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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776
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Judaism and Eating Meat: Letter to a Vegan Animal Rights Activist

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You try to downplay this by citing evidence that obesity and high cholesterol are serious health hazards. This has become the modus operandi of the animal rights lobby. You make your case by describing extreme situations and then extrapolate from those to advance your agenda against all consumption of animal products.

Yes, obesity and high cholesterol are serious health problems. But any food – salt, sugar, pepper, even water – consumed in extreme quantities can be a health hazard. The fact that extreme consumption of meat is unhealthy does not mean that all consumption of meat is unhealthy. Not only is moderate consumption healthy, it is difficult for most people to obtain sufficient protein without consuming animal products.

Since you raise Judaism as a false flag of endorsement for your vegan agenda, let us note that the authentic Jewish approach toward such things is moderation –distancing oneself from extremes. Do not consume huge amounts of sugar and salt but do not forgo them altogether (the body, after all, needs sugar and salt). Do not forgo wine and alcohol but do not become an alcoholic. Do not forgo meat but do not “pig out” on extravagant servings.

Even with all the modern concerns about the dangers of overeating and obesity, there is still an unambiguous positive correlation between life expectancy and consumption of meat in the world today, especially when making international comparisons. Countries where people live longer are countries where more meat protein is eaten.

Strict vegetarians have a considerable health challenge in terms of obtaining sufficient protein. In fact, I suspect that a serious investigation of vegan diets would prove that, just like “organic foods,” they are downright unhealthy.

Steven Plaut

About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at steven_plaut@yahoo.com

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