Why should the lives of millions of innocent animals be destroyed at time of Christmas purely to celebrate the birth anniversary of one man?
Posted on December 23rd, 2017

Senaka Weeraratna

Life is the most precious possession of all living beings. No religion can deny this simple fact.  Reverence for life is the epitome of ethics. To confine the reverence for life to only one species and discard the claims to live unharassed of the other eight million species that share the planet with humans is ethically and morally indefensible.

Monotheistic religions ignore the ethical dimensions of this reality. But adherents of other religions such as Buddhists and Jains and free thinkers in the West are not prepared to do so.

This issue always comes up at time of Christmas. Because that is the time that the greatest amount of harm is caused to animals. However much one tries to deny or cover up with seemingly innocuous sounding language there is an underlying human complicity in this animal holocaust and savagery.  

Christmas feasts are deeply associated with the consumption of the flesh of victims of violence. Meat is obtained by snuffing out the life of another living being that wants to continue to live. It is hypocritical to talk of love and peace to all at Christmas while gleefully tucking into the remains of a dead animal on your plate. This is what is called double speak. It is basically language used to deceive usually through concealment or misrepresentation of truth. All the hosannas sung to the good Lord and his acolytes at Christmas becomes nothing but hypocritical if one overlooks the enormous amounts of blood of innocent animals that is being shed on the eve of Christmas to bring the meat to your plateTo eat meat without bothering to consider its true source is not right mindfulness.   One must cultivate right mindfulness at all times particularly at times of religious observances. To disregard this requirement devalues the sanctity of the religious occasion. Christmas unfortunately has become a showboat festival sans true compassion for all living beings. 

It is a ‘day of infamy’ from the point of view of dying animals. It is anything but a season of joy for them.

The screams of animals being slaughtered under most primitive unregulated conditions and in the backyards of homes during the Christmas season go unheard, unnoticed, and disregarded at times of prayer in Christian Churches, and more alarmingly in the corridors of power of this pre-dominantly Buddhist country. The rulers of this country in the pre-colonial era were animal friendly and upheld a culture of tolerance towards all living beings.

To talk of the high value of environmental conservation while ignoring the urgent need to enact the Animal Welfare Bill, is another instance of double speak that the Catholic Church is also guilty of. The Catholic Church and all other Christian Churches are maintaining a deafening silence on the necessity of bringing the Animal Welfare Bill onto the Statute Book.   Animals have no votes. Sri Lanka’s self serving politicians can afford to ignore them. Their moral authority and credibility is nil. But religious institutions are a different kettle of fish. They are supposed to be the keepers of the moral conscience of a society. In this era of increasing awareness of the rights of others, how can one ignore the plight of other living beings?

A slaughter free religious festival would be a season of joy for all at least from the point of view of preservation of life. Humans and non – human animals alike. Vesak provides the best example where reverence and compassion for all forms of life is stressed and consequently on Vesak day an age-old custom is legally enforced – closure of slaughter houses and ban on sale of meat. A majority of the people abstain from flesh food consumption as part of the Buddhist religious tradition and practice on that occasion.

We in Sri Lanka can set an example to the rest of the world by doing likewise on Christmas day. The biggest beneficiaries would be the innocent animals. It is time that we all give consideration to their paramount interest in living until their natural life span ends just as much we humans do to each other.

Sri Lankans who celebrate Christmas should strongly consider commencing a new tradition of kindness and goodwill to all living beings by leaving meat off their plate on Christmas day. Instead of blindly aping foreign traditions mired in killing and bloodshed during Christmas, why not follow a more distinctive Buddhist (Vesak) tradition in Sri Lanka of total non-violence when celebrating the anniversary of the birthday of the founder of a religion.

It is never too late to start such a fresh endeavor this season. It will save lives.  What can be more holy and noble than that?

Extend the spirit of goodwill to animals this Christmas by avoiding meat altogether on Christmas Day. That will be an unique and truly noble gesture.

All lovers of peace and non – violence (ahimsa) must campaign to make religious festivals in Sri Lanka slaughter free. That will bring a level of international recognition to Sri Lanka that no amount of empty rhetoric on Human Rights can bring.

Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.”

― Arthur SchopenhauerThe Basis of Morality

Senaka Weeraratna

16 Responses to “Why should the lives of millions of innocent animals be destroyed at time of Christmas purely to celebrate the birth anniversary of one man?”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    SENAKA !! It is for *THANKS GIVING* that the Largest amount of Turkeys are killed, all over the World. For the Catholics, it is a feasting day, so they will not refrain from eating Animal Flesh. People should abstain from killing animals for flesh, not only on Feast Days, but should be adhered throughout the days and years. Muslims will never stop killing, all the year round. Meat is an important part of their diet. A certain percentage of the population can be convinced to stop eating flesh, if SOY products are developed on a large scale.

