The world we live in has both humans and animals. But over the recent past, we humans seem to have become a threat for these animals, in turn making them a threat to our lives. From the human-elephant conflict to various other issues Sri Lanka has experienced several unexpected scenarios as a result of rapid encroachment and unsustainable approaches in the name of development. Hence on World Animal Day which falls today, let’s take a moment to appreciate animals around us who immensely contribute to the environment we live in.
Message from Otara Gunawardene, Ambassador for World Animal Day :
“We must take the time to see the trail of suffering we create for animals. Abuse, torture, suffering has gone on for far too long. Because when you see the suffering we cause for innocent beings you just cannot ignore it. But here, we choose to remain ignorant, we choose to not see because it helps us to ignore the cruelty and a lot of the time the truth is hidden and not told or shown, because at the root of it all is profit and money. In the name of fancy cuisine, fashion, entertainment, religion and education the suffering is immense. No one should suffer; we are not superior to another being and we can live extremely well and happily without contributing to the cruelty. I have been a part of this as well. Then the day comes when you suddenly see what you are a part of. I am happy though that the world is changing. The last couple of years there have been great change for the benefit of animals and the movement is continuing to grow. Veganism is growing, many companies are adding on vegan menus and options, fashion brands have made commitments to stop using fur, mohair, rabbit etc,. Meat and milk consumption is dropping and people are moving away from riding elephants or going for events where they and other animals are being used.”
Otara further stated that people can bury their head in the sand and pretend it’s not happening or continue to justify why we need to continue to be cruel, but change is coming. “Remaining ignorant or choosing to ignore the suffering really does not make us better people. Even if you want to continue to commit the suffering you need to be conscious to it. Because if you are conscious of it, I am sure the majority will take the steps not to be a part of the cruelty. As a country Sri Lanka is a compassionate country, but we have strayed from it as years have passed; some of it due to influence which was not ours but which has remained and has continued to remain. It’s time to go back to our compassionate roots and bring the changes needed where the lives of both people and animals are valued and where they both have equal rights.”