The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies, building prosperity and supporting a sustainable future for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.
World Food Programme was awarded with a Nobel Peace Prize in 2020.
Having taken up his current position as WFP Country Director in Chad after experiences in war-torn countries — most recently, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) — Claude Jibidar has witnessed first-hand how conflict and hunger feed each other.
“To me, zero hunger doesn’t mean that, tomorrow, not one single person will wake up and be hungry. There will be people who will wake up and be hungry, simply because we have floods, we have droughts; we have natural disasters. It will happen that people will lose everything. All those unpredictable events will cause hunger,” Jibidar says. “In those cases, the most important thing is to make sure that governments can respond and bring food to those people, and if they can’t, that WFP does it.”
“So, disasters can happen, but there is one thing which is a major driver of hunger and could be prevented: conflict,” Jibidar continues. “This is the message behind this Nobel Prize: conflict is something that can, and must, be addressed.”
The number of people affected by hunger globally has been slowly on the rise since 2014. è Current estimates are that nearly 690 million people are hungry, or 8.9 percent of the world population – up by 10 million people in one year and by nearly 60 million in five years. The number of people affected by severe food insecurity, which is another measure that approximates hunger, shows a similar upward trend. In 2019, close to 750 million – or nearly one in ten people in the world – were exposed to severe levels of food insecurity.
Considering the total affected by moderate or severe food insecurity, an estimated 2 billion people in the world did not have regular access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food in 2019.
If recent trends continue, the number of people affected by hunger would surpass 840 million by 2030. è A preliminary assessment suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic may add between 83 and 132 million people to the total number of undernourished in the world in 2020 depending on the economic growth scenario.
The PoU in Africa was 19.1 percent of the population in 2019, or more than 250 million undernourished people, up from 17.6 percent in 2014. This prevalence is more than twice the world average (8.9 percent) and is the highest among all regions.
Asia is home to more than half of the total undernourished people in the world – an estimated 381 million people in 2019. Yet, the PoU in the population for the region is 8.3 percent, below the world average (8.9 percent), and less than half of that of Africa. Asia has shown progress in reducing the number of hungry people in recent years, down by 8 million since 2015.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, the PoU was 7.4 percent in 2019, below the world prevalence of 8.9 percent, which still translates into almost 48 million undernourished people. The region has seen a rise in hunger in the past few years, with the number of undernourished people increasing by 9 million between 2015 and 2019.
In terms of the outlook for 2030, Africa is significantly off track to achieve the Zero Hunger target in 2030. If recent rates of increase persist, the PoU will rise from 19.1 to 25.7 percent. Latin America and the Caribbean is also off track, even though at a much lower level. Mostly due to deterioration in recent years, the trend will bring the PoU from 7.4 percent in 2019 to 9.5 in 2030. Asia, while making progress, will also not achieve the target by 2030 based on recent trends. Overall, and without considering the effects of COVID-19, projected trends in undernourishment would change the geographic distribution of world hunger dramatically. While Asia would still be home to almost 330 million hungry people in 2030, its share of the world’s hunger would shrink substantially.
Africa would overtake Asia to become the region with the highest number of undernourished people (433 million), accounting for 51.5 percent of the total.
Adult obesity continues to rise, from 11.8 percent in 2012 to 13.1 percent in 2016 and is not on track to reach the global target to halt the rise in adult obesity by 2025. If the prevalence continues to increase by 2.6 percent per year, adult obesity will increase by 40 percent by 2025, compared to the 2012 level. All subregions show increasing trends in the prevalence of adult obesity between 2012 and 2016.
