Thursday 18 December 2014

Letters: A vegan diet is for our own good - not just the good of animals

Published 13/08/2014 | 02:30

Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton

In Ian O'Doherty's defensive, vitriolic and misleading column about PETA this week (Irish Independent, August 11), I came across one lonely thought worthy of reply: "If meat is murder, then should we criminalise tigers?"

The difference is this: tigers kill for food because they are what's called "true carnivores" and could not survive without meat, whereas eating animals is leading humans to an early grave.

The president of the American College of Cardiology, Dr Kim A Williams, like many more cardiologists and other physicians, recommends adopting a vegan diet. Dr Williams asks: "Wouldn't it be a laudable goal (of the American College of Cardiology) to put ourselves out of business within a generation or two?"

The Irish Independent regularly reports on the findings of many studies highlighting the link between meat and the Western world's top killers, such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes and various types of cancer.

Scientific evidence indicates that the model diet to follow is that of our closest primate relatives, and they are purely, or mostly, vegan.

Any moral person will feel sympathy for the human victim whose limbs were found at the recycling plant in Dublin.

But a moral person should also have sympathy for the animal victims who are forced to live in their own waste, mutilated without painkillers and killed and butchered, all for a fleeting moment of taste. So why is Mr O'Doherty so angry at the suggestion we should extend our compassion to animals? Instead, he trivialises their pain and insults those who seek to end it.

Mr O'Doherty might acquaint himself with the examples of vegan boxer David Haye, mixed martial artist Jake Shields, long-distance racing champion Brendan Brazier and former US President Bill Clinton, who suffered a near-fatal heart attack and now credits switching to a vegan diet with saving his life.

Ben Williamson

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

London, N1

Insulting the diaspora

Bravo to Ian O'Doherty for his article on the Government's "remarkably unbecoming" bestowal of Certificates of Irish Heritage on various celebrities (Irish Independent, August 1).

Equally unbecoming is the Government's hawking of this "ludicrous document" online for €40 (unframed) or €120 (framed) to individuals of Irish descent.

What a gross insult to the diaspora, what a disgraceful come-all-ye.

Patricia Phelan

Freeport, NY

USA

United Ireland, united services

Now that commemorations for political events that took place a century ago are beginning, debate on a united Ireland will be in the mix.

In the event of a united Ireland, one wonders would the Northern Ireland local government's provision of services be reduced to the standards of the Republic, or vice versa?

As they say, it's the little things that make the difference.

Declan Foley

Berwick
 Australia

Dangers of revising history

I grew up sliding in to my grandmother's bed at unearthly hours of the morning, listening to the terrible worries that were present when my grandfather was out on a mission with the old IRA.

I do not believe in violence and neither did my grandmother.

But I understood that she felt there was no other way to give us a life that was free from intimidation and misery.

She was right.

Ireland now, despite all her misfortunes, educates her children and prepares them where possible for a decent place in the world order.

I am extremely interested in what my grandfather did and how it affected him. I know that he handed out weapons, he definitely shot them, and those acts constitute acts of violence.

Nonetheless, I was shocked to see the vilification of Gerry Adams when I was last home.

I don't agree with a lot of what he did, and whatever his role, he, like my grandfather, was automatically tied to the Troubles.

When I argued the point, I was more than shocked to see my grandfather likened to a role in an old Irish farce like The Irish RM, as if independence was not won but could have been asked for instead and it would have been granted immediately.

To say Irish freedom, like World War II, would have been won without violence now that it's over, doesn't stand up against history.

Revisionism is dangerous.

I don't like violence. But pretending it didn't happen, didn't need to happen, or that it wasn't us, creates a sanctimonious and delusional nation.

To reach peace, you must understand what it was that first led us to war.

Pauline Bleach

NSW

Australia

Time we acted over Gaza

Recalling Winston Churchill's slight on Ireland's neutrality at the end of World War II, Eamon de Valera in his reply rightly reminded him that Britain's right to exist should not mean trampling on the rights of others.

Churchill's bravado in saying it would have been "quite easy and quite natural" to take us over, rings true for many dictators around the world today, and it would also appear to be the attitude of Israel towards the people of Gaza.

Cromwell's land acquisitions in Ireland come very much to mind. Dispatch the remaining homeless natives that are left (the old Irish) "to Hell or to Connacht", to live on wild berries and honey, and for those Palestinians still in their ancient homeland, Gaza must surely be Hell.

A population of 1.8 million people live in a hell hole a fraction of the size of Connacht and are locked in by land, sea and air, with water and electricity rationed and dished out at the discretion of a draconian neighbour.

Isn't it way beyond time for our Government and our back-slapping, craw-thumping partners in the EU to stop their pious platitudes about slaughter of the innocents and come up with something much more positive?

America's surrogate child in the Middle East is armed to the hilt with the most sophisticated war weapons on earth.

Knowing there is no military solution to this problem doesn't mean a solution can't be found. There can be an effective one, a moral one and a bloodless one.

For starters, our own little country could call in the Israeli Ambassador and demand an account for the disproportionate amount of death and destruction in Gaza.

Political twins Enda and Eamon had no problem closing the Vatican Embassy overnight for an awful lot less.

Christy Wynne

Boyle

Co Roscommon

GP fee could be barrier to access

The possible introduction of a fee to control the number of visits an individual makes to their GP whenever government-subsidised access to GP services is achieved raises a number of issues.

Age Action welcomes the intention to exclude the over 70s, as well as those already on medical and GP visit cards. The problem is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions and once the principle has been introduced and accepted, nobody can guarantee that such noble exclusions and exemptions will stand.

Nor can anyone predict how high this fee will creep before it becomes an obstacle to people accessing the GP services. Before such a fee is introduced, we should try to think of other options.

Gerard Scully

Spokesperson For Age Action Ireland

Irish Independent

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