25 October, 2020

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The Blood On Our Hands: How You Can Go Vegan To Help The Voiceless & Save The Planet In The Process

Aadesh Wickrematunge

Last month, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa submitted a proposal to ban cattle slaughter in Sri Lanka. The Parliamentary Group of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) approved the prime minister’s proposal. The following article makes an impassioned case not just for the non-consumption of meat but brings to light the horrors of the dairy industry and why human beings should adopt a vegan lifestyle. ‘While we take care of our pets and wince at videos of animal cruelty, we also condemn innocent cows, chickens, pigs, lambs and fish to the slaughterhouse to be cut up into pieces, drained of their blood and sent to the supermarket in neat packages for us to enjoy. We may in our hearts truly believe we love animals, but what that means is we’re suffering a kind of cognitive dissonance where our actions don’t align with our beliefs. Not only do we not intervene in this morally reprehensible crime, we pay and fatten up the industries that are causing it to happen, so that they continue the torture on our behalf.’

By Aadesh Wickrematunge

Each year some 77 billion land animals and over 100 billion marine animals are murdered for food around the world. It is a holocaust, and it is the longest, most colossal holocaust in all of history. And on what grounds do we, as consumers, justify our contribution to this holocaust? 

Taste pleasure, convenience, personal choice, tradition, because animals eat other animals etc.

On what other issues would we ever even entertain, let alone accept, such asinine justifications? 

The core of the issue is this – if it’s unnecessary to kill and eat animals to survive, what justification do we have for doing so? Animals have been victimised by man to such a massive degree that they aren’t even considered victims anymore. They are mere commodities with number tags, stripped of the inherent value of being a sentient being. But in reality they are living, feeling beings just like us, and they are the most oppressed beings ever. What they are going through is a holocaust of proportions unparalleled. And for what, other than to indulge an insatiable greed for taste pleasure? 

In issues of injustice, we must always see things from the perspective of the oppressed, not the oppressor. Remove yourself from the perspective of a human and for just a moment try to imagine being a prisoner from birth, being torn away from your loved ones, living a miserable life denied of freedom, and then, finally having your throat slit so that someone may feast on your flesh for some momentary pleasure. A taste pleasure that costs that animal its entire life. This is how it is for factory farm animals, and for any other non-human being reared for its flesh. How do we morally justify doing these things if it’s unnecessary? Are your taste buds worth more than the entire life and wellbeing of an animal? 

Some might be offended by my usage of the word holocaust. Yet the dictionary definition of holocaust is exactly descriptive of what factory farming is – slaughter on a mass scale. Take it from Isaac Bashevis Singer, who escaped Nazi occupied Poland. ‘’What do they know?” he asks. “All these scholars, all these philosophers, all the leaders of the world, they have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of all the species, is the crown of creation, and all the animals were made for us to be food. To be tormented and exterminated. In relation to animals, all humans are nazis. For the animals, it is an eternal Treblinka.’’

That anyone would dispute this, from an actual holocaust survivor, is a testament to how deeply indoctrinated we are, and to how far gone we are, in order to justify our unappeasable animal eating habits. Justifying this, is justifying a holocaust. 

Now you might think that your decision to consume animal products is a personal choice, and being a personal choice, vegans should stop condemning animal eaters. Live and let live, as they say. Well, vegans ought to stop condemning people for their choices once animal eaters stop condemning animals to slaughterhouses to have their throats slit open so they can enjoy a burger. Or a mus curry. Something is no longer a personal choice when there’s a victim involved, just like a killer may think they are making a personal choice when deciding to kill someone, or a rapist when deciding to sexually assault someone. Should we condone the behaviour of rapists and murderers and their decision to cause unnecessary suffering to others, on the basis of the sensory pleasure they derive from this? We wouldn’t even justify the torture of child molestors and murderers, and of our own worst enemies, yet we come up with whatever justification we can, so that we can do it to the most vulnerable and innocent of beings. 

The animal agriculture industry knows how horrific their industry practices are, and that if we, the consumers, had any idea of the horrors that went on behind walls, we wouldn’t buy their products. That’s why they give us marketing labels and advertisements of ‘happy cows’ to distract us from the grim reality, so that they can make a profit off us, and a profit off exploiting animals. A good example of this is the term ‘free range.’ When we see those ‘free range’ labels on eggs in the supermarket, we assume the hens that produced those eggs live a good life, wandering around freely, and most importantly, living without fear, exploitation or pain. However, it is very much the opposite. Free range hens come from hatcheries where male chicks are thrown into a blender to be macerated alive within moments of their birth, all because they are viewed as a waste product. Female chicks are oftentimes de-beaked, and egg-laying hens are shoved in small cages with such little space that they can’t even turn around or lie down. Ultimately, all free range hens end up in slaughterhouses to have their lives ruthlessly snuffed out. Do not fall prey to the marketing ploys – free range is a fabrication by the animal industry, designed to ease our conscience as consumers, so that we can continue to be complicit in this mass atrocity. 

Let’s also dispense with the ‘humane meat’ and ‘humane slaughter’ crutch many choose to lean on to justify their meat-eating. The definition of humane is to show compassion and benevolence. But how can one compassionately and benevolently murder a being who doesn’t want to die? Simply put, ‘humane slaughter’ is an oxymoron, because you can never justify taking the life of another being when they don’t need to die, and therefore slavery, cruelty, torture and murder can never be compassionate or benevolent. 