There are large discrepancies in the per capita availability of foods from different food groups across different country income groups. Low-income countries rely more on staple foods and less on fruits and vegetables and animal source foods than high-income countries. è Only in Asia, and globally in upper-middle-income countries, are there enough fruits and vegetables available for human consumption to be able to meet the FAO/WHO recommendation of consuming a minimum of 400 g/person/day. è Globally, only one in three children 6 to 23 months of age meets the recommended minimum dietary diversity, with wide variation among the regions of the world. è Diet quality is negatively affected by food insecurity, even at moderate levels of severity. People who experience moderate or severe food insecurity consume less meat, and fewer dairy products and fruits and vegetables, than those who are food secure or mildly food insecure.
The world average availability of fruits and vegetables increased; however, only in Asia, and globally in upper-middle-income countries, are there enough fruits and vegetables available to meet the FAO/WHO recommendation of consuming a minimum of 400 g per day.
With ten years to go until 2030, the world is off track to achieve the SDG targets for hunger and malnutrition. After decades of long decline, the number of people suffering from hunger has been slowly increasing since 2014. Beyond hunger, a growing number of people have been forced to compromise on the quality and/or quantity of the food they consume, as reflected in the increase in moderate or severe food insecurity since 2014. Projections for 2030, even without considering the potential impact of COVID-19, serve as a warning that the current level of effort is not enough to reach Zero Hunger ten years from now.
Adoption of plant-based dietary patterns would reduce the social cost of GHG emmssions by 14-74%
To achieve the dietary patterns for healthy diets that include sustainability considerations, large transformative changes in food systems will be needed at all levels. Given the large diversity of current food systems and wide discrepancies in food security and nutrition status across and within countries, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for countries to shift towards healthy diets and create synergies to reduce their environmental footprints.
Political economy: Trade policies, mainly protectionary trade measures and input subsidy programmes, tend to protect and incentivize the domestic production of staple foods, such as rice and maize, often at the detriment of nutritious foods, like fruits and vegetables. Non-tariff trade measures can help improve food safety, quality standards and the nutritional value of food, but they can also drive up the costs of trade and hence food prices, negatively affecting the affordability of healthy diets.
The most recent estimate for 2019 shows that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 690 million people, or 8.9 percent of the global population, were undernourished. This estimate is based on new data on population, food supply and more importantly, new household survey data that enabled the revision of the inequality of food consumption for 13 countries, including China.
The new estimate for 2019 has revealed that an additional 60 million people have become affected by hunger since 2014. If this trend continues, the number of undernourished people will exceed 840 million by 2030. Hence, the world is not on track to achieve Zero Hunger, even without the negative effects that COVID-19 will likely have on hunger. Preliminary projections based on the latest available global economic outlooks, also presented in this report, suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic may add an additional 83 to 132 million people to the ranks of the undernourished in 2020.
In 2015 the global community adopted the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development to improve people’s lives by 2030. Goal 2 – Zero Hunger – pledges to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, and is the priority of the World Food Program.
The world is making progress but is not on track to achieve the 2025 and 2030 targets for child stunting and low birth weight, and for exclusive breastfeeding, is on track only for the 2025 target. The prevalence of wasting is notably above the targets. Most regions are not on track to achieve the targets for child overweight. Adult obesity is on the rise in all regions. Urgent action is needed to reverse these upward trends. Around 57 percent or more of the population cannot afford a healthy diet throughout sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia.
Shifting to healthy diets can contribute to reducing health and climate-change costs by 2030, because the hidden costs of these healthy diets are lower compared to those of current consumption patterns. The adoption of healthy diets is projected to lead to a reduction of up to 97 percent in direct and indirect health costs and 41–74 percent in the social cost of GHG emissions in 2030. è However, not all healthy diets are sustainable and not all diets designed for sustainability are always healthy. This important nuance is not well understood and is missing from ongoing discussions and debates on the potential contribution of healthy diets to environmental sustainability.
