Vegetarianism: Mercy towards animals and Orwell loses "cool-points"

A good weekend read for vegetarians interested in issues that extend beyond modern vegetarian movements and trends.

"Vegetarian and vegan ethics are not a recent fad in Asia, but a longstanding expression of human aspiration and virtue. Europe, of course, was a different matter. Pythagoreans may have practiced a meat-free diet in ancient times, but Christianity did not promote the virtues of refraining from eating animals (except as a form of monastic ascetic practice). Convinced that meat was vital for good health, Europeans traveling to India from the 16th century on were astonished to find a highly sophisticated civilization with an ethic of non-violence towards animals. Some discovered, to their amazement, hospitals given over entirely to the care of animals. Ralph Fitch, an English merchant who traveled through the subcontinent in the 16th century, recorded that Indians ‘will kill nothing’... Mercy towards animals Aeon Magazine