  2. Nimal Says:

    It’s a dilemma I am living with, though feeling so much for the animals.

  3. Senerath Says:

    As Jesus himself demonstrated killing powerless animals and feeding hungry humans is a good thing, how can Buddhist convince Catholics it is a bad thing ?
    What Buddhist should do is to encourage people to read Kalama Sutta.

    Up to the reader to select ‘selected compassion’ or ‘all encomapssing compassion’. Or else just argue, if killed properly animal will not feel the pain. When the mother animal is killed ‘humanely’ the baby animal would not suffer ?
    If your mother is killed you don’t suffer ?
    Humans have a ‘higher level’ brain to think.

  4. Lakshman Says:

    If current slaughter of animal in the world is stopped more than half of world population will perish within months.
    According to the FAO database, farmed animal production is highly concentrated in a handful of countries, most notably China and the United States. For each of the ten most slaughtered animals, at least half of the total 2003 slaughter is accounted for by the five highest-production countries. China slaughters more ducks, pigs, rabbits, geese, lambs, goats, cows and calves than any other country in the world. The US slaughters more chickens and turkeys than any other country, and is second only to China when it comes to pig slaughter. Overall, in 2003 China slaughtered more than 10.5 billion animals for their flesh, while the US slaughtered more than 9.5 billion animals, not including aquatic animals in either case.

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    The same must apply to MILK and EGGS.

    Cows produce milk for CALVES not for human “gona”. STEALING cows milk for humans is STEALING its blood.

    You don’t milk your neighbor’s breasts to feed your child. So why do that to cows?

    STOP using ALL animal products. They were NEVER intended for humans.

  6. Lakshman Says:

    Sorry Lorenzo. Our Lord has created the animal for the humans could kill for food. Genesis 9:1-3, Leviticus 11:1-3, Luke 22:7-15, Genesis 27:2-9,…….

  7. Christie Says:

    මන් පුන්චිකාලයේ ගමේ කෙල්ලන්ට කොල්ලන්ට කුඹුරු කරන කාලයේ කලයුතුම වැඩ දෙකක් තිබුන.

    එකක් තමයි හවසට කුඹුරට ගිහින් වක්කඩ බැඳීමත් උදේට කැඩීමත්. උදේට කුඹුර පුරා මැරිච්ච මී පැටව්.

    අනික තමයි උනුකල දුම්මල හා කොහොල්ලැ ගාපු රෙදි කෑලි එල්ලපු ලනුවක් කුබුර හරහට ඇදගෙන යාම. ලනුවෙත් රෙදිකෑලිවලත් බන්ඩි ගොයමෙත් මිලියන් ගනන් මැරිච්ච කුරූමියො.

    අදකාලෙ නම් වල්නාශක කුරුමි නාශක; ප්‍රකෝටි ගනන් කුරූම්යොයි පොඩි සත්තුයි උන්ගෙ බිත්තරයි ඔක්කොම ඉවරයි.

    ඒ මදිවට අපිට හැදෙන ලමයින්ට්යි අපිටත් නොයෙක් ආපදා.

    අපි පුන්චිකාලෙ අන්තවාදී උපාසකයන්ට කීවෙ උපා (cunning) සකයො(suckers) කියල.

  8. Lorenzo Says:

    Lakshman,

    Shows you are NOT a Christian! Some people’s lord is a human flesh eater. :))

    You GOOGLED “kill” and this is what you got. You should know the CONTEXT.

    Nowhere in Luke 22:7-15 says anything about killing animals!! The “kill” in there refers to the tradition but NO ANIMAL was killed. It was JESUS who was killed after the LAST SUPPER!!! Only bread and wine was used instead of flesh and blood.

    The other references are from the old testament. Jesus refined these.

    “Luke 22:7-15

    7 Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.
    8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.
    9 And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare?
    10 And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in.
    11 And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?
    12 And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready.
    13 And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.
    14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.
    15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:”

    “musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami”

  9. Lakshman Says:

    Thank you Lorenzo for enlightening me. May be kill is the wrong word I guess. The Bible in front of me has this verse ” Luke 22:7-15 The day came during the Festival of Unleavened Bread when the Passover lamb had to be killed. Jesus sent Peter and John and told them, “Go, prepare the Passover lamb for us to eat.” They asked him, “Where do you want us to prepare it?…Hmm. May be kill is the wrong word. Perhaps slaughter, murder, euthanize, …I wonder. Whichever it is. Eventually the the poor animal to be devoured. As this writer says, the two Holocaust days in calendar today for the animal are X’mas and Ramadan where billions of animal are slaughtered to celebrate our lords glory. ……BTW I am an atheist and an animal lover.

