One life manifests itself In all creation


By Dada JP Vaswani

Human beings claim that they are far superior to animals; but when it comes to food, they point out that animals are carnivorous and often kill other animals for food, using this as a justification for killing animals for meat! These people refer to the ‘savagery’ and the ‘bestial nature’ of wild animals, and use terms such as ‘brutal’ and ‘savage’ to refer to low and base natures; they themselves are, in contrast, ‘humane’ and ‘compassionate’ and ‘sensitive’! But it is, in reality, we the people who kill for the least reason.

We call lions and wolves savage because they kill smaller animals and tear into their flesh. But we kill animals for ‘fun’ and ‘sport’ when we hunt; we kill rare species and strip them of their fur to beautify our costumes; we permit the torture and slaughter of harmless animals to tickle our palate. And, of course, some of us do not stop at killing other beings of our own species for selfish ends like power, profit or revenge. I fail to see how we are superior to savage animals, and why we should consider our own lives more sacrosanct than the lives of other creatures!

One life manifests itself in all creation – it sleeps in the stone, it dreams in the plants, it stirs in animals, and it wakes in man. These stages also serve to indicate that animals are capable of feeling pain and suffering, while plants are not. There are many people who object loudly: “How do you know that plants do not feel pain and do not suffer when you pluck their fruits for food?” If this question is raised out of genuine concern for plant life, I welcome this concern heartily. But their interest is only to justify killing animals for food, on the ground that a vegetarian diet too destroys plant life, and hence, cannot be a moral or ethical alternative to flesh food. Therefore, they conclude, what difference does it make whether we eat animals or plants. We have got to eat in order to live; we might as well eat plants and/or animals.

Plants do not have a central nervous system as animals do; there is no observable ‘behaviour’ that suggests to us that they suffer; their evolutionary status is such that they are stationary, and cannot move or run, and therefore, incapable of feeling pain. In short, “Plants feel pain” is only a specious, devious argument used to discredit vegetarians, and not really an answer to the protests against cruelty to animals.

Of course, man is the crown of creation, the undisputed sovereign of planet Earth. Of course, human rights is a worthy cause, and human life is precious. But the stand taken by advocates of the ideal of ‘Reverence for All Life’ like myself is this: We object to the arbitrary discrimination that non-human lives are expendable and can be freely sacrificed to satisfy the human palate. It is morally and ethically wrong to inflict needless pain and suffering on dumb and defenceless creatures just because they do not belong to our human species. Therefore, I have no right to take the life of an animal for any reason – scientific, experimental, appetite or sheer wantonness.

Today is Sadhu TL Vaswani’s birthday and is observed as Meatless Day

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Disclaimer

Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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