To increase the affordability of healthy diets, the cost of nutritious foods must come down. The cost drivers of these diets are seen throughout the food supply chain, within the food environment, and in the political economy that shapes trade, public expenditure and investment policies. Tackling these cost drivers will require large transformations in food systems with no one-size-fits-all solution and different trade-offs and synergies for countries. è Countries will need a rebalancing of agricultural policies and incentives towards more nutrition-sensitive investment and policy actions all along the food supply chain to reduce food losses and enhance efficiencies at all stages. Nutrition-sensitive social protection policies will also be central for them to increase the purchasing power and affordability of healthy diets of the most vulnerable populations. Policies that more generally foster behavioral change towards healthy diets will also be needed.
We can still succeed, but only by ensuring all people’s access not only to food, but to nutritious foods that make up a healthy diet. With this report, all five agencies are sending a strong message: A key reason why millions of people around the world suffer from hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition is because they cannot afford the cost of healthy diets. Costly and unaffordable healthy diets are associated with increasing food insecurity and all forms of malnutrition, including stunting, wasting, overweight and obesity. Food supply disruptions and the lack of income due to the loss of livelihoods and remittances as a result of COVID-19 means that households across the globe are facing increased difficulties to access nutritious foods and are only making it even more difficult for the poorer and vulnerable populations to have access to healthy diets.
It is unacceptable that, in a world that produces enough food to feed its entire population, more than 1.5 billion people cannot afford a diet that meets the required levels of essential nutrients and over 3 billion people cannot even afford the cheapest healthy diet. People without access to healthy diets live in all regions of the world; thus, we are facing a global problem that affects us all. It is clear that the adoption of healthy diets that include sustainability considerations can significantly reduce these hidden costs, generating important synergies with other SDGs.
Where there is conflict, there is hunger. And where there is hunger, there is often conflict. Today is a reminder that food security, peace and stability go together. Without peace, we cannot achieve our global goal of zero hunger; and while there is hunger, we will never have a peaceful world.
Where there is conflict, there is hunger. And where there is hunger, there is often conflict. Today is a reminder that food security, peace and stability go together. Without peace, we cannot achieve our global goal of zero hunger; and while there is hunger, we will never have a peaceful world.
There are millions of amazing recipes available online, but at this time of year – who’s got time to scroll the internet looking for them. These are our recommendations for a compassionate and delicious Christmas lunch.
Cooking spray, for pan
2 c. canned chickpeas
2 1/2 tbsp.
1 1/2 tbsp.
1 clove garlic, minced
red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
To make this dish vegan, omit the blue cheese and substitute soy milk for the Greek yoghurt and egg glaze.
2 1/2 lb.
coriander seeds, crushed
fresh cilantro leaves
clove garlic, finely chopped
chopped fresh rosemary
roasted almonds, roughly chopped
flat leaf parsley, chopped
5 small sweet potatoes
1 1/2 c. chopped pecans
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. roughly chopped fresh rosemary
3 tbsp. pure maple syrup
extra large head escarole (about 2 lbs), halved lengthwise
cloves garlic, thinly sliced
Coconut Cream Peppermint Frosting
Notes: Keep extra cream refrigerated for up to 5 days. If you will be serving the donuts at a later time, keep frosted donuts refrigerated and wait to sprinkle with peppermint candy or else the candy will bleed. The donuts alone freeze extremely well.
FOR THE CRUST
1 1/2 c.
old fashioned oats
packed brown sugar
coconut oil, melted and cooled
FOR THE FILLING
(15-oz.) can pumpkin puree
packed brown sugar
pure vanilla extract
FOR THE TOPPING
(13.5-oz.) can full fat coconut cream, refrigerated overnight (Taste Of Thai works best)
Pinch kosher salt
Recipes collected by Mina Obradovic, Vegan Activist.
So, does being a Jain mean that you have to be a vegetarian? If we look at Jainism through the lens of Ahimsa, then, perhaps, yes.
Ahimsa and Jainism are two sides of one coin – the whole essence of Jainism is in Ahimsa. However, it should not be treated as solely a spiritual or religious concept – it is the very foundation of Humanity.
All religion advocates ‘compassion to all beings’, it’s just that Jainism has made it a central tenet, through ahimsa and vegetarianism.
