At God's Politics, Tracey Bianchi writes about giving up meat for Lent. Most of her reasons for doing so, she writes, are
"rooted in my love of God’s Creation."
She goes on to write:
"And since raising beef and other meat places a heavy burden on our ecosystems, and because it is considerably kinder to the planet if I eat grain and vegetable products, I’m going to skip it altogether for this season."
"since God made this place, it seems wise to take note of that fact and make a commitment for a few weeks to help honor that Creation."
Bianchi is writing about vegetarianism and about environmentalism. However, at no point in her post does she even hint at any actual concern for animals. I find that absence glaring. She is skipping meat to help the environment, but not mentioning helping the creatures that share this environment with us. She expresses sincere love and concern for God's Creation, but in this context creation seems to include the earth itself, but not the sentient creatures that God created. She advocates skipping on eating animals to protect the earth, not to avoid causing death and suffering to those very animals.
I am aware, of course, that vegetarianism is not traditionally associated with Christian thought or practice, and that furthermore Christians can cite scripture to justify eating animals (I might only point out that Genesis strongly suggests Adam and Eve did not eat meat before the Fall--perfect creation did not involve killing animals for food). But an environmentalist concern for God's creation, I think, should not leave the concerns of animals out. They are a part of God's Creation, and are in fact thinking, feeling beings created by God. Being Christian did not teach me to be a vegetarian; however, being Christian taught me about compassion and integrity, virtues which led me to be a vegetarian.
I am glad that Bianchi is concerned for the environment, and using a medium to encourage others to reduce their meat consumption. If Christians can eliminate (or even reduce) consumption of animals during Lent, that is a good thing. And I would encourage Christians to consider Lent a beginning, and to try make a long-term change to avoid eating animals.