unrequested information about Jainism, but will continue to discuss the benefits for animals due to ahimsa. There is no room for the shameless promotion of ones religion in a movement that strives to end animal suffering.

I received the following offer from you several times, despite the fact that I indicated I was not interested in the dvd:

"I would like to offer you a complimentary DVD with our recently released documentary A SACRED DUTY: APPLYING JEWISH VALUES TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD." Professor Richard Schwartz

Why is it appropriate to so enthusiastically promote Jewish values, as you criticize me for promoting one religion above others. As I have noted many times it is not my intention to promote the Jain religion, nor do I claim it will heal the world, just point out how a message of unconditional compassion has resulted in far reaching benefits for animals. I have never offered to send you or anyone else information on the Jain religion, as I would view that as inappropriate promotion:

You continue to state: ",,,we should seek common ground and solutions rather than arguing that one religious approach will sole all problems."

I am not promoting one religion above others, just the value of unconditional compassion, which when taught in a religious setting, has resulted in numerous and far reaching benefits for animals. Examples are cited to demonstrate the effectiveness of ahimsa.

It is apparent that you intend to work with the message of dominion, in an effort to promote religious values to benefit the humans who adhere to this belief. The needs of the animals are a distant second.

You still have not explained why you do not criticize the breeding of monkeys in Israel to be used in gruesome experiments at the Weizman Institute. Nor do you praise or even acknowledge the compassion inherent in the decision in India to ban the export of their free roaming indigenous monkey population, to keep them free from harm in western research facilities. You do not once acknowledge the far reaching and broad based legislation to protect animals resulting from the ahimsa model in India, as noted in previous messages.

Conveniently ignoring the evidence of the numerous positive developments in India, as you continue to repeat that you work to end animal suffering, undermines this claim. It is not apparent from the decision to promote a model of compassion which is so detrimental to animals, with its measures of half-hearted compassion and benevolent abuse, that you are genuinely concerned about animal lives.

You state that it would not help your message to include unconditional compassion, despite the fact this message has been such an effective means of attaining significant improvements in animal lives, by tapping into the innate compassion of so many, who have had it suppressed by the contradictory message of dominion.

To respond to your concerns about the consumption of meat and eggs in India: India is a vibrant democracy and there are many groups in that country that do consume animal products...There are Moslems, Christians, Jews, Zorastrians etc, that consume meat and who are responsible for much of the carnage. There are 400 million vegetarians in the Hindu faith who follow a vegetarian diet for religious reasons...There is virtually 100% compliance of the vegetarian diet in the Jain community. This information is offered to point out that when religions teach a responsible message of compassion, rather than cater to human greed and need, individuals are more likely to live a compassionate lifestyle.

Incidentally the Jains are now beginning to embrace a vegan diet, as it is in harmony with their values...Gary Francione works with Chitrabanuji, a Jain Acharya (rabbi, minister equivalent), to promote this message within the Jain community. The encouragement to follow this diet is based on the ancient jain value of ahimsa: non-violence for ALL beings

I indicated that I limit my work to end animal suffering, but as you bring up poverty and the caste system in India, I would reply that slavery and the racism in many western nations are the equivalent of the caste system. India was not a poor nation until it became a British colony, as the occupation destroyed the systems which had worked so well for so many thousands of years. In effect the British pillaged India of its wealth. The following statement by Lord Macauley, British occupier, indicates the method used to challenge the traditional values of Indian integrity:

Lord Macaulay: "I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation."

Clearly Lord Macaulay believed in dominion.

This morning Democracy Now aired a piece on the death of Rachel Corrie. Her family is suing the Israeli Government for her wrongful death. Rachel was peacefully protesting the demolition of a Palestinian home. An Israeli soldier bulldozed over her and then the home she sought to protect. She was wearing a bright orange jacket, for visibility, and was surrounded by other peaceful protestors. Such actions follow from a position which values some lives above others.

I find it telling that rarely in this dialogue did you use the word compassion, as it appears that is not your primary agenda. Unfortunately there are those who remain in the judeo.christian who continue to suffer because of the mockery that dominion and its promotion make of their deepest beliefs. Animal lives will not be bettered by this self-serving approach.

You continue to call for common ground: As Gandhi so eloquently stated: "Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good." Gandhi There is no common ground with those who care so little for animals they are unwilling to relinquish a position which allows for their harm and slaughter, as this would just serve to increase the carnage.

Why do you choose to cooperate with those who want to perpetuate their ab(use) of animals in the name of religion?


Ruth Eisenbud

Subject: Re: Follow-up: A Confusing Contradiction
Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2010 15:16:25 -0500

Dear Ruth, Mary and Frank,

I think we can go around in circles for quite awhile re this, without getting very far.

I agree with Frank that we should seek common ground and solutions rather than arguing that one religious approach will sole all problems.

All I can say is that I argue that, based on Jewish teachings, and that of other religions, people should not eat meat, wear fur, experiment on animals or abuse them in any other way.

I do not think adding unconditional compassion as an argument will get me any greater hearing unfortunately.

I personally now feel that our best argument is that a major shift to vegan diets is essential to avoid the looming climate catastrophe that will be catastrophic for all animals, including humans, but even that argument is being denied and resisted by the vast majority of people.

BTW, didn't India have a caste system for many years? and isn't there still much poverty and a a rapid population growth that is a major environmental threat? and isn't much milk consumed in India? and what do they do with the baby calves? is there an egg industry in India?

All the best,


Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island
Author of "Judaism and Vegetarianism," "Judaism and Global Survival," and "Mathematics and Global Survival," and over 130 articles at
President of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) ( and
Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians
Director Veg Climate Alliance
Phone: 718-761-5876

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