Skip to Main Content

‘MEAT’ Stands for Mormons for Ethical Animal Treatment

Written by PETA | July 24, 2008

News flash: Virtually all scriptures encourage kindness and compassion. In any holy teachings—from the Bible to the Book of Mormon—you’ll find language that encourages kindness to animals. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that there are ties between Mormonism and vegetarianism.

Considering that today is Pioneer Day (it’s sorta like the Fourth of July, but only for Utah and … not on July 4), Chris Foster—founder of the group Mormons for Animals—is encouraging Mormons to practice kindness to animals in accordance with their faith.

“The Mormon doctrine is strongly pro-animal. And it’s strongly opposed to any kind of cruelty to animals, including mistreatment and killing when it is not necessary,” Foster told local media outlet KCPW. “Unfortunately, Mormon culture didn’t quite live up to that.” Might this be because some people still opt to eat animals, despite the endless array of non-animal alternatives that everyone in modern society has access to?

I could restate this all day, but here’s the basic idea: be truly kind, not selectively kind.

Posted by Sean Conner

Commenting is closed.
  • Per68 says:

    I’m a Mormon a vegan a private animal rescuer and a proud PETA supporter. After reading all of the comments I’m a little dissapointed that Mormons are lumped into a group of “bad people” because of the terrible actions or examples of one or a few. I love my faith and oppose cruelty and neglect in any form whether it be to a person animal our planet etc. as does the Mormon faith. Yes I was brought up in a meat eating househould but I was taught how to love and respect others including animals. I have carried that over into my adulthood and am teaching those same values to my son. As an adult I learned where my meat came from and made the decision to not eat anything that comes from an animal. That education has broadened my sense of duty and responsibility and I also in my spare time rescue dogs cats and other animals and place them into loving homes. I work to educate people on the horrors of factory farming puppy mills etc. Are there socalled bad apples within the LDSMormon faith? Yes but we find that everywhere in every city country religion etc. All I know is I can’t judge anyone else only myself. And I try to live my life as a Mormon and a vegan being the best person I can be and getting the occassional kick in the butt when needed

  • Holly says:

    I have read alot about doctrine and eating the meat of animals. What I would like to know about is the LDS stance on those who use animal cruelly for monetary gain feeding live animals to another for “food” or sport and the abuse of animals in exhibit for monetary gain. Where does that fall?? I do not know LDS doctrine but I know I know I do not agree with it. i have been subjected to all of the above at work in the last two weeks but I have an LDS company owner who laughs and shows no concern. I would like to express my concerns but don’t know how to proceed other than resigning…please assist me with some accurate information on ideas and information so I may plead my case.

  • saskia says:

    Hi Mormon raw vegan here yep active one even have a temple recommend got me a houseful of Mormon kids they are vegetarians as well even got my hubby to not eat meat at home. I even have a friend who is Mormon and her family is vegetarian but I will say this we Mormons have a word of Wisdom and if it was really studied there would be more vegetarians. The response my family gets from our choices at church from some people is too bad but all we can do is set a good example and hopefully inspire others.

  • Laira says:

    I am sorry that there is so much misunderstanding out there. What the people that belong to the church do and what the teachings are can be different for some. However don’t judge one person for their beliefs on the actions of another. Mormons are generally good people but do misunderstand this not very often talked about doctrine. That does not make them bad. I am mormon and vegan and am very happy with my lifestyle. I do not judge others. I think a lot of it has to do with the culture you were brought up in. The American culture is typically an obese meat eating culture and many good people of all religions follow this trend. Many latterday saints that belong to vegetarian societies such as a number of tribes in many small islands are vegetarian and care deeply for animal welfare. Open your eyes and look around you before you start pointing the finger at one small group of people. I think it is great that Chris Foster is promoting a healthier lifestyle and people of all faiths will benefit from following his advice.

