Compassionate Eating as Care of Creation

By Matthew C Halteman

I was introduced to Professor Matt Halteman by an ASWA member who told me that I really should read his some of his work.

I found out about a wonderful little booklet entitled ‘Compassionate Eating as Care of Creation'. It is published by the Humane Society of the United States where it serves as an integral component of a new national initiative - HSUS Animals and Religion - that seeks to promote concern for animals among religious audiences. A limited number of copies of the book are available via the ASWA shop.  It is also available as a download free of charge online in pdf format at the Humane Research of the United States Faith Outreach website:

Although based in the USA, Matt Halteman is also a fellow at the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. He is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He holds a PhD in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame, and has published in the fields of 20th century European Philosophy and Animal Ethics. His work in the former discipline has appeared, among other places, in Continental Philosophy Review, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, and The Philosophical Review. In Animal Ethics, Professor Halteman's research has focused primarily on the importance of moral concern for animals in religious traditions, especially on the spiritual disciplinary prospects of exercising this concern through the daily practice of compassionate eating.

Professor Halteman's animal ethics and activism course, ‘Peaceable Kingdom: Transforming Our Relationships With Animals', was recently honoured with the 2007 Animals and Society Course Award for Innovation. His guiding aspiration is to produce work that facilitates fruitful interaction between scholars and activists for the purpose of engendering well-researched, well-argued public education on the moral standing of animals.

The booklet is very readable for those of us who are not scholars and contains colour photographs. It covers such subjects as ‘Compassionate Eating as a Spiritual Discipline' and Compassionate Eating - An Ecumenical Christian Vision. Professor Halteman also covers an important section on Factory Farming and the Hidden costs to Human Beings, the Environment and also of course to the animals themselves.

Touchingly, when he thanks all those at the end who helped him with the booklet, he saves his final comment for his wife Susan ‘whose deep compassion for animals helped me see the faces of unique individuals where once I had only seen beasts'.

Samantha Chandler