But only refraining from consuming meat isn’t enough, for the dairy industry is just as cruel, if not more cruel and horrifying than the meat industry. For a dairy cow to produce milk, she must be pregnant or have recently given birth. Cows will be forcibly impregnated by dairy farmers who will shove their arm into the animal’s anus, and then inject her vagina with bull semen. This is more or less rape and the cows will suffer both physical and psychological distress. It is even performed on an apparatus that is commonly referred to in the industry as a ‘rape rack.’ Once the cow gives birth after a 9-month pregnancy, her baby is snatched away because, heaven forbid, one simply cannot have a baby cow drinking the milk that we humans want. When her baby is taken, the mother cow will bellow in extreme anguish for days, sometimes months, even returning to the same place where she last saw her baby. The terrified calves who are pining for their mothers are dispatched to the slaughterhouse, shot in the head with a bolt gun and have their throats slashed open so someone somewhere can salivate over a veal parmigiana. The female babies suffer the same fate as their mother, spending their life being hooked to milking machines until years later, when they are completely exhausted and cannot provide milk anymore, they are sent to their deaths.

Fortunately, we as intelligent beings possessing moral agency, can change this. Next time you are in the supermarket, you can either choose dairy and contribute to the unimaginable suffering it causes to a mother and her calf, or move your hand a few centimeters away and pick up an alternative such as rice milk, coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk or oat milk. At least one of these options, if not others, will be available.

Earthlings, a 2005 documentary about the human exploitation of animals

Many of us consider ourselves to be animal lovers, because we genuinely love our dogs and cats. But this doesn’t really make us animal lovers, it makes us speciesist. Just like racism is the discrimination and prejudice directed towards people based on an ethnic group, speciesism is the differing treatment and moral consideration we give beings based on the membership of their species. We think we have the right to enslave, torture, mutilate and murder any non-human being. While we take care of our pets and wince at videos of animal cruelty, we also condemn innocent cows, chickens, pigs, lambs and fish to the slaughterhouse to be cut up into pieces, drained of their blood and sent to the supermarket in neat packages for us to enjoy. But if it was dogs and cats in those cages being hacked to pieces, we would be outraged. We protest something like the Yulin dog meat festival, but what moral difference is there between a dog and a cow? None, other than that we have arbitrarily decided some are okay to care for, and others to be bolt-gunned in the head for a burger. 

We may in our hearts truly believe we love animals, but what that means is we’re suffering a kind of cognitive dissonance where our actions don’t align with our beliefs. Not only do we not intervene in this morally reprehensible crime, we pay and fatten up the industries that are causing it to happen, so that they continue the torture on our behalf. 

And that’s just ethics. Animal agriculture is also responsible for causing the most severe environmental calamities that we currently face as a species. It produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all of transportation combined. It is the leading cause of habitat loss, responsible for up to 91% of Amazon rainforest destruction. It is responsible for topsoil erosion, land desertification and oceanic dead zones. The United Nations has even announced that in order to circumvent the most detrimental impacts of climate change, the world must switch to a plant-based diet. It is the number one cause of water pollution, where every day, farms produce billions of pounds of manure that end up in lakes, rivers, and even our drinking water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the runoff from factory farms pollutes our rivers and lakes more than all other industrial sources combined. Many scientists even predict that by the year 2048 we could have fishless oceans, and already, 75% of the world’s fisheries are exploited or depleted. 

And that’s not all. The consumption of animal products is also incredibly resource-depleting. Worldwide, animal farming uses about 70% of the Earth’s accessible freshwater, so much so that one person going vegan saves around 1,100 gallons of water each day, thereby dramatically decreasing their impact on the environment. One third of the world’s grain is wasted feeding livestock when it could be used to feed humans. Farmed animals, at least in the U.S. produce 130 times as much excrement as our human population. One half of the 79,000 tonnes of ocean plastic in the great pacific garbage patch, is made of fishing nets. The takeaway here is, the number one thing we can do if we want to make a change to the environment, is to go vegan.

It’s not even asking much. As a vegan, you can eat many of the foods you ate before. Ice cream and burgers and curries and chocolate and sweets, all veganized versions. You can eat all these without causing unspeakable suffering and pain to animals. The misconception that veganism is restrictive is just that; a misconception. The cheapest, healthiest foods on earth, rice, beans, legumes, potatoes, fruits, nuts, vegetables, pasta, are all vegan. There is little to no inconvenience in making that transition to avoid causing so much suffering and harm, and if you do truly find it inconvenient to be a vegan, then just think about what it’s like from the animal’s perspective, for whatever inconveniences you may have in your dietary restrictions pale in comparison to the incredible suffering animals must endure their entire lives. All we have to do as a society, to end all of this unimaginable abuse and horror, this morally reprehensible atrocity and contribution to environmental devastation of proportions unforeseen, is to choose something else on the menu. To choose cotton over wool. To buy almond milk over dairy milk. To buy soy over beef. 