  • Rita says:

    My nephew’s mom is a mormon and her entire family is the worst when it comes to animal treatment. They go and pick out a cow to slaughter every month then save the whole thing in a freezer. Their mom runs a what basically amounts to a puppymill for Cockerpoos in her backyard. They spend their lives in a small cage in the backyard. I’ve called the police on them before but the police did nothing. Every year or so my nephew’s mom gives him a new puppy and then gives it back to her own mom when it gets too big and gives him another puppy. And my nephew’s cousin was holding a puppy upside down and dropped it a couple of times and the parents did nothing. When I went over and took it from her she screamed and threw a tantrum and the parents just glared at me. What is WRONG with Mormons? They disgust me with their neglect.

  • Anna says:

    I am also Mormon Vegetarian and personally know many other Mormon vegetarians as well. And I love it that our doctrine actually talks about treating animals humanely. I agree that it would be nice if more members took that portion of our doctrine seriously. But it is still a step in the right direction to have it spelled out that meat should be eaten sparingly…

  • Julie Meyers says:

    I know several Mormons who are vegetarians. I could name off over 20 just off the top of my head. It really just depends on where you live. Jut because their aren’t any around you doesn’t mean there aren’t any.

  • Elise says:

    I am a Mormon and a vegetarian. I get ridiculed ALL the time by mormons telling me I am not following the word of wisdom and I’m sick of it. So what is wrong with wanting to spare an animal a life of torture? And how can they judge me when I know they are eating meat for every meal against our teachings I do not believe it is wrong to eat meat and I do believe that Jesus ate meat. However I bet He wouldn’t have eaten any meat that came from a factory farm where the animals are constantly tortured. I wish that the Mormon church would step up to the plate and so that people were more aware of the important doctrine that they are not obeying eat meat sparingly. There is good reason for it and most don’t give it a second thought.

  • Axel says:

    Wait Mormons believe in a proanimal doctrine? What ever happened to man having dominion over all the animals? Aren’t there a ton of Biblical references to eating animals? Jesus ate meat Fish especially He gave others meat to eat Jesus didn’t have a thing against people eating animals. Any Mormon who has the audacity to say humans shouldn’t eat meat is saying Jesus was wrong and if they do they just aren’t Mormons are they?

  • Amber says:

    I am also a member of the LDS church and a vegan. I live in Utah and Idaho it’s a college thing… so it would make sense that a large majority of the people I know are omni. But it seems to me that the veg lifestyle is catching on and growing in popularity for lack of a better word just like it is outside the Mormon bubble. I have a good number of friends and acquaintances who are at least vegetarian and much of their inspiration as is mine is spiritual. Around here people are big on tradition. It’s annoying but it’s often what influences their lifestyle choices the most.

  • Adam says:

    I live in Utah and I used to eat meat however have changed to a lacovegetarian diet. when I went to Kentucky I was suprised to see how much meat was consumed there compared to what I’m used to seeing in Utah although I believe Utah consumes 30 more than the national average. but then again I don’t think it represents the culture at large perhaps just the home I was staying at in Kentucky. I do know a lot of vegetarians in Utah although not to many vegans. I first became interested in it when I started studying religous studies at a University here. John Tylor the third leader of the LDS Mormon faith 1880 to 1887 wrote a document called The Government of God in this document it outlines that before the coming of Christ people need to switch basically to a vegetarian diet. If this does not happen the coming will take longer is the impression I took from it. I would have to read it again to see if it implies veganism or just vegetarianism. Also Lorenzo Snow the fith president of the LDS church from 1898 to 1901 quit hunting for sport when he “had a change of heart”. Hyrum Smith the brother of Joseph Smith wrote in a LDS Church publication Times and Seasons in relation to the Word of Wisdom to Let men attend to these instructions let them use the things ordained of God let them be sparing of the life of animals it is pleasing saith the Lord that flesh be used only in times of winter or of famine. There is a famous story of Joseph Smith on a march of LDS members between Kirtland to Missouri. Some people were going to attack some snakes found in a tent but Joseph Smith told them to stop and that “Men must become harmless before the brute creation and when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race the lion and the lamb can dwell together and the sucking child can play with the serpent in safety.” Anyway I could write more but I think I will leave it there. Check out

