Author: animal cruelty, waste & illness make our eating habits all wrong
By Anne Stanton 7/6/09
When Will Tuttle was still in high school some 35 years ago, he read a
book, Cosmic Consciousness, written in 1901. The book examined historic
figures such as Jesus and Buddha, who were able to attain unusual empathy
and compassion for all mankind. The author proposed that these powers of
transcendence could be achieved by others.
Thus inspired, Tuttle and his brother embarked on their own journey,
walking from Maine to Alabama. They took a month-long detour to a
Tennessee commune called The Farm. Tuttle, who holds a doctorate in
philosophy, said much of the time, during those five months of walking,
was spent asking the question, Who am I?
One of his major insights was the interconnectedness of all life. Our
actions, good and bad, create ripple effects throughout the world.
Tuttle, 55, now lectures throughout the country, encouraging people to
discover their joyful illumination within and to live in harmony with
others. He will appear at Horizon Books in Traverse City on Tuesday, July
7 at 7 p.m. to talk about his book, The World Peace Diet: Eating for
Spiritual Health and Social Harmony.
Heres a brief interview.
NE: Whats the essential message of your book?
Tuttle: Eating is an essential and intimate connection with the larger
order, yet we live in a culture that disconnects us from this and
reduces living beings to mere commodities.
NE: I have heard arguments that mass production of food allows everyone to
eat at a reasonable price.
Tuttle: Not true. Blatantly false. Utterly false. Mass agriculture is
horrifically and unspeakably inefficient. If we fed our grains directly to
humans instead of animals, thered be no reason for malnourishment or
widespread hunger. Not to mention wed all be healthier. The
pharmaceutical companies are making billions by giving drugs to animals,
as well as humans. I havent been to a doctor for 30 years. Never had any
cavities. Switching to a plant-based diet has been very liberating.
NE: Lots of people in this area are out of work and consider organic food
Tuttle: My advice is to switch to a plant-based diet. Its the cheapest
way to eat. If youre buying grain, rice and beans, they are so
inexpensive for the nutritional value you receive. You could feed an army
of people very inexpensively. Good basic food. Potatoes, onions, carrots,
broccoli, corn, millet, rice, quinoa, oats, lentils, beans, soup,
stir-fries and salads. Its all extremely healthy, saves a lot of energy,
a huge amount of money, and youll save on your dental and medical bills.
Buying organic is an investment in a healthy earth, healthy culture, and
in your own health. I havent been to a drugstore in 30 years. Disease
just goes away.
NE: Did you become a vegan for reasons of health or was more about the
treatment of animals?
Tuttle: When I became a vegetarian when I was 22 years old, it was totally
for the animals, the environment and human starvation. When I was living
at the Farm, they started telling me how animals are confined in these
horrible cages. How the beaks of chickens are cut off so they dont peck
each others eyes out. How they steal babies from the mother cows for milk
production. I read Diet for a Small Planet, which said we could feed
everyone if we fed the plants to humans instead of animals. There was more
than enough grain and food being grown to feed everyone -- starvation was
NE: I understand your spend most of the time on the road in a nicely
outfitted van. Is it hard to eat as a vegan while traveling?
Tuttle: If youre 99 percent committed, things are difficult. If youre
100 percent committed, its really easy. Thats it. There is no other
option. Madeleine, my wife, is very good at being creative. She does most
of the cooking. We find more and more health food stores around, and even
regular stores are selling organic produce.
NE: In your travels, have you yourself visited feedlots?
Tuttle: Yes, they are the ugliest places you can imagine. They smell bad,
they look horrible. If human beings are capable of extreme ugliness, this
is it. They can sugarcoat things by keeping people out of them, but they
are concentration camps for animals. People get sick working in these
places. They are concentrated misery.
Whenever animals are used for food, cruelty is involved. If you look
behind the curtain, they push the cows to give more milk by taking their
babies away. Rennet is used to make cheese, it coagulates the milk, and
they get it from the fourth stomach of a baby calf. Theres no legal
definition for free range eggs except theyre not in a battery cage. But
theyre crammed into sheds that smell horribly of ammonia and the males
are thrown into a shredder and fed back to the females. The chickens are
force-molted, which means they starve them in order to shock their system
into a new cycle of laying eggs. And thats totally admissible.
NE: Many people think of hunting and fishing as more humane. Do you have a
problem with it?
Tuttle: I do, because its creating in our consciousness a mentality of
violence toward other living beings. Chasing them, shooting them, trying
to trick them with lures and pulling them out of the water. Martin Luther
King said were all connected. When we get caught in this kind of
violence, it boomerangs in all kinds of different ways. We are in the
middle of the largest extinction of species in 65 million years, and we
dont seem to care about it. I think thats a reflection of our essential
disconnectedness. Were cutting down forests for grazing and raising
mono-crops. It causes immense obesity for us, starvation, misery, terror
for the animals, pollution for the water, and it stunts our growth
I sympathize with people who want to be compassionate and want to get
lovingly created animal food, but the underlying thing is no matter what
we do, we are stealing their purpose and their sovereignty. We are taught
from birth that we are humans and theyre just animals.
NE: You talk a lot about food and its connections to politics and health.
Can you expound on that?
Tuttle: We have an unfair system in which were giving millions of dollars
of taxpayer subsidies to agriculture, which supports a diet that promotes
disease. We are constantly encouraged to buy processed foods that are
loaded with chemicals and pesticides. Animal products are promoted that
are toxic with saturated fats and cholesterol. We need to have fiber. If
you read research by T. Colin Campbell, a respected nutritional researcher
from Cornell University, youll find his findings from a huge study of
thousands of peopleits the Oxford Cornell study. He concludes that
animal protein acidifies our tissues, which creates a basic environment in
our body that promotes diseases of all kindscancer, osteoporosis,
autoimmune disease, and obesity.
Once we understand that our cultures practices are destructive, we can
change our own attitudes and behaviors and be a force for blessing not
only ourselves and our loved ones, but the whole world. We are all
connected. When we move to a plant-based diet, there will be plenty of
food for everyone, and no reason to confine and kill animals or destroy
habitat and ecosystems. Paradise is living with compassion.