And let’s not forget the health argument either. The American Dietetic Association and the British Dietetic Association, which are the largest bodies of diet and nutrition professionals in both countries, have categorically stated that a vegan diet is nutritionally adequate, healthy and safe for all stages of life including pregnancy. Every nutrient and vitamin that we need to sustain a healthy life can be obtained on a plant-based diet. In fact, the leading diseases and illnesses affecting the world, such as heart disease, certain cancers, osteoporosis, dementia, type 2 diabetes, strokes, hypertension, are all hugely linked to the consumption of animal products. Shifting to a vegan diet can not only prevent them, it has even been demonstrated to reverse some of them as well. Animal products have been shown to have significant health consequences, such as heart disease (the rate of death by CVD for omnivores is 50%, 4% for vegans) and cancer (Cancer Research UK recently published that it doesn’t matter how much red meat you eat, it is always better if you eat less to reduce your risk of cancer.)

While we know that we can survive and thrive on a plant-based diet, this shouldn’t be the central issue nor the reason why someone decides to go vegan. Even if there were no health, or even environmental benefits to being vegan, so long as we can survive on such a diet, that fundamentally means that the exploitation and murder of animals for their flesh is entirely unnecessary. It has no place in a civilized society and should be abolished as such.

It is absurd that in a country of predominantly Buddhists, a religion that espouses non-violence and compassion as critical ethical principles for us to uphold, a country with profound culturally entrenched values, finds itself just as complicit in this horrendous holocaust as any other. If one really claims to be a Buddhist, especially a devout Buddhist, then they ought to stop consuming animal products just as much as they should abide by any of the precepts. 

Now, it’s often said that the Buddha himself ate meat, and there are several passages in the Vinaya Pitaka that allude to the Buddha or the monastics eating meat. However, this is an exception, one which only applies to the accepting of alms. Monks did not have a choice of what food they could and could not eat, as they had to rely on the laity to provide for them. This has no relevance to you, the householder, buying food at the grocery store. We can’t apply the standard of monks 2500 years ago to our current lifestyle as lay people who choose our own food. When you purchase animal products with your money, you are generating demand. This is basic supply and demand economics: if a product is sold, the store will have it restocked. You are in essence, sending the message that you want more animals to be slaughtered and are supplying the funds for this to happen. 

Oftentimes when Buddhists defend their consumption of meat, they point to the Buddha’s teachings in the ‘Jivaka Sutta’. Here, Buddha describes three instances when eating meat is permissible (when it is not seen, heard, or suspected, that the animal has been slaughtered for oneself). The Buddha’s ruling on meat here is clearly in line with his teaching of kamma, which deals only with intention. From the Buddha’s point of view, so long as there is no intention to cause harm when eating meat, there is no unwholesome kamma. 

However kamma is not a complete description of ethics; there exist ethics that are divorced from kamma. For example, the idea that actions should be refrained from, even when they involve no unwholesome intention, can be seen repeatedly in the Vinaya. In one instance, a monk is advised to refrain from baking bricks inhabited by tiny insects, even though he was unaware of this and did not intend any harm. The Buddha also laid down a Vinaya rule that a monk must know the source of meat before accepting it.

Another important facet of the dhamma to consider is how eating animal products relates to compassion. Compassion is defined in the buddha dhamma as the simple desire for other sentient beings to be free from suffering. Yet perpetuating an animal holocaust, however small one’s contribution is, is acting directly antithetical to compassion. How can someone have the will for all beings to be free of suffering, while knowingly making lifestyle choices that cause the maximum amount of suffering to other living beings? Simply put, one cannot exercise compassion while consciously contributing to the single biggest systematic atrocity in human history. 

Moreover, in the Noble Eightfold Path teaching on right livelihood, the Buddha listed five livelihoods that lay people should refrain from, one of which is the meat trade. However, if there exists a demand for animal products, then it is inevitable that individuals will be placed into such work constituting wrong livelihood, and animals will necessarily be murdered to satisfy this demand. One then cannot transfer all the blame onto the workers who murder the animals, (although they are engaging in unwholesome kamma), because the society-wide demand for those animals to be slaughtered is the reason for their doing so in the first place. It’s an appalling way to justify perpetuating an indefinite holocaust with the thought process ‘it wasn’t killed specifically for any one of us, therefore the blame is entirely on slaughterhouse workers’, when the reason they’re slaughtering animals is because collectively society is creating the demand for them to do so. Perpetuating wrong livelihood is not morally permissible just because you as a consumer are not the one stabbing the animals.

It is also important to acknowledge Muslim and Christian Sri Lankans. Christians often have the assumption that God put animals here for us to eat – but this is derived from the conception of dominion that man has over animals. However this isn’t so clear cut – many scholars have critiqued the traditional view of dominion, and conceived of this as meaning stewardship, to take care of and protect rather than to use and abuse at our will. Just look at the sermon in Genesis 1:29 31 “See, I give you all the seed bearing plants that are upon the whole earth and all the trees with seed-bearing fruit; this shall be your food”. Besides, would someone believed to be compassionate as Jesus, condone this mass atrocity? Rather, he advised people to follow the golden rule ‘do unto others as you would have done to you.’ Not ‘do unto humans only’, but ‘others’, animals included. No one wants to be treated the way we treat these animals, raping, mutilating and murdering them. So why do we do it? Moreover, if one believes God created animals with the capacity to think, feel, suffer pain and value their lives, and then condones the slaughter of those innocent animals on a mass scale, then what does the devil do?