  • Candice says:

    I am LDS and also vegan. I agree with this professor 100. I believe that treating each other animals and our earth in the best way we know possible is showing respect for all of God’s creations. That’s why I am vegan. I know many LDS people who are abhorred at hunting and don’t think rodeos are fun at all. Many try to follow the “eat meat sparingly” part of the Word of Wisdom and many have deep respect for animals. I think it all depends on the culture around which you live. I live in Utah and there are some people who don’t seem to think much about animal rights BUT some of them aren’t LDS either. I think it’s all about the culture that you surround yourself with. You have to remember that animal rights is not a religious issue this professor is only doing what he can to help open people’s minds with different points of LDS doctrine. People all over the nation consume TONS of meat not just LDS people. So please don’t be a bigot.

  • Gentleman says:

    dr. breen you are the bigot here! stop harrassing fine ladies and gentlemen!

  • animalfriend says:

    to mountain mover of course you have the right here to tell us what you think and believe but it is wrong to put the christian religion over other believings! such fatal errors led directly to the crusades inquisition witchhunt horrible crimes during the conquista bigot persecutions in the early days of american villages remember salem discrimination of the jewish faith and any other relgion! there are christian fanatics who go as far as seeing even the devil in other religions this is very very dangerous and against the principles of universal love! concerning the animal rights there are always backminded people in all religions who try to make the world believe that the human being has a godgiven right to kill and abuse other forms of life according to their whims! when peter was told to kill and eat this had a completely other meaning from what you tell us this means he should bring the word to the pagans and jump over his shadow to enter the house of the roman officer because the romans ate everything the jewish not! in the first years christian religion was completely vegetarian all the church fathers like chrisostomos eusebius tertullian bonifacius athanasius clement of alexandria origen augustinus etc. were vegetarians and jesus’ direct disciple who baptised the ethiopian chanceller sent him back directly to ethiopia where until nowadays you can find the oldest vegetarian christian community on this planet who lives together in harmony with animals coming to them from all africa! they seek shelter with them and nobody harms the other! christian religion in her origins is completely vegetarian and nobody can change this! furthermore jesus told us in the gospel according to mark go and preach the gospel to every CREATURE! do you think that you can preach the gospel in the slaughterhouse or a fur farm or in a vivisection laboratory? so i think that it is high noon for the christians to start to think about all this and to be honest in order to see the things without distortion! why is it then that we got personalities like saint francis from assisi bernard from clairvaux antonius from padua therese from lisieux don bosco and many many other saints to teach us about to be veeeeeeeery kind to animals if it’s not jesus who sent them into a later world to teach us because in his time he himself explained that he could not tell us everything because it was too early to be understood! i think that the time has come to understand! and to be willing to understand! the same statement here i could make for islam etc! think with the heart and be honest! thank you for taking into consideration!

  • Soliel says:

    Dr. Breen Calling someone a “moron” is not nice. And thinking that all religious folk are “a little dumb” reveals YOUR bigotry and intolerance. It reflects on YOU not the people you dislike. I have met a lot of people like you who are intensely left brained and judgemental of others who believe in things other than material items. Every single one of them knew jack about what they were rejecting. I had an ex like you who criticized the spiritual books I read yet he knew NOTHING about them. I consider THAT close minded and intolerant and bigoted.

  • Saucy says:

    Please do not spread the lies from Hell on this Post. And save yourself do not presume to think for a moment that Jesus would eat meat or approves of it. Jesus was the king of fasting. Peter was repeatedly rebuked by Jesus. In fact Jesus said to Peter “Get the behind me Satan” The Church would do good to learn this lesson and fast while they can still call themselves the church!

