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If we kill animals, do we have a right to live? - EDITORIAL

4 October 2015 07:09 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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n an era, when world leaders are implementing eco-friendly policies to save the world from a catastrophe, the international community yesterday marked World Animal Day, which called for deep reflection on the need for a paradigm shift to maintain the vital balance in the eco-system.
Just as human beings have rights, so do the environment and nature including often helpless and vulnerable animals.
World Animal Day is an international day of action for animal rights and welfare. It is celebrated annually on October 4 -the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of animals.
However, the day is not restricted to any particular religion. It started in 1931 at a convention of ecologists at Florence in Italy.
They wished to highlight the plight of endangered species. If the number of endangered species was in single digits then, a selfish, greedy and wicked world has brought about a catastrophe, where thousands of species face extinction.


The aim of the World Animal Day is to celebrate animal life in all its forms and humankind’s relationship with the animal kingdom.
Last Monday the Daily Mirror in its editorial focused attention on the San Diego based ‘Dharma Voices for Animals’ (DVA), a movement of those committed, both to practising the teachings of the Buddha and to speak out against the sufferings caused to animals.
The DVA says it wants to support those who are willing to speak out about the harm we cause other sentient beings, when we eat them, use their body parts as clothing and in other ways, or use household and personal hygiene products that are tested on animals.
 The DVA’s Co-Founder and President Bob Isaacson will be visiting Sri Lanka in November this year to propagate the vision and goals of the Dharma Voices of Animals. Mr. Isaacson says he was last year invited to attend the 27th General Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB). The theme of this conference held in China was “Buddhism and public charity.”




The DVA was admitted to this most prestigious international Buddhist organisation. Mr. Isaacson expressed to the late Dr. Ananda Guruge, his friend and mentor and who, at the time of his death, was acting as the Vice President of the WFB.
“As a practising vegetarian, my diet is completely plant-based, I was so happy to find that at every meal, eleven in all, an entire room of delicious, interesting, and healthy vegetarian food awaited us,” Mr. Isaacson said.
 At the first plenary meeting of this conference, Senaka Weeraratna, the Secretary of the German Dharmaduta Society based in Colombo, moved a resolution to create a Standing Committee to be named “Animal Welfare.” Mr. Weeraratne is one of the main organisers of Mr. Isaacson’s visit to Sri Lanka.
World Animal Day   must also draw us to focus attention on what is happening to hundreds if not thousands of marine species in our oceans. According to the latest report of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) nearly 3 billion people rely on fish as a major source of protein.




Marine vertebrate populations declined by 49 per cent between 1970 and 2012.
Populations of fish species utilised by humans have fallen by a half, with some of the most important species experiencing even greater declines. Around one in four species of sharks, rays and skates is now threatened with extinction, due primarily to overfishing.
We need to listen to the voices of suffering animals. We need to listen to the ocean, which is being destroyed along with thousands of marine species. Human beings are expected to be good stewards of nature, including animals and marine species. If we fail in that responsibility, we also forfeit our right to live.
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