Lord Mahavira gave five vrats:
But, he said, ‘Ahimsa Parmo Dharma’(Ahimsa is the supreme religion). Why did he say so? Because ahimsa is the only medicine which can cure all problems of any society and nation.
As human beings, it is ideal that we possess virtues or good sanskar like love, patience, calmness, honesty, generosity, etc –but without Ahimsa, all these virtues will not have their desired impact on society and maintain peace and harmony for all.
It is a very exhaustive term and difficult to define it in a few words. It is defined as the principle of live and let live. Or, to follow the principle of minimal harm and principle of ‘inter-dependence’. However, it can simply be described as:
‘ We all need to accept the fact that there are other humans and other living beings who also want to live, who also feel pain and who also want happiness’.
In a nutshell, Ahimsa = live and let live. Or, to follow the principle of minimal harm and principle of ‘inter-dependence’.
Jains believe that all living things contain a soul and should not be harmed.
The Jain philosophy, therefore, aims to cause as little harm a possible to living things – so the diet restricts food items like meat, fish, poultry and eggs. However, plants do not have a sensory nervous system like other living beings – which is why plant life does not feel pain and can be consumed.
Dairy products are permissible in the Jain diet, provided they are procured and prepared as per religious guidelines. A cow can be milked only after her calf has suckled.
The philosophy of Ahimsa must extend to what is on the plate as well.
Today, in the Jain community, Ahimsa is misunderstood as only “Jivdaya,” or compassion towards animals. Even this is restricted to mainly ‘helping animal shelter houses’ (Panjrapole) or saving some animals from going to the slaughterhouse.
When India is one of the top exporters of beef in the world, Jains need to introspect and change the way they think about Jivdaya. They need to analyse the reasons for the increase in the number of animals slaughtered in India and around the world.
Ahimsa is the core philosophy of Jainism
Gone are the days when animals were limited in numbers, milk was not a business and animals were family members. Today, animals are treated as ‘machines’ and animal breeding is an ‘industry’. There is no doubt that meat, milk and leather are three businesses which are growing on each other’s support, and that of the consumer. Jains need to pause, understand the harsh reality and drastically cut down on their consumption of dairy products and stop the use of leather.
Why are some people in the Jain community not able to accept or see the reality? There are a few possible reasons behind this:
What should be done to educate Jains on true meaning of Ahimsa ?
Jains need to wake up and once again be the torch-bearers to spread the light of Ahimsa in this world.
Article and image source: veganfirst.com
Yoga off the mat means actualizing our Yoga practice into a life with awareness, filled with love, selflessness, compassion, surrender and higher purpose.
This is best expressed by the famous slogan of Sathya Sai Baba: ‘My life is my message’. As per the subtle but unmistakable energy laws, preaching something one doesn’t live eventually leads to imbalance and illness. That is why true yogis and Yoga instructors by default, become the living ambassadors of a yogic lifestyle – and this is definitely much more than one’s practice on a Yoga mat.
Yoga off the mat is not equal to yoga postures off the mat. Down-dogging in tight or transparent pants in the effort of seductive attention-seeking is not yoga. Similarly, yogic lifestyle does not include any degree of ‘holier than thou’ attitude rooted in spiritual ego. Yoga is all about being natural, a steady effort of embracing and living our highest version and our highest potential. The number of complex Yoga asanas one can conquer does not reflect the depth of yoga. The way in which we live our life, the energy we radiate, the beauty of our relationships and our ability to snap out of the negative states of mind much faster than before (braving the blockages within through awareness and the ever-active inner witness), are the true signs of a sincere and deep yoga practice.
Moreover, the inner balance, alignment, lightness and fullness that true yoga practice brings inevitably include non-violence. When awareness is applied to postures, movement and breath, we become real practitioners; when awareness is applied to our food choices, we become vegan.
