March 1st marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period preceding
Easter, when many Christians abstain from animal foods in remembrance of
Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the wilderness before launching his
The call to refrain from eating animals is as old as the Bible. In
Genesis 1:29, God commands humans to eat only plants; then Prophet
Isaiah predicts that “none will hurt or destroy on God’s holy mountain.”
A number of Christian leaders have followed the call, including
Methodist founder John Wesley, Salvation Army founders William and
Catherine Booth, Seventh-day Adventist Church founder Ellen G. White,
and prominent evangelical leader Franklin Graham.
A meat-free diet is not just about Christian devotion. Dozens of medical
studies have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of
heart failure, stroke, cancer, and other killer diseases. A United
Nations report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse
gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented
farm animals being caged, crowded, mutilated, beaten, and shocked.
Lent offers a superb opportunity to honor Christ’s powerful message of
compassion, but also to protect the health of our family and our planet
Earth by adopting a meat-free diet.