Vegetarianism is the belief in a diet based on plants. Gandhi, who was a vegetarian all his life said that “all science based on the shedding of innocent blood was without consequence.” This theme has been taken up by many today who would replace, for example, dissection of animals with computer simulation.
Many feel that true nonviolence cannot stop at the human community only, and indeed philosophers in the Ancient world, both Greek and Roman, pointed out that cruelty to animals was only a prelude or enabling factor to cruelty to one’s fellow humans. Unfortunately, the pursuit of animal rights today is not always carried out by nonviolent means. Gandhi decried the killing of Muslims because of their killing of cows just as we should protest the violence of some animal rights organizations.
For Gandhi, vegetarianism had the added purpose of helping to control the palate, which he knew was a valuable aid to the control of the mind. Vegetarianism is additionally beneficial because of its health benefits and low environmental impacts and sustainability of producing a plant based diet.