Ban on cattle slaughter
Posted on December 10th, 2010

By Dr. Mrs. Mareena Thaha Reffai Vanderwert Place, Dehiwela

I tend to agree with Chandima Pallage of  Makola on most points on this  topic. Let me take the points one by one.  

He says “I wish to state  that no religion encourages cruelty to animals” “”…” which is true. (But about   animal slaughter I am afraid I have not come across a single religion which prohibits slaughter  but of course all do mention it has to be done in a humane way. If anyone says any religion prohibits it I would like to have the quote. I am not that knowledgeable)

He says “I was deeply saddened by his callous remark that only a very few objected to slaughter.” Of course  about 100 people is not a small number is it? That the fact that our country has  18 million has nothing to do with it, as most of them don’t care about what goes on in the country anyway.

He says ” We believe that animals have a right to live like we do. ” I categorically say  we must be fair. We must accept the fact that the chicken, turkeys, pigs, goats, fish and even the koonisso have a right to live. All living beings that is.

 If we kill the mosquitoes because they bite us that is also unfair. That is their right. How will they survive if they don’t bite human beings? If all the bacteria die down because of the antibiotics we use, aren’t we being unfair? We have to be fair by all  when it comes to all living beings.

He says “if one desires to make a decent living, there are enormous amounts of trades that they can choose from.” I totally agree. Yes, of course. Let’s train all thousands of fishermen along with the  butchers to do an alternate job.  Let us also include the lot who shouts saying they have no jobs in spite of free  university education.

He says “selling vegetables at the “ƒ”¹…”Pola’ is much more honorable way of living than supporting one’s family by slaughtering animals?” I have a small problem here. On one hand being a doctor I do believe plants do have life ( they breath, they eat and they procreate) and killing them also falls into the category of taking their rights to live. Besides, where are we going to find the land to  have enough vegetation  to feed the human beings and the animals which are going to thrive once we stop the slaughter? Never mind, we will find a way out.

 He says ” he also gives a lame excuse saying that children eat more food with meat and they relish meat more than fish.” I totally agree, again. My children and most of the children I know relish chicken more than meat, next comes fish and then only meat.  So when we stop rearing chicken and stop  fishing, we will have to re train them. I’m sure we can do it  if we set about it. We will also have to think of all those who are going to be without jobs once Mc Donald’s and KFC etc. close down. We can do it. Where there is a will there is away.

He says “There are plenty of food in abundance which are quite nutritious to children other than meat.” Who can deny that? Problem is  all these foods come from living beings. He rightly says “What right do we have to take away the lives of those voiceless, innocent creatures who have no brains to fight back. They are part of the environment that we live in. As a human being and a citizen of Sri Lanka who is against animal slaughter, I sincerely hope that President Mahinda Rajapaksa will authorise the implementation of the proposed ban against animal slaughter.” And let me add ” and killing of all forms including  fishing and of course cutting of any vegetation too”. That is if we want to be  humane.   


25 Responses to “Ban on cattle slaughter”

  1. Sajith Says:

    Another extremist view.

  2. radha Says:

    The problem with Doctors is that they are so are engrossed in splitting hair they cannot see the wood from the tree. If I get into the same line of argument as Dr Reffai I might end up by saying that humans too are animals of some sort (as they are living, some not very intelligent and unable to communicate properly) then it should be quite all right to kill them humanely of course, and be consumed.

    Well, is that splitting hair or being dumb, one may ask? A person with common sense might say ……yes…….dumb. So, what is the general issue?

    For someone who has faith in a religion which says it’s all right to kill non-believers, then killing 100 or 200 cattle must be nothing to bat and eyelid. But anyone else who has an iota of kindness towards an animal would find it heart breaking to see the agony of animals waiting to be killed. How would Dr Reffai feel if she too had to either wait with the animals in a pen awaiting her fate, or perhaps wait for sometime in the death cell for the gallows? That will give her some idea of the state of mind of any living being waiting to be slaughtered.

