Letter to the Editor: In Support of Meat Reduction

At the Scott Center for Spiritual and Religious Life, we applaud the initiative to reduce the amount of meat consumption on campus.  Not only is the goal of reducing our consumption by 30% good for the environment, which we heartily support, but it is also a step in the right direction to making food choices at Middlebury more inclusive of a diverse population of students, staff and faculty with different religious and non-religious observances and worldviews.

Many religions, traditions, and worldviews put a limit on the consumption of meat in one way or another.  Some people consider their choice to not eat meat or any animal products part of their spiritual or ethical worldview, regardless of their religious or non-religious background, whether for environmental, animal rights, or health reasons.  Some Hindus, Buddhists and Jains do not consume meat at all in accordance with their belief in not-harming sentient beings.  Some Christians restrict the consumption of meat in their diets at certain times of year like Lent, and some Christian groups like Seventh Day Adventists also lean vegetarian.  Muslims and Jews limit their meat consumption to certain kinds of meat, and then even further to meat of the acceptable kind that has been slaughtered in a certain way.  Because access to Halal and Kosher meat is not the norm in the dining halls, students observing these dietary restrictions are also vegetarian by default for most of the time they dine at Middlebury.

The increased focus on vegetarian meals will hopefully provide more substantial vegetarian options for those observing these kinds of dietary restrictions.  In addition to using the money saved to purchase more sustainably grown meat for when it is served, Dining Services might also consider using some of those savings to provide properly prepared Halal and Kosher meat more frequently.

Religious traditions and philosophical world views have always taught that our food choices reflect our values, and that being mindful of what we eat brings holiness to this everyday act.  Thank you to EatReal, the Environmental Affairs Committee, the SGA, and Dining Services for bringing this consciousness to our food at Middlebury.

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