Scholars have also called attention to the fact that Islam lays down moral obligations towards animals, including restrictions to caging and beating among other practices. Yet caging is a necessity of large-scale animal agriculture, so in order to avoid contributing to this, Muslims too must then logically avoid consuming animal products. And why stop at caging? Why not refuse to engage in the unnecessary animal cruelty intrinsic to factory farming altogether? 

This shouldn’t be a debate. It’s surreal that this conversation even needs to be taking place. It shouldn’t be a contentious issue that causing unnecessary suffering ought to be avoided. It shouldn’t be contentious that we should be opposed to the torture and murder of innocent beings. Especially, when the only underlying justification for doing so is as flimsy as the sensory taste pleasure we derive from consuming their bodies.

Animals cannot assemble and voice their frustrations. Rather, they can only scream in terror and excruciating pain in slaughterhouses, far removed from the bustle of society where nobody can hear their cries. It’s up to us, those who have a voice, to not only stop being complicit in this grave injustice, but to speak out on their behalf. There’s always a right side and a wrong side to history. Which side will you be on?

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Latest comments

  • 8
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    DearAadesh

    I have one word to say to you “Respect” for the content. Thank you

    • 5
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      All well and good. Please do be compassionate to animals. But the author should start with compassion towards humans, hundreds of thousands of whom have been rendered homeless or killed , by other humans, many of them vegetarians.
      Also, argument “In fact, the leading diseases and illnesses affecting the world, such as heart disease, certain cancers, osteoporosis, dementia, type 2 diabetes, strokes, hypertension, are all hugely linked to the consumption of animal products. ” is false, because South Asians ,in spite of being mostly vegetarian, are more at risk than others.
      If vegetarianism is so healthy, one could ask why non-veg China wins many times more Olympic medals than vegetarian India?
      Don’t let your compassion let you lose sight of objectivity.

    • 2
      1

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

      For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

    • 1
      1

      Dear Aadesh,
      .
      This is a very serious comment.
      .
      Look at this:
      .
      https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/10/10/922398246/a-coronavirus-vaccine-could-kill-half-a-million-sharks-conservationists-warn
      .
      Dilemma, isn’t it?
      .
      And now that we have interfered with Nature, and caused such multiplication of cattle, hogs, goats, and sheep, how are we to care for them in their old age?
      .
      Actually, pigs don’t present a problem. Lord Emsworth is the only person we know of who wasn’t going to slaughter his prize sow.
      .
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empress_of_Blandings
      .
      Quite simply: who is going to look after these animals in old age?

  • 3
    6

    “It is absurd that in a country of predominantly Buddhists, a religion that espouses non-violence and compassion as critical ethical principles for us to uphold, a country with profound culturally entrenched values, finds itself just as complicit in this horrendous holocaust as any other. If one really claims to be a Buddhist, especially a devout Buddhist, then they ought to stop consuming animal products just as much as they should abide by any of the precepts. “

    I was reading the essay enthusiastically until I hit this. Well this is only for Buddhists or rather to propagate the profoundness of Mahawamsa Sinhala Buddhists’ racism. Yes that bestiality story!

    Tamils needs their land to live without hearing Mahanama- Anagariga’s preaching.

  • 6
    3

    Aadesh, your sentiments are commendable but your absolutist position is not.

    You should not be allowed to extricate your support for the ban on cattle slaughter etc. from the ethnocentric anti-Muslim (albeit symbolic) undercurrents that undergird it. Nor should you be allowed to moralize about cruelty to animals when you have not uttered a single word against cruelty to humans. For decades we are living in a society that has allowed murder, rape and torture to be performed, or sanctioned, by the state as well as Sinhala, Tamil and Islamic militants. Addressing that issue, to me, is paramount before we can even begin to have a conversation about the rights of animals. This is particularly so when the slaughter of humans is performed, condoned, or sanctioned by those who (at least ideologically) abhor cruelty to animals.

    Meat consumption is also deeply cultural and an absolutist position such as yours projects a false cultural superiority. The meanings behind religious texts lay in their interpretation – there is no universal understanding of them. The same goes for `pacifist’ Buddhism that continues to involve itself in violence here and elsewhere such as Burma.

    As well, if you look at evolutionary biology you will find that our dentition shows that we evolved to consume meat.

  • 3
    3

    In some European countries veganism is considered to be child abuse. The author might want to consider why this might be.
    There is plenty of evidence showing that animal product (in particular red meats) is vital to sustain life for those who are young and old. For people who have stopped growing (20s to 40s) it can sustain life for a while, but you would still have a weaker immune system and suffer from problems like infertility.
    Claims that meats lead to weaker health are BS. You could argue that beef can increases cancer rate by 20%, but that is simply number juggling because the actual incidence rate between eating red meat and not eating red meat for cancer is 6% and 5% respectively. 1% divided by 5% is 20% increase. So the media just makes a mountain out of a molehill.
    If you are looking at the moral and ethical implictions I agree with the author we should do as little harm as possible. In that respect inhumane methods of slaughter should certainly be reviewed. But overall one should consider the philosophical method of imposing least harm to nature.
    In trying to impose least harm to nature the author should consider the massively destructive impact of crop farming and pesticides on lands, which have hitherto decimated rodent and bee populations.