    Sri Lanka declaring itself the protector of Theravada Buddhism with a majority Buddhist population who daily takes the precept that “I shall abstain from taking life”, including the President, is allowing indiscriminate killing of domesticated animals for sacrifices and eating. Now don’t start analysing the Buddhist population into killers, non killers, meat eaters and non meat eaters; we are not into that. We are talking about what is right or wrong from animals that have no MPs or political bigwigs to fight for their cause. Even UNO do not come to their rescue or to propose animal rights commissions.

    Killing animals goes against the morality that Buddhism teaches us. Lord Buddha showed this morality by example by releasing animals waiting for slaughter in his time……… so says the scripture. Even if scriptures were not true, our general sense of kindness towards animals will tell us that taking life of an animal is not right. In this context mass killing of animals for sacrificial purposes is certainly immoral and distasteful.

    There are many laws passed in India that prohibits slaughter of cows, calves, bovine animals. Pigs generally roam around in India as there are no takers for them. Some years ago I visited Madhya Pradesh in India which struck me as a very religious state. All the people I knew personally there are vegetarians, and at that time it was a state where animals slaughter had been banned. This demonstrates that even among Hindu communities, who are used to ritual killing, have laws banning animal slaughter. There are many other states that have various laws of some kind or another banning slaughter: Karnataka, Manipur, Rajasthan are to name a few. So, it begs the question. Why cannot Sri Lanka, the seat of Theravada Buddhism?

    So, I too go along with Mr Pallage, and say, good for you. It is about time that we in Sri Lanka too revive the old avihimsa campaign that Angarika Dharmapala started in the early 20th century, and after that pay some attention to liquor shops and now gambling parlours.

  3. db Says:

    I am sure that mrs. Thaha is quite unaware about the fact that buddhists take a precept of abstaining from killing animals.

    you seems to don’t have any idea about the difference between plants and animals and how they differ.
    I am not suprised, the science or so called religions dont even have a clue.

    on your way to become a doctor, if you have learned about food chains and food pyramids, you would have understood the fact that consuming vegetables is more eco friendly. you thought that to breed animals for slaughter consumes less resources. well you have completely forgotten the fact that to feed these animals, you need much more resources, even in terms of lands to vegetate just to feed them compared to vegetarians directly consuming the vegetation.

    the other option we have is to import meat products for people who are so much attached to meat eating. rather than imposing tax on petrol , the government can impose a hefty tax on these imports and make a good money.



  5. mjaya Says:

    This is just a PATHETIC PLOY!!

    Whenever someone talks about banning the slaughter of cattle, if someone without commending it starts beating about the bush about chickens, pigs, sprats and koonisso being animals its simply to protect cattle slaughter itself. No two words about it.

    First of all, I think a “doctor” should have a much better knowledge in biology to know that there is a huge difference between bacteria, plants and animals. You cannot grow a chicken or cockroach from a body cutting like we grow sugar cane, crotons, hibiscus and manioc from stem cuttings. Plants and bacteria do not have nerve cells, animals do and that is why an animal when in danger reacts to protect its life.

    Also parts of plants are meant to be eaten or else most plant species will not be able to survive. There are many fruits with seeds that will not germinate without passing through the digestive tracts of birds, bats or monkeys. Plants do not object to picking fruit. But even an animal like a crab which can regenerate a lost limb will never volunteer to give away a limb for someone else to eat.

    It is true chickens, turkey and goats are all animals as well but the ban on cattle slaughter is a good place to start. The cow is a sacred animal to Hindus, most Sinhalese Buddhists refrain from eating beef mainly due to gratitude (remember Nihal Nelson’s song “Epa Epa Mus Kannata Kiri Ammage”? and the song “Haputale Kanda Naginawa”?).

    Anyone with a genuine feeling for animals will therefore be happy at the fact that at should cattle slaughter be banned, at least the lives of cattle will be spared.

    I support banning the slaughter of cattle 100%. I support banning chicken as well. A “doctor” should definitely know that the hormones and antibiotics given to chicken are detrimental to human health. I also support vegetarianism (though I am not a complete vegetarian myself), the most humane form of living.