  10. Lorenzo Says:

    So Lakshman what happened finally? Did they kill the lamb? NO. Isn’t it?

    Jesus STOPPED this BARBARIC practice of killing animals for religious purposes!! Instead he gave his flesh in bread and his blood in wine.
    (I have a VERY strong suspicion about your Lord’s culinary preferences though.)

    I’m no animal lover but a COMPLETE VEGETARIAN since 21. (Have consumed a MASSIVE amount of fish as a kid in the north.) I don’t drink ANIMAL milk either. I don’t eat eggs. FUNNY how some animal lovers (probably NOT you) still drink cows milk meant for its CALF!! That is STEALING.

    Good to see more and more people REJECT animal stuff as food. We can live without them. LESS sicknesses MORE energy. Why eat animals and drink their blood (MILK) in this 21st century????

  11. Senerath Says:

    There you go ! Two people fighting over ‘compassion’ of the master.

    Need not go so far. Forget the past and look at the present.

    Jeusus gone 2000 years ago and millions of killing occuring in his name at Christmas by ignoratnt people misunderstanding what he did.

    Buddha gone 2600 ago and NO killing at Vesak but thousands of people ( mostly non-Buddhists) arguing against killing and going Vegan.

    But Lorenzo missed the point completely ! Here , the argument is on Inland Fisheries as an Industry. Not about drinking milk and eating egg ! I am sure when it comes to this point he will realised Jesus would have liked the Inland Fisheries to stop hunger of people.

  12. Senerath Says:

    OR , else-
    Lorenozo may chose to use the wisdom to realise that both masters, Buddha and Jesus said the same thing.

    That is –

    If you feed the available fish and bread to hungry poor people without killing – it is a meritorious act.
    If one teaches 5000 people how to kill fish and survive – it is an evil act.
    If you are poor and hungry but reject eating, meat , fish, milk and egg even if it is given free and die – you are a COMPASSIONATE FOOL.
    Then your compassion will definitely give you a good destination but you will still be stcuk in Samsara for a very long time. If you ate the available meat, fish or egg just for the survival and apply effort to practice Buddha’s teaching you are closing on at end of suffering.

    Buddha said, “understanding both ends, one does not get stuck in the middle – I call him a Great Man , one who transcended the seamstress”.
    Even the middle path is a path only not the destination.

  13. Christie Says:

    “”understanding both ends, one does not get stuck in the middle””. One does not get stuck in the extreme ends. Tolerance in life. which you live.

  14. Lorenzo Says:

    Look at this.

    Muslim BEEF SHOPS use Buddhist shrines in their PROMOTION MATERIAL!!

    “https://scontent-syd2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/25994821_534636773595930_327739413110186550_n.jpg?oh=d9db35ba6b41e7dfd35fe9523022c18d&oe=5ACBDC63”

    A Buddhist temple picture on top.
    A skinned chicken meat, etc., etc. below.

  15. Lorenzo Says:

    Jesus recruited fishermen as his apostles.

    By doing that he SAVED them from killing fish.

    He also changed the practice of killing lamb for mass. NO MORE. Instead of meat we now use bread. Thanks to him BILLIONS of animals got to live. But in Buddhist SL they still kill animals for sacrifice by Hindus and Buddhists in Munneswaram!!

    Eating turkey, chicken, etc. has NOTHING to do with Christianity. It is WESTERN CULTURAL.

    e.g. Worshiping trees, stones, bricks, etc. is NOT Buddhism. It is CULTURAL.

    You are right. It CONVERGES Buddhist and Christian (Jesus, not Old Testament) teachings.

    IF I were extremely hungry and the ONLY “food” is animal milk (stolen by forcibly sucking blood turned milk out of the poor animal), eggs, chicken, beef, etc. I would RATHER DIE. I’m NOT compassionate as you know. But why eat another living thing for MY survival? You don’t eat your neighbour if you are extremely hungry!!

    I FULLY SUPPORT KILLING any number any age anything to save the nation. So don’t get me wrong. I’m not compassionate. I’m PRACTICAL. Some people are not.

  16. Senerath Says:

    Genesis 22:1-19English Standard Version (ESV)
    The Sacrifice of Isaac

    22 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy[a] will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

    9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”;[b] as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”[c]

    15 And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his[d] enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” 19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham lived at Beersheba.

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