  • 1
    2

    How about fish, eggs and milk? Those are against animal welfare too.

    • 2
      3

      I grant you the right to eat fish, eggs and milk.

      Soma

    • 5
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      GATAM

      “How about fish, eggs and milk? Those are against animal welfare too.”

      What is your point if there is one?
      Would you kindly investigate if there is any practising carnivorous among those politically motivated “Ban Beef” noisy Buddhist minority?

    • 3
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      Dear GATAM,
      .
      It looks as though you’ve not read the article. I don’t blame you – it’s painful. You’ve not understood just how uncompromising vegans are – and sincere!
      .
      Please scroll down to what Sandy Dee says about the parentage of these kids. One feels like crying for them.
      .
      I knew of only three Sri Lankan vegans upto now. The mature, balanced and serious, Rajan Hoole (whose father and maternal grandfather were both Anglican Priests), the equally delightful Sanskrit Professor Mahinda Palihawadena who is now in his nineties, and Nagananda Kodituwakku (who was actually objecting to Indian poaching of our fishery resources, because the livelihood of our fisherman is uncertain).
      .
      When I stayed two nights with Rajan, (a) his wife gave me an egg, and (b) I used my mobile phone to ensure that Rajan and Prof. Palihawadena exchanged a few words.

  • 6
    4

    Are we trying to reverse millennia of human development as society?
    Animal husbandry is the sole livelihood of several communities. There are communities that live almost entirely on seafood.
    The case against over-consumption of animal products is strong. But it has to be seen in the broader context of a profit driven system. Veganism is nowhere near an answer.
    *
    Let us first think of cruelty of human to human.

    • 2
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      Dear SJ

      – No-one suggesting we all become vegetarian/vegans nor would that ever happen.
      – The case making for the above concept came about recently because of the way we started manipulating animals/tampering with evolution to make something available that is not healthy for the humans and the environment nor is sustainable at this consumption rates as is being promoted in the market place anywhere in the world today.
      – Based on the above evidence we are all revisiting this industry sector with a critical review for the well being of the said animals/environment and the consumers together to understand the impact/awareness so we are an educated consumers etc.
      – Remember are used to be the seafood and vegetable consumers (mostly very organic and natural harvest) and were the days people had good health too. Now in the developing countries with the so called development index we are loosing the plot just as developed countries making u turn on the same that was promoted in their own countries now pushing them codeveloping copuntriesunder various agreements and eating more what we produce…….coconut/sesame/ mung bean etc….the list goes on for ever.

      • 2
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        – with regard to feeding the world we look at mass balance ie say I unit weight of meat to be produced that requires several units of wheat/soya/vegetation etc. This is even after considering the fact meat packs more energy etc. this means we can feed more people if we do not produce meat with allocated soya and wheat fields and grazing lands. This also further destroy the soli/intensive farming/cattle waste is a serious burden to the environment killing all the land and waterways the process with enriching nutrients…N/P/K/…….etc.
        – World bank and various donors have insisted the third world countries repay their debts by producing various cattle feeds aspart of their agriculture policy…means introducing genetically modified crops too without any R&D localities destroying local eco balances too.
        – I can go on forever on this subject (you recall mad cow disease too) but cut to the story short we need to consider this concept at least partially for sustainable development planning purposes as well for people health related issues too. You will also find SL majority religions support this concept for a reason too….compassionate living.

        • 5
          1

          Kindly tell me what the author is suggesting?
          I insist that veganism in part or whole is not the answer to any of humanity’s problems.

          • 2
            0

            SJ,
            I might take this seriously if I meet a non-religious vegan. Or even a religious cow/ chicken ……….

            • 2
              0

              OC
              I just remembered that God created all the carnivores.
              Wonder why!

          • 0
            2

            Dear SJ

            The Author has summarised a very comprehensive look at the issues related to OUR BASIC HUMAN NEEDS that is to find suitable food to eat in a sustainable way/ethical way/religious way and scientific way too. He has argued from a SL and global point of view applying g lessons learned too.

            It is a great starting point and quite provoking too in a very healthy way. better than the language and religious sentiments we use for “free” life in uncivilised way for the past 70 years since independence??

            This kind of discussion/valuation of life will bring people together than divide as Sri Lankan us very ready for such discussions too…if she is not we need to start the journey not just in CT but in all the meadia too.

            • 0
              2

              We have always fought for the wrong causes when the causes should be of this nature for a more sustainable future. The entire science to date back this up…the only place people like me who are Atheist meets all the religious preachings that is to love the other (we failed miserably even in this) and then what are the chances the animals will have??

              May be the slaughter ban issues are more progressive than that meets the eyes….it did not strike the right code with the masses of certain segment or even the critics of the GOSL can not interpret this to the public because we are are now so blinded to see anything right from the wrong driven by not sure what anymore??

              The Author has only presented the substance for the readers discussion so we start a healthy discussion helping each other out to develop knowledge I guess?? this is in fact a very family discussion point too does not matter where we live??not limited to Sri Lanka per se. However we as a Nation in the right place (because we did not develop for the past 70 years) to start laying some ground rules on this aspect as part of national planning…lessons learned applied in the development model??