This text is my small contribution to a natural and inevitable link between yoga, ahimsa (non-violence, one of the critical yamas of the yogic sage Patanjali) and social service (Karma Yoga, an active expression of love and unity consciousness) which I embrace, live and breathe.
Given the fast approaching International Day of Yoga (IDY) on 21 June, I would like to start with a historical description of yoga by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, who firmly placed yoga onto the international stage in 2015 by initiating the world-wide celebration of IDY:
“Yoga is an invaluable gift of India’s ancient tradition. It embodies the unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfilment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help in wellbeing. Let us work towards adopting this on International Yoga Day.”
By living the five precepts of social conduct (yamas), one of the eight limbs of yoga defined by Patanjali almost 3000 years ago in his famous Yoga Sutras —non-violence, non-lying, non-stealing, non-excess and non-possessiveness—one gains a clear compass of universal morality. By following these precepts, and by expanding one’s individual practice to include the remaining seven limbs of yoga (niyama, asana, pranayama, dharana, dhyana and, ultimately, the state of samadhi), one can achieve actual yogic presence in his/her daily life.
Non-violence (ahimsa) stands out as the number one precept among the yamas because violence and yoga morally and experientially stand in direct opposition to each other.
There are different dimensions to ahimsa – from eliminating physical violence at the level of thought, word and action, absence of any self-shaming/emotional hate, to no killing and no harming of any sentient being – in all these ways, the principle of ahimsa helps one awaken to a new level of subtlety and love. There is no compromise, no degree of violence any Yogi could ever embrace and still remain one, as non-violence creates the very base of yogic practice.
What I love about yoga the most is that yamas, the socio-moral precepts, are not some punitive measures that members of a global Yoga community are threatened by. The ancient sages who gave us the knowledge of yoga firmly placed the focus on the experiential side of yoga, which organically expands one’s awareness from within, thus making the outer shackles of dogma wholly unnecessary and redundant. There is no stick of hell in yoga, only expansion in awareness and intensity of the inner experience. Just like a fruit that naturally falls off the tree when ripe, after the direct experience of prana (the subtle life force energy) and inner fullness, a sincere Yoga practitioner can’t but become subtler, more sensitive and loving, more connected with nature.
I state this with absolute conviction: any fellow being from the animal kingdom, breathing the same air and vibrating with the same prana that connects all creation, can’t be eaten with indifference by a sincere Yoga practitioner.
When I started my Yoga practice in 2005, I had already dropped red meat and chicken, but still continued to consume seafood, eggs and dairy products. After another couple of years of practice, and especially after becoming a Yoga instructor in 2007, I finally took the plight of all animals off of my plate. That was the time when I freed myself up to truly and deeply connect with each and every animal—not as a product of the meat and dairy industry nicely served on the shelves and plates, but as a fellow being. By embracing the vegan diet, I consciously renounced the confinement, abuse, and killing of animals. In this way, I was able to disengage myself from one of the most common and grossly overlooked forms of violence on our planet – factory farming. Such cruelty cannot be supported by our food choices. This fundamental shift happened after the realization that we are indeed interconnected, that at a deeper level their suffering is my own, and that I can no longer bring myself to the necessary level of insensitivity to be able to ignore it.
Since 2007, the practice and teaching of yoga have had a profound impact on my ability to understand and enjoy life. Yoga helped me sail through some really tough challenges of life, avoiding deeper scars, while continuously cleansing deeply buried emotions and blockages. Prenatal yoga helped me a lot during pregnancy, ensuring smooth, natural delivery of my daughter Mila. Moreover, after being diagnosed with post-delivery Hypothyroidism, the daily practice of Yoga and Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand) in particular, helped me get off the Eltroxin medicine that doctors said I was doomed to take till the rest of my life. Hypothyroidism was also connected with my dissatisfaction with a career within the stifling system of the corporate world where I felt that hardly 10% of me was alive and being expressed. While some people find their place and expression in the corporate world, I am definitely not one of them. Since then, you will never see me in black and grey clothes again.