  • rachel says:

    I’m LDS Mormonand I am a vegan well not exactly I do eat honey. The Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants both promote kindness to animals. Yes many Mormons do eat meat however the doctrine states that it is to be eaten only in times of famine and if possible not at all. Have Mormons always followed this doctrine? Unfortunately not Presidents of the Church in the past have encouraged stricter obedience to a code of health know as “The word of Wisdom” given by revelation to Church members when it was organized. Most Mormons are very good at keeping half of it Abstaining from coffee tea and tobacco however we tend to not keep the do’s of the Word of Wisdom very well eating a diet rich in grains and fruits and vegetables eating meat very sparingly only in times famine. In our day and age there are too many resources to need any meat. So yes the doctrine has always been there but we have been slow to follow it. As for the comment on Mormons being cruel to animals I’m sorry to hear that I have only my parents as examples and my dad is a veterinarian who would spend countless hours fixing and healing wildlife for free. I remember him making a cast from fiberglass and epoxy so for a large turtle that had been run over and had lost half of it’s shell. Anyway if you have anymore questions on LDS beliefs and the Word of Wisdom you can look it up on or

  • Des says:

    That’s interesting to know thanks for posting! xx

  • Kelley says:

    they meant “moron” dr but only when they talk about you…haha the “doctor” is obviously not getting enough patients to satisfy his loneliness so he has to complain on a blog lol and now i’m done talking about him i’d rather focus my energy on people that care about animals cheers!

  • kali says:

    This is really strange. I have never heard of this and I live in Utah surrounded by friends and family who are very much mormon and not one of them is even close to being vegetarian or even friendly to animals. Most of them are meat and potato eaters rodeo goers and avid AVID hunters. Most of them let their cats roam and leave their dogs tied up in their backyards all year long. Mormons are the most small minded cruel meat eating animal abusing people I have ever met.

  • Maya, CVT says:

    I’m sorry to say that the only Mormon I know of is Mitt Romney. And having lived under his dictatorship in Massachusetts I can’t even explain the kind of evil this guy exudes. I refuse to judge any religion but Romeny sure didn’t make a good example. McCain is thinking of using Romney as Vice President by the way so if any PETA folks are by some strange chance voting for McCain I’d look up Romneys specs before you make your final decision!!!

  • Mountain Mover says:

    As one who got a degree in world religions I can attest that many religions can manage to say good things about how to act in this world. Some may even say to treat others including animals well like you would want to be treated. That is one thing. But there is a reason that that does not determine what religion is correct. Honestly read what Jesus said and imagine yourself in Jerusalem during the three years in which Jesus publicly worked his miracles and taught about Himself and His Father God whom He said He is one in spirit with. Don’t be deceived by some system saying something that sounds good to you even Satan masquerading as a messenger of light. Compare their teachings to the words of Jesus the only mediator the lamb of God the only Son of God the Alpha and Omega the only way to the Father etc etc. which you can read in the Bible. Without believing in His name and accepting Him accepting his blood and actually being born again you go to the second death the eternal Lake of Fire. Jesus made it very clear that you do not earn Heaven by your works but by faith out of which good works then get born anyway. Should animals be placed first or should God be placed first? Obviously God should be placed first and only and Jesus whom the Father made the Lord said to have mercy and do to others as you would have done to you and He said eating any meat including pork is not a sin if it is done with thanks and faith. As God said to Peter kill and eat and do not make unclean what God has made clean. Mormonism fine try to get those people to care for other beings but Mormonism teaches things that cannot possibly be compatible with the gospel of salvation. And all the other ideas people post around here about other religions only serve to mislead. Care for animals and people based on what you find in Jesus not based on it sounding good to you. And as there is no glory in any other name than Jesus there is no glory in “Peta” or “Mormon” or the people or idols of any of the false paths which understanding you can acquire by reading the New Testament. People should follow Jesus and not Peta. And they should certainly not be tricked into spreading glory to religions and idols which can only take people to Hell as they are Satan’s lies which oppose the truth of the gospel of Jesus.