              • 0
                2

                Even I was brought as a Vegetarian meaning no eggs/sea food/meat but dairy products such as milf was always available in my household as we always had a cow at home.

                I attend to the cow shed cleaning the dung/feed her etc. The cow was tied to the pole most of the time as we had limited space..then the calf is only allowed to be with her mother for short durations as we needed to share the milk…this was haunting enough growing up in a very Hindu family?? then looking at the free range sector is even worse just in the dairy sector alone…I live in the west and consume dairy products too now cheese as well as affordable….giving up is even this is hard I agree…..is even more difficult for those who are complete non vegetarians too.

                • 0
                  2

                  However this does not stop me from keep trying to understand the ethics/mind control for betterment of all that is living is always a work in progress. I do not take offence because someone pointing something out to me???

                  The following is just from my angle as a vegetarian will be different for other dietary options please note

                  Even from a scientific point of view consuming milf from another animal that was produced for its calf is so non scientific and then to produce them and feed them to have huge tits. (so heavy they can barley walk) and mechanise the milk production is a very torturous event too. The calfs are taken away and separated from the Mothers is even more unnatural. The hormones the cow produce for its baby should not be in our grown up stomach either??

                  Please read the books by the Heromi Shinya, MD a Japanese gastroenterologists who invented the endoscopy……he has several books starting with the “Enzyme Factor” for a prolonged life…may be we can translate this in Sinhalese and Tamil will be a great service to our Nation too.

                  • 0
                    2

                    Objective look at the food production in an ever so increasing population (SL was 4-6 million people in 1930’s and she is now 21+ million in 2020) is critical. That is why we need to loose all our language and religious identities and use the pressious time we have on ways of doing things better as a Nation a very progressive and scientific nation setting president not only to our children and but to the world too.

                    We are being pushed many choices by many trading partners who are ever so willing to do anything for a dime…but we as a Nation should get the point of uniting under the leadership (whatever we choose in a democratic way…that is what we today) and pull our weight to make some ground breaking change…..mind set a paradigm shift……..no ghetto making as this is not a sustainable Sri Lanka for tomorrows generation?

                    • 1
                      0

                      Is veganism sustainable?

    • 1
      2

      “Are we trying to reverse millennia of human development as society? “ Come on Man; If you eat vegetarian food you are reversing the civilization of the Human Being? Which university teaches hunting is the only, real civilization? If the UOJ boys stop ragging, then UOJ will lose its World standing by becoming uncivilized-uneducated?
      ” Animal husbandry is the sole livelihood of several communities. “ Out those, which community you are from, so cannot give up meat? Or which community is paying for you to save them? Can you write here when you advised those communities to eat less meat, what they told you? A real hypocrite -self-help rhetoric!
      “But it has to be seen in the broader context of a profit driven system.” Read the easy again, please. That is the point it is telling. It is telling trade is run by demand and supply. Supply will not be there if there are no sales. If the butcher sells all he put out today, he will put again tomorrow too. His wife and children too need food, but beyond that he too looks for easy business. If no one buying meat but only buying vegetables, tomorrow he will put out no meat but vegetables. His wife and children can get same amount of food and same style of cloths.

    • 1
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      Vegan milk produced mechanically so mass production is so easy than milking cow by cow. I bet if cow milk $3 a gallon, vegan milk can be produced $1 a gallon, if the scale is increased. The blockade is sitting with the people are not educated.

      Unlike the author portray, religions play leading role in animal cruelty. Muslims and a part of Hindus believe in sacrifice. Honestly, for what the hack that thought? Hindu priests pour gallons and gallons of milk on stones making the ignorant devote fool. Ramakrishna said to his disciples when they come, bring and put a rupee to Kali’s Undi. Then he repeated amount one rupee, meaning not to throw money to buy the god. Same way he told devotees visit him, bring a piece of sweet. Same way again he insisted the quantity of the sweet has to represent Kaanikkai, not the price to buy him. There is a line in a Tamil cinema song, Boy sings: “Darling if you wrap a silk sari on your body, the silk worms sacrificed to the thread will go to Heaven”. As long as there is need, there is murder. So to stop the murder, the demand has to be wiped out by education.

  • 5
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    Dear Aadesh Wickrematunge,
    .
    I have read the whole of your article, and seen 20 minutes of the 48 minutes of the film.
    .
    Yes, I know that I’m guilty of specism, but as an old man by now, I can only continue as I always have. I’ve always known that a visit to a slaughter-house would make me a vegetarian at least. I also know that a study of commercial dary production, if sensitively undertaken by me, could posibly lead to the emotional impossibility of avoiding veganism.
    .
    I’m sure that yours is a sincere appeal – to be properly appreciatedby how many? Your writing shows that you are an individual who belongs to our Sr Lankan society – and, yourself a Buddhist, you’ve made the effort to be fair by those following other religious systems, etc. But too much of recent posturing in this land is just humbug.
    .
    For all that, like Thiagarajah Venugopal, I thank you.
    .
    But can we all go on like this? Whom doe we depend on to ensure the luxury of our own “English-using life styles”? How are we going to get your message across to the most depraved of humans, which even I’m not?
    .
    Those are not serious questions. Just a sort of meditation. Thanks for putting this on.