My illness disappeared entirely after the shift from a corporate lifestyle to Yoga teaching and conducting life transforming retreats took place in 2014. This shift helped me realize and embrace my uniqueness and allowed me to express myself fully. I started to really enjoy what I do. I am forever grateful to Mohanji, my husband and spiritual teacher, for encouraging me to take the plunge and leave the false comfort of my office job. With yoga, everything suddenly made a lot of sense – my postgraduate Peace studies, life challenges during the war in Former Yugoslavia, my dreams and aspirations. A whole new dimension of life flowered within me when I started teaching yoga full-time.
The blissful expressions of my students after coming out of Yoga Nidra at the end of a Yoga session are one of the most beautiful moments of my day. I invest all my love and energy into teaching Yoga through Himalayan School of Traditional Yoga (and specific other methods like Conscious Dancing, Awakening Yoga Nidra, Mai-Tri Method, etc.) and truly consider it a privilege to be in a position to serve as an instrument of this profound ancient science in the fast-paced world we live in.
I strongly feel there has never been a time when Yogic wisdom was needed more. Our lives have become so hurried, food and lifestyle habits so unhealthy and planetary energy changes on Mother Earth so great, that a practice like yoga (coupled with non-violence, feeling of unity and sense of responsibility for the wellbeing of our planet and all sentient beings), is not only needed, but vital for the inner balance, health and inner fulfillment of an individual.
Finally, while Yoga practice alone may not guarantee one’s complete spiritual awakening, it surely provides one with a solid sattvic (balanced) base for the same. Social service (Karma Yoga) is an incredibly important aspect of yogic practice and lifestyle. As the awareness expands, the cup naturally overflows and the desire to help the helpless and extend our financial support and/or offer our time, talents and loving presence in support of the needy, comes as natural. As a president of a globally active charity ACT Foundation, dedicated to selfless service beyond all man-made barriers (including the boundary of species), I bear witness to the tremendous transformation that social service blessed me with over the last eleven years.
It was with selfless service, vegan lifestyle, clarity and inspiration that I receive through Mohanji, that my yogic practice and meditation deepened manifold, enabling me to experience the divine blessing of a deep Samadhi state (the eighth limb of Yoga that Patanjali defined in his Yoga sutras) several times thus far. With the practice of yoga, I got empowered to truly live my higher purpose, as revealed to me during a near-death-experience in the year 2000. Amid an experience that the mind would find scary, I somehow left my body, started expanding in multi-point awareness. Indescribable bliss of a vibrating Light was all around me, until a point when I was sent back to my body with a message that took me time to understand it in its true multi-dimensionality: “It is not your time yet. You have not fulfilled your mission, and your mission is to serve the unity. ”
I hope this text will serve its purpose of offering clarity and inspiration to many beautiful souls on the path of awakening to the Unity that Is, to the essence of yoga as both, the path/practice and destination/the permanent state of yoga, when a drop becomes the ocean…
While celebrating the beauty of endless diversity that surrounds us, may we develop the maturity to recognize the source and living reality of our true unity. May we be blessed to live in yoga – both, on and off the mat.
Most loving Namaste,
Devi Mohan is a certified Yoga Instructor (E-RYT 200), Director and senior teacher of Himalayan School of Traditional Yoga (HSTY) and the Global President of an internationally active charity ACT Foundation. Devi has been an integral member of Mohanji Foundation, the international spiritual mission of her husband and spiritual guide Mohanji, since its formation in 2007. She represents the Foundation as its Global Ambassador at various international events.
During Devi’s search for her own self, she learnt yoga while in India in 2007. Since then, she has augmented her training through multiple special and advanced courses. Her passion for the yogic way of life led to the creation of the Himalayan School of Traditional Yoga (HSTY), of which she is the main proponent and lead teacher.
For more information about Devi Mohan please visit www.devimohan.com/about/
In our silence, we speak the loudest.
