HALAL MEAT - A Most Repulsive Practice
How many of us, especially those living in Sri Lanka are aware of the fact that Halal is a most repulsive and horrendous practice that involves extreme form of abuse and cruelty towards animals? Halal is a gruesome method where the animals are tied down and their throats slashed, letting their blood ooze out slowly from the animal’s body and making animals die on their blood, a slow, lingering and agonizing death. What is most horrendous is that this torturous practice takes place while the animals are desperately struggling for their lives. It is a well evident fact that these animals are conscious of what is happening to them. This is a most sickening and inhuman way of killing animals. It is a practice that should not be tolerated in any civilized society.
Animal Welfare in Sri Lanka
In a society such as ours where Buddhists predominate, and where non-violence towards all living beings is a fundamental tenet, practices of this nature cannot and should not be tolerated under any circumstances. Animal welfare has been a tenet of the rulers of our nation from very early times, from the 3rd century BCE, when King Devanampiyatissa ruled the country. This was in-keeping with the declaration of the Buddha in the Cakkavatti Sihanada Sutta (Digha Nikaya of the Sutta Pitaka) that an ideal or virtuous ruler of a nation or ‘Cakkavatti King” will give protection and shelter not only to human beings, but also to birds and beasts. It was this king, over 2200 years ago, who established the world’s first Bird and animal sanctuary in Sri Lanka. Since this time, the principle of animal welfare prevailed in our country until the arrival of European colonial powers, starting with the ruthless Catholic Portuguese invaders, about at the beginning of the 16trh century. Besides hunting animals as a sport, the slaughtering of animals as a vocation started with the entry of Christianity and Islam to Sri Lanka.
The resurgence of Buddhism is a well evident development in the country in recent years. It is an opportune time to take action, on the part of the nation’s leadership to develop a well-conceived policy against cruelty to animals, to save our animals from ‘terrorism’ meted out to them by some quarters of people in our country. The proper implementation of the pledge made in the Mahinda Chintanaya to “amend, without delay, the outdated laws on prevention of cruelty to animals” is long overdue. The Buddha Sasana Ministry in particular, should be in the forefront in making this happen.
Dr. Daya Hewapathirane