    • 5
      0

      Dear Mr SM,

      I am afraid, I did not read the arrticle, because it is lenghthier – but I am glad to see you appearing here again. :: a short while ago, I added a post asking others where our SINHALA man is hidden. I was very worried of your health.. .. Game iskole mahaththaoy, pleaes take good care of you…. btw.
      .
      I m half vegetarian. I would never become a “vegan” knowing that human body cant be without external protein supplies. There are essential amino acids ( basic units of proteins) that you can only get thorugh external sources. Now you would ask, why not through some vitamin and minerals rich veg/fruits.
      Not everyone of us would be able to digest any food. I am allergic to so many things. I dont eat any kind of sea food. Nor would I drink COFFEE for some time now. Each time travel back home is connected with some food allergies to me. I know the kind of tendencies are very often in each and every population today.
      Some cant digest cow milk while others have no such health problems. You may have heard about lactose-intolerance.
      :
      So knowing all these, why only to focus on ban of cattle slaughter. SRilanka is a multi religious country.

    • 4
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      Dear Sinhala_man
      A sincere advice: Avoid getting involved in arguments over eating animal flesh and sexual morals.

      Soma

      • 4
        0

        Thank you.
        .
        But if I’m a sinner, then I must confess it. No, but then, I feel that it is natural for humans to be omnivorous. The problem is that we are also sensitive to the pain that we unnecessarily cause. My comment was actually the second to come on, in response to this article.
        .
        Sexuality? I’m not given to narrow moralising.
        .
        I’m beginning to realise that despite your advocacy of what I see as aparthheid in race relations, you are sincere. So, thanks.

  • 8
    2

    Aadesh,
    I was happy to see your article and am glad that the message is getting wide coverage today. I was put in touch with veganism by my father, who sent me an advertisement by the Vegan Society, which appeared in the Church Times in 1974. I wrote and received from Britain literature, saying much of what you have said. The Anglican Church was not regarded unfriendly territory. I joined the society as a life member, which was small then; we could almost know each other. Hardly any colleges or restaurants knew about veganism. The situation has changed radically. The fact that motivated youth raided laboratories and freed experimental animals was a sign that all was not lost in the West. I have seen considerable hostility to measures to reduce the suffering of experimental animals at a local faculty meeting. It was looked upon as scientifically backward.
    Veganism has to be mostly a secular endeavour; neither do we have all the answers. It means mainly starting with ourselves and finding strength from the likeminded. I don’t think we can find much support from religion, although most religions express guilt about the way animals are treated. Examples are Isaiah’s vision of when ‘The wolf shall dwell with the lamb;’ and Islam, I believe, apologises to the animal whose life is being taken for food. Jainism is probably the closest to Veganism. Buddhism and Hinduism, I see as encouraging personal virtue rather than practical compassion. It is reflected in our politics.

    • 3
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      “Jainism is probably the closest to Veganism.”
      True.
      But Jainism was far less sensitive to social oppression by caste than Buddhism. (Buddhism had more followers than Jainism from among oppressed castes and women.)

  • 7
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    I appreciate Aadesh’s concern for the helpless animals. But unfortunately, a ‘vegetarian nation’ is only a concept. It is unlikely to materialize as human behaviour is not dictated by ethics in the final analysis. But we will stop eating animals when the threat posed by species-jumping corona viruses become an existential one. We won’t be around to eat them.

    • 3
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      Dear Ajay,
      .
      Don’t you, and others, feel sorry for that minute living organism, the COVID-19 virus. Just imagine the harassment suffered by the poor fellow, who only wants us to help him replicate.
      .
      We’re hunting high and low for vaccines. the most powerful man on Planet Earth pours Lysol (or something like it) when the poor little fellow wants to feel warm in his lungs. And that is after somebody on the Trump staff said, many moons ago, that there had been eighteen previous COVIDS.
      .
      We have no business to go naming all the creatures in the World. We named the brand new virus, and gave him 19 because he emerged in the year 2019 AD – as though he had to believe that Jesus was the Son of God.
      .
      I think that we must pray for the little fellow, whom nobody seems to love.

      • 2
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        S.M,
        Have pity on the poor little virus?
        So you aren’t always in earnest. Nice to see you being sarcastic.

  • 5
    3

    Aadesh,
    Animals welfare is great. What about Human welfare? Can the Prime Minister bring a law that human s should not be killed by the state?

  • 5
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    Aadesh, I thank you for the timely article, a bit long though. I appreciate your concerns about animal welfare and the ramifications on the planet’s health. Religion, meaning God-centered belief sets, is a bad starting point when dealing with animal (including human) welfare. Abrahamic religions especially are obsessed with blood. Simply put, religion is a hindrance to the well being of animals. God created animals for human consumption, the scriptures say so. This is an irresponsible statement because today we are told that coronavirus is related to the consumption of certain types of animal flesh. The best way to foster animal and human well-being is to cultivate compassion, which is the feeling for the pain and suffering of others and being motivated to alleviate their suffering. This is different from empathy which is feeling with the pain of others. This is not as effective as compassion.

    • 2
      1

      Dear Rajindra:
      Appreciated your comparison of Compassion vs. Empathy, and the call for compassion over empathy in this matter. I found the abundance of empathy shown by the author to be unscientific and discrediting to the cause.

  • 2
    1

    Aadesh Wickrematunge,

    Thank you for this wonderful article.