    PS: Where is the article on Rizana Nawfeek?? (again shame on you if you don’t write an article about her)

  6. De Costa Says:

    I don’t know why everyone treat this extremist muslim woman with respect.
    This is woman if really a doctor has cheated education system to get the degree. Ther is no doubt.
    mjaya and Terrence,
    Yes we should wait for the article on our muslim sister( never heard muslim sister before from a muslim) Rizana , God willing, God willing – kill all non-muslims. Anaimals shall be killed because they are not muslims !

  7. Sajith Says:

    She was Dr Mervyn Silva’s class mate!

    Both spin doctors. One is a haraka while this one is gona.

    Today the way cattle are rared, they eat a lot of pesticide infected grass. Those who eat their meat will soon end up impotant. Not to mention the mad cow disease and foot and mouth disease (she may be suffering from this). May all the beef eaters in South Asia get the mad cow disease and die – Ameen.

  8. mjaya Says:

    Nice comments from everyone! (including Sajith – aka M.S.Mudali) Definitely better than the article!!

    De Costa “This is woman if really a doctor has cheated education system to get the degree. Ther is no doubt.” Indeed, she is definitely a bogus doctor who probably doesn’t even know the difference between aspirin and paracetamol.

    So Mareena have you been checking blood pressure with a thermometer lately?

  9. Leela Says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if she comes out with sarcastic writing shoddier than this to insult our values and culture. I have a lot in my mind to vent out, but I do not want say it in case I’ll be accused as a bigot.

  10. Fran Diaz Says:

    We would like to look at the problem of Cattle Slaughter (and slaughter of other animal for human consumption) from the scientific point of view. Here are some amazing facts :

    (1) In Mammals, to which group human beings (homo sapiens) belong, some creatures are carnivorous (meat eaters) whilst others are herbivorous (plant eaters). The carnivores all LAP any liquid such as water by putting their tongues into the liquid and curling it up to draw it into the mouth, such as the cats like Tigers, Lions, dogs, etc. The herbivores SUCK liquid up into their mouth, such as cows, goats, elephants (through the trunks). Human beings suck liquids – we do not put out our tongues into a glass of water to curl it up with some of the liquid.

    (2) See the construction of our teeth. They are similar to the herbivores’ teeth. The two canine teeth are mere vestiges, hardly noticeable. Our teeth our meant for grinding plant food, grains & cereals. Our teeth are not constructed for tearing and eating meat as in the sharp teeth of dogs and cats.

    (3) The human digestive system too is geared for vegetarian food. The carnivores have short intestines so that the putrefying vegetable matter is quickly disposed of, whilst all the herbivores have long intestines, such as ours. In carnivores the intestines are about 5 times the body length, in herbivores it is about 10 times the body length, as in human beings. This is why meat eating human beings get colon cancer very easily – we are constructed by Nature for mostly vegetable food.

    (4) Meat eating appears to cause Aggressiveness. Look at all the meat eating animals for proof !

    (5) In order to get enough complete proteins, it is good eat milk products such as curd, yoghurt, cheese, etc. Generally speaking, beans (lentils, gram etc) & rice together ought to form complete proteins too.

    In addition,

    (6) Slaughter of animals, if it has to be done, must be done in the most humane manner. The least amount of slaughter is best.

  11. Fran Diaz Says:

    Correction of error : #3 should read as “… so that the putrefying non-vegetable matter is quickly disposed of ….. etc”

  12. Nanda Says:

    Fran Diaz,
    Can you please tell me whether the Pig is “carnivorous” or “herbivores”.
    Pig is my favourite animal but it eats anysh–.
    Why one God likes pork and another God does not like ?
    By the way is Allah “carnivorous” or “herbivores” ? Readinh Mareena’s article looks like “herbivores”.

  13. Fran Diaz Says:

    Nanda :

    (1) You are referring to the Omnivorous Mammals (eats plant & meat matter). The Pig is such an animal. It has more or less pointed, tough teeth, suited to meat eating too. I have no idea of the length of a Pig’s intestines, but likely it is shorter than a herbivore.

