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Press Release: University Preacher Urges Vegan Diet

24th October 2022

University Preacher at the University of St Andrews has urged Christians to adopt a vegan diet for the sake of animals and the environment.

St Salvator’s Chapel, University of St Andrews, Scotland

Preaching on Animal Welfare Sunday, Dr Clair Linzey argues that we should move to a plant-based diet as envisaged in the first chapter of Genesis. “God blesses humans and gives them a vegetarian, actually plant-based diet, ‘every plant yielding seed’ to eat (v. 29).”

She argues: “We must ask ourselves what kind of relationship to the world is envisioned in a plant-based dominion? The answer, I suggest, is one of service and responsibility. We are to care for the world as God would care for the world.”

Recalling how scientific research has shown that animals experience both pain and suffering, Dr Linzey maintains that we should live without violence wherever we can.

“Seeing the world for animals involves facing the reality of suffering and pain of billions of animals worldwide for human gain. Over seventy three billion cows, sheep, pigs and chicken are killed every year for human consumption. Seventy three billion animals, for just 7.8 billion humans. And this is not all the animals killed for food, nor does it include all the fish and birds killed.”

“The suffering of billions of animals worldwide every year who are used and abused for human gain counts as one of the major moral issues of our time.”

The suffering we inflict on animals has harmful effects on ourselves, argues Dr Linzey, not least of all on the environment. “The primary emission from animal agriculture is methane, which is four times more potent than carbon dioxide. Researchers have concluded that becoming vegan is the single most effective thing you can do personally to combat climate change. What we choose to consume will determine whether we are able to address the climate crisis. Climate change truly begins on our plate.”

Dr Linzey is Deputy Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and was preaching St Salvator’s Chapel in the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

Notes to Editors:

  • The full text is online here.
  • The service can be viewed here.
  • Dr Clair Linzey is the Frances Power Cobbe Professor of Animal Theology at the Graduate Theological Foundation as well as being Deputy Director of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. Her co-edited volumes include The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Animal Ethics (Routledge, 2018), and Ethical Vegetarianism and Veganism (Routledge, 2018). She is the author of Developing Animal Theology (Routledge, 2021).
  • The Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics is an independent centre pioneering ethical perspectives on animals through academic research, teaching, and publication. The Centre comprises more than 100 academic Fellows who aim to help people think differently about animals.