    I accept and subscribe to the view that all living beings have equal right.

    I fully endorse what you say.

    Why we shouldn’t start a mission with missionary zeal to propagate this universal truth throughout the world.?

  • 3
    3

    I think this is not a possibility. It should be a personal choice. you cant enforce your beliefs on others.

    • 2
      2

      How about Sinhala Only, Buddhism only, 20A only? It that because they non vegs and no forceful feeding? If Majoritarians eat Vegs what are you going to do? Could you tell your point to your Boss, the War Criminal Old King so that he can recall No Animal Slaughter” bill ?
      You the Sinhala Intellectuals of Wildlife Sanctuary SinhaLE Lankawe are utterly confused comedians!

  • 3
    1

    Vastly an emotional point of view with unscientific assumptions (E.g. the animal would feel raped when artificially inseminated, and suffer psychological distress).

    There’s no doubt that the animal-agriculture industry has ways to go to minimize the suffering to animals when those are alive and when slaughtering. Unethical practices in mass production setups have to be curtailed.

    Cinematic dramatization to market vegan only diets doesn’t bring credibility. Those inhabiting regions like Mongolia, the Arctic, where harsh climate severely impacts all forms of agriculture would not appreciate it, rightfully so.

    There’s such a thing as a natural food chain which has always been important to sustaining our ecosystem. At some point in the history of humans, we ourselves stopped being a food source to other carnivores. As we evolved to be capable of complex thoughts, leading us to industrial revolution, we acquired technology to drastically damage our ecosystems.

    Industrialized/mass production of animal products has been damaging to the ecosystem & environment. We will need to step-away from it to ensure ethical treatment of animals. Grow your own food; seek edibles in the forests; hunt for meat in the wild; catch your own fish; live in harmony with nature.

  • 3
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    Commendable. Not only Aadesh Wickrematunge, Lasantha’s other two children Avinash and Ahimsa are also vegan

    • 2
      4

      Thanks, Sandy Dee for telling us about the relationship.
      .
      I can’t help feeling that Ahimsa looks pale and drawn. My respect to you all. So, your background is Christian. Had I not seen this, I would have gone along with what is now the fourth comment (by Mallaiyuran) castigating for claiming that Buddhism is nobler than all other beliefs.
      .
      Actually, Adesh, that opening was all wrong. The Rajapaksa hypocrites talked about this only to divert attention from the 20th Amendment. And they want to import beef! But again, it’s amazing that you didn’t mention that these are your father’s murderers. Great!
      .
      Also, take into account how painful reading all this is. That’s why I stopped after 20 minutes of the video – I’m familiar with the contents of such, and yet, I eat.

  • 3
    2

    Adesh – an excellent article. Thanks for raising the issue in this manner. A bit gut-wrenching to read! It is unfortunate that some readers’ comments back to a young journalist like you are harsh. But, like your father, I admire your courage to speak out against animal cruelty. Perhaps, a gradual change could be inspired? At least, for humans not to be so cruel. I have been a supporter of the Animal Welfare Party in NSW for years. They have one or two elected reps in the State Parliament. Anyway, thanks again for a well-written piece!

  • 1
    1

    Dear Aadesh

    Few suggestions

    – Dr Vandana Shiva a Quantum Physicists from India a great environmentalists too. She was in SL during the “seed law” we were passing and she was invited by SL Environmental group…few years back. I was there to listen to her too.
    – I did also meet her in year 2000 in the UK along with Madam Menaka Gandhi Indian Environmental Minister then for a seminar organised by Compassion in World Farming a UK based organisation that has contributed a lot to the British Way of thinking towards animal welfare positively. The seminar was titled “Farming for the Millennium”. The CIWF have indeed run some positive campaigns may be we can take some advise/guidance from them too.
    – We need to connect various environmental groups in SL under an umbrella as the topic you have passionately shared is a critical subject in Environmental Sustainability and Management too.
    – A very critical subject for the current GOSL approach agriculture too in self sufficiency.
    – We need Green Party representation in our parliment to challenge not only the elected GOSL but also all other parties in their formation standing up the issues of this nature which is also to do with carbon neutral future too.

    • 1
      0

      Vandana Shiva shifted from a conservative anti-left outlook to a commendably anti-imperialist position.
      Maneka G? It will be good if she spares her care for animals to humans of other faiths. She is a key BJP figure, and Modi’s BJP is the nearest to fascism that India has seen

  • 3
    0

    Mahinda Rajapakse was trying to avoid the issue raised by US Defence Secretary, Mark Esper when he urged for a continued progress on reconciliation and human rights in Sri Lanka. Moreover, he reminded the expectation of USA to finalize the Status Of Forces Agreement (SOFA), the handing over of Colombo Ports Eastern Terminal to India and a US $ 480 million grant Agreement with the MCC. India used to regard Sri Lanka as its back yard and resented foreign military presence. Gotabhaya Rajapakse announced the proposal of a new constitution with the view to abrogate the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord in mind. It is at this juncture Mahinda Rajapaksa raised the issue of banning slaughtering of cows. He created this bovine politics in order to dodge USA & Modi. It should be remembered that Modi will be unmoved by such fickle-minded Rajapaksa’s thinking and will ultimately be a futile exercise.

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