    Are human beings meant to be Omnivores ? I don’t know. Right now, on planet Earth most people are Omnivores.

    In earlier times, the Eskimoes lived almost solely on a diet of meat. They had the worst teeth (whatever remained in their gums), known to present day mankind due to chewing meat and skins of animals. Their life span was woefully short.

    All we know today is that the average human being needs only 50 grams of protein for the day. This is such a small amount compared with what is actually consumed by some people. The excess protein has to be dealt with and expelled through the kidneys, resulting possibly in kidney disease. 50 grms of Protein can be easily taken through a vegetarian diet, including cheeses, yoghurt, curd, whey powder, etc. Manual laborers, athletes, and heavy duty physical workers may need more protein.

    (2) An interesting point is that the Pig carries the tape worm disease. It is possible that “Allah’s People” are asked not to eat Pig meat due to this reason.

    (3) The way I see it, we are still evolving as human beings. Nature is constructing our bodies in the direction we are supposed to evolve.i.e. to be mostly vegan. People are free to eat what they please and pay the price in poor health or a short life span
    or get punished for over aggressive behavior ……

  14. jimmy Says:

    God bless Chandima Pallage of Makola

    I agree. I gave up eating meat 5 years ago. I have a dog as pet
    I understand in Vietnam and China people eat Dog meat. When I told my friends at work they said how can I say it is wrong when I eat meat . I thought they have a point

    It is my opinion and I know many people do not agree that Killing animals for our pleasure is not necessary
    I eat Fish and may be one day I will become a pure vegetarian. I pray God will give me the strength to give up Fish also

    I drink mixed vegeatable juice or fruit juice every day
    I have a juicer and I mix vegeteables and make juice I fee good all day
    also I take vitamins

    If any one want to live as vegetarian they can

  15. Leela Says:

    Writing to the Island’s opinion column on 14/12, a man named Roy Kodituwakku says cattle is not a part of the environment. He also says it is there to give us milk and thereafter to be used as meat. If humanity is to survive we have to be omnivorous, so he says. What have you got to say?

    Nanda: For theists, I mean, for Jews, Christians and Muslims, there are no two two Gods but one. It is the God that a Jew named Abraham first found in the desert. As much as Yahweh, Allah is just another name for that God. Its the Arabic name for that God. It has no plurality. I agree though; Muslims interpretation of ‘the God’ is different to that of the Christians. For Christians Jesus is God. Other two theist do not accept it. Prophet Mohammad vehemently deny it. According to Koran, Mohammad has gone so far as to mock that idea: He said, Jesus ate just like him. How can he be God? He questioned. He is no God but a Prophet like him.

  16. Nanda Says:

    Fran and Leela,
    Thank you so much for valuable knowledge.

  17. uditha Says:

    The Buddha said
    “Taking life, beating, wounding, binding, stealing, lying, deceiving, worthless knowledge, adultery; this is stench. Not the eating of meat.”

  18. Fran Diaz Says:

    Yes, people will continue to be Omnivorous for a long time into the future. Animal flesh is a cheap source of complete protein, and the some people consider animal flesh tasty. It is really a habit, and can be easily broken. The West has developed soy burghers, a product that tastes just like beef and chicken. It is just an off shoot of the ordinary soy TVP found in Lanka, and should be developed in Lanka too.

    Admittedly, beef is a cheap source of complete protein, but it is not among the best sources of complete proteins. Cowboys in America did not touch beef – their diet was beans & bread ! Chicago city, which became the leading slaughter house for cattle in America circa 1920’s-30’s, also became the centre for the Mafia ! Chicago was also a disease ridden city.
    But, I digress – Cattle reared for milk have to be euthanized in the end as they age – a great pity. Their meat could be used for pet food mostly and skin for leather products. Besides, Chicken, Eggs & Fish are far better sources of complete protein, if one must have animal products.