In our understanding, we hear the clearest.
In our sacrifice, actions find greatness.
The simplicity of life’s duty:
We see, we know, we realize, we act.
This is wisdom.
All else is mere book learning, mere straw.
We have realized for a long time that animals feel pain the way we do, and that they do suffer, just as we do. In the last century, the human race evolved at an accelerated pace in acknowledging, accepting and realizing the futility of war, and the suffering, destruction and total desolation that it brings (especially from the experience of the two world wars). Was this the birth of global conscience? Was it a realization that for one nation to harm another is akin to the hand striking the body that it belongs to. At the same time, awareness of other levels of suffering caused by humans, was acknowledged. The human-to-human suffering was fought and the wave of realization was beginning to dawn with the abolishment of slavery, and with the fight against discrimination. Was this the first frontier to be
crossed? Then, the latter part of that century saw a focus on the human-to-environment impact, disclosing and realizing the harmful effect of human activities and greed on the environment. Was this the second frontier? Now the third frontier awaits, or does it? When will the human race respond to the pain, to the untold suffering, to the plaintive call of the voiceless animal kingdom – the only one that
few of us have realized that feels pain and suffers, just as we do. Will that response come too late?
Here, I narrate an incident that occurred which “broke something within me”: I was at the scene after a neighbour’s dog was knocked down by a car that did not stop. As she lay on the road, kind neighbours rushed forward and carried her to the pavement, to prevent ongoing motorists from further harming the wounded animal. Her cries were soul-wrenching. They sounded as though they came from the bellows of the earth. It was enough to move me to get to her as she lay on a blanket on the ground. Her broken bones were obvious and her immense pain so “human”. I placed my hand on her and stroked her, as I had done so many times with our own pet, to calm her and to give love, and to convey the message that I understood what she was going through and that everything would be okay. But, do we really understand their pain? Are we really certain that everything will be okay for them? All this occurred as we frantically tried to locate her owners, who were not at home at the time. In that short time at her side, there was hope in me that “we”, the human race, was advanced enough and that we cared enough, to save her. The following day, my enquiry as to her condition was met with a shocking revelation that she was “put down”. My wife argued with the side of the “majority”, that it was the best thing to do to save her from further suffering. I disagreed. I had a profound realisation as I squatted by the side of the wounded animal the previous night: that the flesh and blood and collection of nerves in that physical body, was the same as in the human body. I asked my wife if she would feel the same way if it was me or one of our children lying there in pain. She honestly admitted, “I don’t know”. And I questioned, as I do now, that all the technology we have, and all the advances in science that man has made, was unable to relieve the suffering of this animal without killing it. We have reacted to animal suffering in the same barbaric way that we did a few hundred years ago: if a horse breaks its leg, then shoot it to relieve its pain. This was acceptable in the times of the wild west as portrayed in the movies. Yet, we believe that we have certainly advanced since then, particularly when it comes to understanding and responding to human suffering. Why then, is there little or no response to animal pain and suffering? Or does it not matter still? Does man’s charity and the limits of our sciences extend only to humans? Do we not have the financial resources, technology and the “heart” to
respond to and end animal suffering?
There is a need for a global conscience, now more than ever, to understand and respond to animal pain and suffering throughout the planet. The time has come to listen to that “plaintive call” and do something about it. The arguments are simple: “They feel, they suffer. We know only too well. We must respond. We must act. If we do not , who will?”
A global awareness, possibly even through a movement, to acknowledge and respond to “animal pain and suffering” and efforts to “treat” their injuries and ailments the way we do with humans. Undoubtedly, this acknowledgement animal pain and suffering and a global movement to respond thereto, must follow our own efforts, individually and collectively, to stop causing such pain and suffering to these voiceless beings. The global conscience has to grow to a movement to end the slaughter of helpless animals and promote vegetarianism and veganism, as animals are tortured cruelly to provide meat and milk and the by-products of milk. The Tirukkural succinctly declares: If one realizes that meat is nothing more than the wound of another creature, one refrains from eating it. Individuals of a clear vision abstain from the flesh of a slaughtered animal (Chap. 26).
