Vegetarian or vegan? What about lab-grown beef? Hindus follow scriptures for diet advice

by | Oct 20, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — Animal rights activists and ecologically concerned citizens may have led the charge into veganism — a lifestyle that continues to gain prominence for its sustainability — but more and more Hindus are adopting modern ideas about plant-based diets to the ancient principle of ahimsa, or nonviolence against all living beings.“For me, being vegan was the best option to have the least carbon footprint,” said Karthik Ramkrishnan, a construction manager who moved from India, the world’s most vegetarian-friendly nation, to the East Coast in 2009. “And spiritually speaking, I didn’t want my existence to be dependent on any other species.”
Pew Research Center data from 2016 shows that some 44% of Hindus in India say they are vegetarian and that Hindus with higher levels of religious observance are more likely to be vegetarian. Of Indians who do eat meat, which included eggs in the survey, many said they have at least some restrictions on their meat-eating, abstaining on certain holy days or from certain kinds of meat.
The survey also found that most Indian Hindus say a person who eats beef cannot be Hindu. Cows are revered for their connection with Lord Krishna. Many small farmers in India own cattle for their family’s daily dairy supply, and the presence of gaushalas, or protective shelters for stray cows, is common thr …

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