The Belgian city of Ghent has become the first in the world (outside India) to go vegetarian at least once a week. Ghent means to recognize the impact of livestock on the environment. The UN says livestock is responsible for nearly one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions, hence Ghent’s declaration of a weekly “veggie day”.
The concept of ‘Vegetarianism’ is an evolutionary phenomenon in mankind. The earliest proto form of the human being, who walked on the two hind limbs instead of the four as his predecessors had done, came into existence as long as 6 million years ago. That proto human being probably ate raw meat also. The cooked food with fire started about 1.9 million years ago, although its common use occurred only 50-100 thousand years from now with the development of modern brain in human being. Although mankind ate all types of wild plants earlier, the planned agriculture products became possible less than 10 thousand years ago. Undoubtedly the prehistoric cultures of India were amongst the earliest when the mankind opted for farming in place of hunting as evident from the excavation of Sindhu-Saraswati civilization. Hindu society continued to make rapid strides toward ‘Vegetarianism’ philosophy. However it is more likely that the Vedic rituals of the animal sacrifices were real and not just symbolic as some would like to believe. With the march of time, the animal sacrifices have almost disappeared. Hindus in Nepal, Bali and in few pockets in India still carry out the animal sacrifices in religious ceremonies.