The choice of eating meat or not has been a debated issue for a continued number of years. There have long since been two sides: the proponents and opponents of meat consumption. More and more debates of its value and effect on the world have risen. Many claim it is wrong, while others think of it as a needed pleasure. Today, a greater percentage of the population eats meat.
Only a few individuals seek the alternative route. Yet, there has been a steady rise in the number of vegetarians. Many may already know that religions all over the world have advocated a meat-free diet. While a few are lenient, the majority is steady.
The reason a vegetarian diet has been preferred over meat dates back thousands of years. Take for example, the Christian tradition. Although most are now lenient, previously many great saints advocated a meat-free diet, for more reasons than one. In the beginning it was said by God", Here I have given you all vegetation bearing seed which is on the surface of the whole earth... to you let it serve as food". (gen.
1.29) Later it was spoken by Jesus of the commandment, "thou shall not kill". Jesus said, "You heard that it was said to those of ancient times, 'Thou shall not kill; and whoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment". (Matthew. 5.21) There is also the Hindu tradition, where a meatless way of life has gone on for thousands of years (until the invasion by foreign rule, forcing some to comply to foreign acts). This tradition has volumes of scriptures proclaiming vegetarianism. Take for example this quote from the Sri mad Bhagavat am 1.7.
37, "A cruel and wretched person who maintains his existence at the cost of others' lives deserves to be killed for his own eternal well-being, otherwise he will go down by his own actions". There are many more such quotes from scriptures all over the world. Yet nowadays, there is just the opposite of vegetarianism in compliance of these ancient texts. "Although meat-eating has been denied to the human form by God and his sons and daughters of the past, people still adopt the process".
Such are the statements of devout followers who adhere to a meat-free diet in accordance to scriptural texts. Those who advocate vegetarianism profess that many people are weak of heart and so succumb to meat eating. While those who advocate a meat-oriented diet say that a meat diet is essential for a normal and healthy life, for they provide protein. [The Dutch chemist, Gerrit Jari Mulder, in his experiments, has proved in 1838, that protein is biologically essential, for every living creature needs a certain amount to survive. This fact about protein is due to the presence of amino acids, the 'building blocks" of life.] While it is true that animals provide essential protein for the human body, scientific reports have provided additional information that may seem to support a vegetarian viewpoint. In his Book "Diet for Transcendence", Steven Rosen states from other sources that plants are the sources of protein and that animals are the secondary sources, having consumed such plants.
"Plants can synthesize amino acids from air, earth and water, but animals are dependent on plants for protein, either directly by eating plants or indirectly by eating an animal which has eaten and metabolized plants". There have also been many scientific reports of late showing the defects of a meat-oriented diet. "Cancer and heart disease are nearly epidemic in nations with a high per capita consumption of meat, while they rarely occur in societies where little meat is consumed", quoted from Steven Rosen's book "Diet For Transcendence". With a variety of groups forming all over the world advocating vegetarianism, this issue will remain a top issue.