    We have been doing a bit of research into HEALTHY proteins for human consumption, and have come across the fact that human beings can live on sources of complete protein other than animal flesh. Animal fat, in particular, beef with fat, is bad for the heart & circulatory system, and causes hardening of arteries starting from a young age. Coconut oil is now considered one of the healthiest in the world, and does not break down under high heat unlike most of the other good oils.

    If a person has scruples about eating animal flesh (for religious reasons or just plain horror of killing animals for consumption), he or she can subsist quite well on NUTS & SEEDS, MILK PRODUCTS & EGGS, combined with PLANT FOODS, which will give the necessary amino acids for the body to make high quality proteins. In fact, this is just what our ancestors did before the Portuguese invasion of Lanka. Even a bit of dried fish was rare then, and only the King’s table had some “dada muss”. Our ancestors were a healthy people. They could fight in wars and win, even then.

    There is also a substance in food called CoQ10 which gives cell energy. This substance is found high in peanuts, spinach (remember strong Popeye the Spinach eater ?!), beef, sardines, and various other Plant food sources. So, the necessary elements for good health are distributed all over both the animal & plant worlds.

    What must be avoided in Lanka is the advertising of the T-bone steak as the best & tastiest food, and the meat ladened table as a sign of prosperity, as shown in some glossy magazines. Also, the notion that flesh eating is good for you and a must. Beware of clever advertising, not supportive of good health. The health conscious people in the West are now turning away from flesh eating.

  19. Janaps Says:

    Mareena, Hi, I think you were at Peradeniya in the 10th batch? Well the answer to your question is Buddhism. In the elementary buddhism there are these 5 precepts all buddhists are expected to follow. The first precept is
    “Panathipatha veramani sikkha padang samadhiyami”. This is Pali and in Singhala it means “I will refrain from taking the life away from any living being”
    To complete a sinful act on this precept one has to
    i) Confirm there is life
    i) get a desire to kill
    iii) Find a method
    i) Deploy the method
    vi) Recognize that life is exticnt
    This is to make sure that the killing is not accidental. The killing should be a willful act. Lord Buddha said “Chethanahang bhikkawe Kammang wadhami” which means “Dear monks, mere thought itself constitute a Karma” whether good or bad. So one has to get the desire to kill or one wants to feel that he should kill. If any Buddhist says that this issue is rather ambiguous in Buddhism I am prepared to take him or her head on. I may not know my surgery but I know my Buddhism. I am sure you remember how clear the Nucleus Ambiguous in the brain is. Any ambguity on this issue is as ‘ambiguous ‘ as the nucleus Ambiguous in the brain. Sincerely yours, Janapriya

  20. uditha Says:

    According to Buddha “Fish and meat are pure (parisuddha) and even allowed to be consumed by monks except for the ten types of meat which are prohibited to monks i.e human, elephant, horse, dog, hyena, snake, bear, lion, tiger, and panther (Mahavagga).

  21. mjaya Says:

    More on what Uditha has highlighted

    A Buddhist monk or nun can consume meat or fish offered in alms only if they are certain that the animal was not killed specifically for them. Nevertheless, the sale of meat is considered a wrongful trade in Buddhism along with the sale of weapons, narcotics (including alcohol), poison and animals for slaughter.

  22. radha Says:

    Revisiting your website, I was pleased to see so many comments on this hotly debated subject. But sadly the thread has moved away from the point at issue, i.e. if animals ought to be sacrificed for rituals or killed for consumption. Whitewashing cold blooded killing with the word sacrifice does not make killing any meritorius.

    There seems to be a great deal of hypocracy amongst people here, especially the Buddhist variety, that focuses on their belly button (I mean self protection about their taste for meat eating) whenever they try to find excuses from books, stating that these were Buddha’s words. What poppycock ! Who says that these words from Mahavagga or Parisuddha were uttered by Buddha, It was several hundred years after Buddha’s passed away that Buddhist clergy made the effort to revise the teaching, got rid of the dross and to write the scriptures. Since then many words have been added by all sorts masquerading them as followers of Buddha. Many had differnt political agendas and personal agendas that were camouflaged through mindbending of the population through words planted in Buddhist books. It is the easiest way to get your plan working. Say, either it comes from or not come from your respectable religious teacher.

