New Ecopsychology
or Spiritual Ecology


Killing-Free Nutrition and Children

Transformation of oneself into love and reconsideration of all life principles from the standpoint of love is the essence of spiritual transformation not only in the case of adults but also of children.

In this article I want to discuss such an aspect of love as compassion, which necessarily implies switching to killing-free nutrition motivated by ethical reasons.

I remember how having read for the first time the book of Dr.Antonov How God Can Be Cognized [6] and having completely accepted everything written in it, I began to reexamine immediately my entire “system of values”. One of my first steps was to switch to killing-free nutrition. I was mostly shaken by the fact that in my life I have never contemplated on this subject myself!

Buying products made of meat and fish, we all know that they were not grown on garden beds. It is not a secret to anyone that they are bodies of killed animals.

Why, when we hear about a murder of man, we exclaim terrified: “How is it possible to take someone’s life! After all, it is sacred!” Or, if someone kills a dog or a cat, we again become indignant: “Ah, he is such a monster!“

Why then we all so easily accept killing of other animals? For a long time I could not understand: why it does not hurt us?

Attempting to answer this question myself, I realized that it is only a stereotype, a pattern of thinking that shields the entire horror of this problem from the mind. Most people as if wear “blinders” on their eyes.

From the early childhood, when parents give to their child the first concepts about the world, they say: “Oak is a tree, rose is a flower, grass is green, meat and fish are food”. And, perhaps, this most basic information, which the child receives from the parents, becomes an axiom that does not require confirmation. This information turns into a solid foundation, on which children build their relations with the world.

When I, being already an adult, finally realized what crime towards animals I have been committing my entire life, I was shaken to tears. Indeed I was not a heartless person! How could I allow them to suffer because of my gustatory whims?

And I am sure that this information can and should be told to children from an early age. Children, of course, cannot be forced to switch to a killing-free diet. It is enough from time to time to have conversations with the child on this topic — without becoming a bore. My own experience shows that there is no need to force your child to do this. Indeed, if parents themselves adhere to these ethical principles, if they live according to the principle of love — then their child most naturally assumes these standards of behavior — through the mechanism of imitation. Educating by our own example is the most efficient way of education.

When I myself switched to a killing-free nutrition — I immediately explained to my 4-years-old daughter why I did that.

I explained in acceptable to her form where meat and fish are taken from. And what torture cows, pigs, and chicken undergo; how a fish suffers when it is first pierced with a sharp hook and then, being caught, chokes and dies…

And the daughter, though being little, understood and accepted everything that I explained to her. Of course, in the beginning she could not keep to this principle completely. Sometimes she would forget her decision; and in the kindergarten certainly no one would prepare individually for her special meals. This is normal; there is no need to require the impossible from a child.

But as my daughter grew up, as she was reflecting on this subject after conversations with me and other adults — already in the school age — she completely accepted this ethical concept into her life as if it became a part of her own philosophy.

Sometimes children, and not only children, pose the question: “After all, we do not kill animals ourselves. What is our fault?”

I remember how in childhood someone read to me a story from classic Russian literary about a sentimental woman who witnessed how a pig was killed for food. Shaken, she fainted. But in the evening of the same day, she ate its meat with pleasure. At that time, I despised that woman and was very proud that I am not like her! What a blow to me was to understand in my older years that I was no different from her!

I did not kill animals with my hands, but I understood that I was culpable much more than any hunter, who kills his or her game with one shot. Because in order for food to appear on my table, animals had to go through a “factory of death”, inhaling the smell of blood of their congeners and expecting with horror their own terrible end.

Indeed we all, by buying meat or fish products in the store, give thus our implicit permission to murder, to the painful death of animals…

The problem of love-compassion is the first one that we must solve for ourselves if we want to approach God so close that we may cognize Him. The person who accepts, from early childhood, the law of love for everything living, the law of love that includes, among other things, the principle of compassion and of not causing harm to anyone, will stand on the Path of Love more firmly and will go on it much farther*.


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