Businesses benefit immensely from advances in the measures to relieve human suffering because it brings profit. Do we care enough to relieve animal suffering, either through technology or through making humane and non-violent choices when it comes to food? Humans and businesses have profited from animals and animal suffering for far too long. There has to be “redress” for the pain and suffering that the human race has collectively caused to the animal race. We must now make amends and seek their forgiveness for the tremendous suffering we have visited upon them. This will only be achieved by our actions in the present and in the future. Are we willing to mend our ways, to show compassion and to respond to their immense and continuing suffering? They are crying out helplessly, are you willing to hear their voice, and ARE YOU WILLING TO BE THEIRS? Are you willing to make a difference?
The Mahatma himself proclaimed: Be the change you want to see in the world. Even if you start by giving up one category of meat or avoid meat eating for just one day in the week, this would be a glorious start to your individual conscience and ultimately, in awakening a global conscience. Even if the world does not change, you would have changed and your thinking would have changed. Would this not then be the Awakening of the Global Conscience?
1. All animals should have the right to life.
2. All animals should have the right to not have pain and suffering inflicted on them by humans; either for food, humane purposes such as vivisection, or testing.
3. All animals should have the right to receive health care/treatment for illness or injury.
4. All animals should have the right to food and water and to be free from starvation.
5. All animals should have the right not to be tortured or be subjected to cruelty of any sort for any purpose.
6. All animals should have the right not to be separated from their young ones and vice versa.
7. No animals should be used for human entertainment purposes.
8. All animals should have the right to be free from fear and distress.
9. All animals should have the right to be free and they should not be confined to restricted spaces such as cages; neither should they be chained.
10. All animals should receive the love, compassion and care that they deserve.
Article by Prof K. Reddy
K.Reddy is an Associate Professor of Applied Law. Apart from lecturing, he supervises post-graduate students, and engages in research, particularly relating to the role of the law in social justice issues. His hobbies include running, hiking and canoeing. He has completed several Comrades Marathons, some of them while following a raw diet of fruit, fresh juices, nuts and salads. He follows a vegetarian/vegan diet.
Feature Image credit: https://www.insideedition.com
India is one of the world’s largest vegetarian economies… and, as people are making a conscious move towards veganism and a more sustainable lifestyle, it’s time to get disruptive and spread the message on a larger scale. The Vegan India Conference aims to be at the forefront of that change.
Vegan First and the World Vegan Organization are proud to announce the launch edition of the Vegan India Conference. The conference will bring together industry experts, scientists, business owners and change-makers in the vegan world.
July 6th and 7th, the Suryaa Hotel, New Delhi
The VIC is the largest vegan B2B networking event in the country and aims to bridge the gap between consumers, activists, brands and innovators. How? With in-depth panel discussions, inspiring talks, film screenings and plenary sessions. The second day of the event is dedicated to classroom-style workshops with global mentors and experts.
Learn from the experts on topics ranging from branding, investment and supply chain management to health, activism, advocacy, and creating powerful media for social change.
Speakers and mentors include:
In partnership with the Vegan India Expo, VIC will focus on raising awareness about veganism and fostering the vegan ecosystem in India. It offers brands, organizations and attendees B2B and B2C networking opportunities, outreach opportunities, a chance to interact with vegans and the vegan-curious directly, as well as a platform to showcase products and services.
The conference promises a concentrated gathering of local and international visitors including:
Also in attendance: activists and students, media personalities, scientists, doctors and more!
Get a chance to:
Entry is at cost price. Attendees also get a chance to visit the Vegan India Expo on the 7th.
Your ticket covers:
Don’t miss this chance to be part of the biggest event the Indian vegan community has seen – REGISTER TODAY!
Article source: veganfirst.com