    Just because somebody wrote the words, “thus I have heard like this …. ” to the begining of a sutra does not make it authentic that it was Buddha’s teaching. Any Tom, Dick and Harry who had the influence with the Kings of Sri Lanka could have written such things.

    Buddha has not said, as in Bible,thou shall believe what I say or what you read or what is passed down. It is said in the verse for paying respect for Dhamma, that one should come, examine the teaching and only if it makes sense to accept it. It needs some intelligence and common sense to become a good Buddhist, and not a quotation from a book, that entirely goes against the grain of Buddhist teaching. The sad thing is that, even I have heard personally some monks stating that Buddha did not prohibit eating meat, as an excuse for them to eat it.

    For goodness sake, why do people have to hide behind Buddha’s mantle and shadow to eat meat. Well that is hypocracy. If they want to eat meat, do it openly, just admit that they like it and dont care about the lives of animals who provide you with their meat to satisfy your tummys. Just be honest and be truthful about it, instead of trying to sell Buddha to get what you want.

    What Budda has said is observe the nature; learn from observation. That is part of meditation. Follow that advice and observe and see if the animal likes to be killed, to have its life shortend, whether or not it is done humanely and inhumanely. If he does not like it, which is the case in general, then it is wrong to take that life.

    Well, somebody might say, “Wrong?” .. “Wrong in whose books?”. You don’t need a book, just ask yourself and put yourself in the animal’s shoes. Would you like to have your life taken either humanely (as Mareena stated) or inhumanely, by someone else? A friend, relative, enemy, priest, or butcher? Which one you prefer to do it? May be you dont mind if your life is taken by a friend instead of a butcher or a ritual priest? If you think this is wrong, then it is also wrong to take the animal’s life, because the poor animal has feelings and the desire to live until it dies naturally. That is why animals should not be killed as they are helpless and cannot defend themselves against the cruelty of human beings.

    It is nothing to do with if Buddha has said this or said that about meat eating. And I say to any monks or so called learned Doctors or doctors with little “d” who are quoting from Buddhist books, please don’t utter such rubbish, you are insulting your robes and your intelligence, that is if you have an iota of intelligence. Dont be a “Dhabbi soupa rasam yatha”.

  23. Fran Diaz Says:

    I agree with radha. The Age of Truth must be dawning in Lanka !

  24. uditha Says:

    A monk needs to go on almsround for his meal unless he is invited or meals brought to the monastery.A beggar must not be a chooser, vegetarianism is incompatible with a buddhist monks lifestyle probably another reason why buddha rejected devadattas request.
    As for the authenticity of the suttas, the monks who has heard the Buddha preach in person were Arahants and by definition “pure ones” free from passion and delusion and therefore was without doubt capable of retaining perfectly buddhas words. They ensured that the buddhas teaching would be preserved faithfully. The tipitaka exists as a result of the Buddha’s discovery of the noble and liberating path. In this day we are fortunate to have the authentic teachings of the buddha preserved for future generations through the efforts of his ordained disciples through the ages.
    It seems that the so called followers of buddha trying to influence their own thoughts and whims into Gotama Buddhas teaching by questioning the authenticity of Tipitaka.

  25. Fran Diaz Says:

    Akin to the buddhist “Panathipatha vera mani sikka ….” (a promise not to kill living beings), is the Christian Law :

    ‘Thou shalt not kill any living thing,’ for life is given to all by God, and that which God has given, let not man taketh it away. ~Jesus, Gospel of the Holy Twelve, (earliest known recorded words of Jesus)

    “Thou shalt not kill.” ~Exodus 20:13 Authorized version of King James

    “You shall not murder.” ~New International Version

    See how the wording has changed to suit the food needs of society. We suppose it is alright to be Omnivorous, but please don’t drag the Teachings of the Masters into it to justify eating meat. Eat what you want, but the Teachings of the Masters are the Laws of God/Truth, and cannot and should not be altered. The Laws are Eternal and will stand, whatever we think or do.

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