  • GB says:

    Well there is this Mormon named Glenn Beck on CNN who always says things against animals and no matter what is done to them he does not show any care for them. He could use his show to really help tell about the great tortures done to animals but he has shown that he is totally coldhearted and does not care. It apparently means nothing to him that feeling beings are tortured boiled alive skinned alive you know all that. If he cared at all and thought that was part of his religion then he would speak up about it and try to stop it. You should all write to him but it won’t change what hge is made of.

  • Amanda says:

    I cannot wrap my mind around how someone can justify murder ? I asked my coworkers the other day “Do you agree with murder” they all answered “No” and than I said “Is murder not when you kill another being?” and they said almost in syn “Yes” and than I asked “Than don’t you feel like hypocrits when you say murder is wrong since you yourselves are accomplices to murder?” and they looked at me all bewildered. “Didn’t something have to die for you to eat that?” I pointed at their lunches and walked away with a smirk on my face and muttered “I’d hate to be a murder”. I was happy that I actually SAW that I made them THINK

  • Mary Mitchell says:

    You will find justification for both kindness and cruelty to animals in most religious doctrines. People will often use their religion to justify whichever personal view they hold finding “authority” for it in scripture. Thus Christians can cite Genesis to promote vegetarianism and some Muslims cite examples in the Hadith to claim Mohammed loved dogs and was a vegetarian. Mary

  • Jennifer says:

    Wow Brande R do you think it might be a coincidence that in Idaho most of the animal abuse cases are Mormons considering Idaho demographics? Great point. All Mormons are different just as all people are different. Dont slam them for what they DONT do because its no different than typical Americans. Just appreciate that there is hope that one day they will live up the doctorine.

  • Jennifer says:

    Wow! That’s news to me I have grown up around mormons all my life. I have always found them to be cruel and small minded. Never to treat or think of an animal as more than food or a possesion. Most of the animal abuse cases we come across in Idaho are in fact owned by mormons. I would love to see them turn over a new leaf.

  • brandie r says:

    Mkay. I am Seventh Day Adventist and we don’t eat pork. So yay us for sparing at least one type of animals life. Yes there are meat eaters but we also have a lot of vegetarians. Me being one of them. So yay Seventh Day Adventists! I haven’t met a mormon that teaches kindess to animals but then again this is 2008. So times change and people don’t continue to follow doctrines.

  • Rainbow Warrior says:

    Hi Soliel i would like to answer your question about kindness to animals in different holy scriptures additionally to the ones you mentioned i would like to inform you that the Massai tribes in Africa are not killing their famous Watussi bovine and their religion believes that all the cows of the world belong to them when in western countries so many cows are slaughtered they are outraged! furthermore there are two almost ignored great religious personalities who are telling in their scriptures not to kill animals the japanese shinto goddess amaterasu omi kami a great spirit of compassion towards all living beings and the taoistbuddhist goddess kwan yin. you find their website by searching google vegan and vegetarian elite of the world website of her holyness pubreme master jing hai! i hope to have been of help to you also sikhs in general are vegetarians like vishnu believing hindus and many buddhists!

  • kathleen smith says:

    So thats all religious groups except the “Micheal Reid Ministeries” then that encourage kindness to animals. They dont allow vegetarians in their church because “its in the Bible that God intends us to eat meat” according to one member of this particular church who i spoke to!!

  • Soliel says:

    Hi…I am sort of a student of different scriptures and what they say about treatment of animals. I know the Bible has references to this. I also know Buddhism and Hinduism and yogic philosophy in general promote kindness to all creatures. I am pretty sure the Sikhs have it in their holy book as well. And Judaism has it too. Could you tell me other religions that promote kindness in their holy books. I am just curious. Thanks

  • Kathleen says:

    Thank you for this article!!!

  • John says:

    Wow! I have known many Mormons over the years and despite all the Mormon doctrine I have not met one Mormon vegetarian much less vegan. Congratulations to Chris Foster and to all involved in Mormons for Animals. Best Wishes in all your endeavours.