January 21, 2013

Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Through Our Food Choices

Martin-Luther-King-Jr-9365086-2-402.jpgPeople all over the world have been inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.'s tremendous commitment to justice and nonviolence, his courage to speak up for equality, and his recognition of the interconnectedness of social justice struggles.

Dr. King famously said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," a critical acknowledgment that if we allow some to be treated unfairly, it lowers the bar for how all of us relate to one another. In other words, "No one is free when others are oppressed."

Injustice and oppression are rampant in our industrialized food production system. Workers on factory farms endure unsafe conditions and immigrants are often knowingly hired so that their lack of legal standing they can be exploited. Slaughterhouses have been ranked as among the most dangerous workplaces in the country.

And of course, there are the animals. Farmed animals endure the most egregiously cruel treatment, all in the name of profit. They are crammed into spaces so small they can't even turn around, have their tails, ears and genitals mutilated with no anesthetics, and are brutally slaughtered - some while still fully conscious.

Dr. King's wife, Coretta Scott King, observed a vegan diet, as does his son, Dexter Scott King. Mrs. King believed that animal rights were a logical extension of Dr. King's philosophy of nonviolence. "Veganism has given me a higher level of awareness and spirituality," Dexter Scott King told Vegetarian Times magazine. "If you're violent to yourself by putting things into your body that violate its spirit, it will be difficult not to perpetuate that onto someone else."

Mohandas Gandhi, the world-renowned peace advocate who inspired Dr. King, was a committed vegetarian. And it's no coincidence that other social justice luminaries, including Cesar Chavez, Rosa Parks, and Susan B. Anthony, also eschewed animal-derived foods.

There are many ways in which each of us can take action for peace and justice in our daily lives, such as advocating for meaningful causes in our communities, speaking up when we see injustice, and choosing to be vegetarian.

For tips on transitioning to a humane and healthy vegan diet, visit ChooseVeg.com.
 
8033 SUNSET BLVD, STE 864   |   LOS ANGELES, CA 90046   |   866-632-6446   |   MERCYFORANIMALS.ORG