The Case for a Vegan World


" 'Modern Islam does not fully support vegetarianism' proclaims the Toronto Vegetarian Association's website (1). One cannot argue with that! Traditional Islam may have been more favourably disposed. 'Traditionally Muslims were semi-vegetarians...The Prophet was in that category. he was not a (regular) meat-eater. Most of his meals did not have meat in them'(2). He also condemned vivisection, promised an after-life reward for kindness to animals and said that it was a great sin to imprison them (3). But other accounts say that not only did he condone the eating of meat, but actaully encouraged it (4). The transport of sheep and cattle to Islamic countries for slaughter attracts negative publicity, as with sheep sailing to Saudi Arabia in 2003. 'The build-up of manure...four to six inches deep across the pens, becomes damp and releases ammonia...It becomes like a gas chamber, in effect, the ship. We saw sheep leaning out of the ship and trying to throw themselves out through the bars and fothing at the mouth and then just expiring' (5). Two transports in 2001 were recorded each to have had 6000 sheep die aboard. Surviving shipped animals may be worse off, as cattle can discover. 'About four to five cattle are herded there and surrounded by slaughtermen. And they strike out with long knives and they cut further tendons and they smash the joints. And finally the animal breaks down and the eyes are stabbed. So when the eyes are stabbed out, and the cattle breaks down, sometimes they can't get up again and it's very severe how the cattle are dealt with then (6). Muslims who wish to avoid contributing to that suffering but fear that they are expected to eat meat on holy days can take heart from the official Islamic pronouncements. 'A Muslim may be vegetarian. However, he should not regard eating meat as prohibited. (7)' 'Vegetarianism is halal. Meat is not compulsory'. (8)



References for the Arguments

Wadell, John, 'But You Kill Ants', Australia, 2004

  1. Julian Bynoe, [1]
  2. Mufti Ebrahim Desai, Fatwa Department, at [2]
  3. IVU News Issue 1-96 at [3]
  4. Karima Burns, 'The Existence of the Vegetarian Muslim', [4]
  5. Dr Tony Hill , veterinarian, in Channel 9's 'Sixty Minutes' 27/07/03
  6. Dr Petra Sidhom, veterinarian, ibid
  7. Mufti Ebrahim Desai, [5]
  8. Honorable Sayyid Fadhlullah, ibid

References for the Objections

Examples and Anecdotes