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Re: time to give up milk even in India?

From: Sriram Ranganathan (srirangan_at_earthlink.net)
Date: Fri Aug 10 2001 - 22:25:28 PDT

Dear Members,

Sri. Mani's post highlighting the cruelty to cows and buffaloes should be
extremely painful to all of us.

Beginning with worms and all the way up to elephants, man ill-treats almost
every creature in the animal kingdom on some pretext or the other.
Ironically, for all their derided instincts, animals themselves generally
co-exist peacefully and don't trouble each other except when hungry or
trespassed. And some of the strongest animals are predominantly vegetarians!
It is sad we with so much knowledge and resourcefulness resort to such
savagery against these wonderful creatures.

If nothing else, Bhagavan's Matsya, Koorma, VarAha, Narasimha, and
Hayavadana incarnations should remind us of our bonds with animals. As we
learned from another thread, being a Sri Vaishnava involves showing kindness
to all life forms. There are plenty of examples in our purAnAs. Ramayana and
Mahabharatha alone is enough.

The bovines probably get the worst treatment from us, dead or alive.
Perhaps, it is time we did something about it. Though consuming milk per se
is not an act of crime, we carry it to such senseless proportions that it
ends up being one. I am not sure if we can completely avoid milk-based
products, but we can definitely reduce the quantity consumed, and keep it to
the absolute minimum. Excessive consumption and senseless misuse is not
restricted to the West or the rich.

Today, life on earth stands a good chance of being destroyed by
over-consumption. Our consumption pattern determines the scale of mass
production and resource depletion. Aside from eschewing over consumption,
what needs to change is our attitude. We should be driven by conservation
and not consumption. We need to educate our kids and foster a kind and
respectful attitude towards animals and plants. Worldwide de-forestation in
just the last decade has wiped out green-cover the size of Brazil. When was
the last time we spoke to our kids about kindness to animals and saving
trees?

With a burgeoning population, the value or respect for 'life' continues to
decline steadily and precipitously. Cynical as it may sound, it is
unfortunately today's harsh reality, especially in India /Third World.
"Aping" the West culture, has led to more problems than we imagined. Rather
than learn from their mistakes, we simply follow suit with even more
impunity, trying to play catch-up.

We do the same with plants and trees, and now we are beginning to mess with
human lives as well! Tinkering with nature to unethical proportions, we
completely ignore the negative consequences. True, genetic engineering has
helped us grow better varieties of disease-resistant, high-yield crops and
eradicate many human and animal diseases as well, but we need to adopt a
more balanced, holistic approach.

Basically, we simply do not (and should) know when to stop. Let us not
forget the maxim, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to
repeat it".

Reverently,
Sriram


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