Category Archives: Animal Rights

Sea Turtle with Straw up its Nostril – “NO” TO PLASTIC STRAWS


BISHNOI – The environment and wildlife defender activist community of India (since centuries)

Source : and Wikipedia

Bishnoi (also known as Vishnoi and Prahladapanthi) is a Hindu religious sect found in the Western Thar Desert and northern states of India. They follow a set of 29 principles/commandments given by Guru Jambheshwar (1451-1536). Jambheshwar founded the sect at Samrathal Dhora in 1485 and his teachings, comprising 120 shabads, are known as Shabadwani. He preached for the next 51 years, travelling across India.

The Bishnoi community of Rajasthan state of India has been in limelight ever since the case against Bollywood actor Salman Khan for poaching the blackbuck (also known as “black deer” by locals) started. Bishnois are known for their devout religious commitment to protect environment and wildlife, many times even laying their lives for the cause.

Here’s some more information about the incredible community:

Bishnoi sect was founded by Guru Jambheshwar (1451-1536), also known as Jambhaji. Some writers have used the term Vishnoi, meaning followers of  Lord Vishnu but sect members refer to themselves as Bishnoi. Jambheshwar himself did not refer to Bishnoi but does mention Vishnu. Adherents are also known as Prahladapanthi because of their devotion to Prahlada, another Hindu deity.

Jambheshwar announced a set of 29 tenets. These were contained in a document called Shabadwani, written in the Nagri script, which consists of 120 shabads. Of his 29 tenets, ten are directed towards personal hygiene and maintaining good basic health, seven for healthy social behaviour, and four tenets to the worship of God. Eight tenets have been prescribed to preserve bio-diversity – although most adherents are unaware of that, or such things as global warming, as a concept – and encourage good animal husbandry. These include a ban on killing animals and felling green trees, and providing protection to all life forms. The community is also directed to see that the firewood they use is devoid of small insects. Wearing blue clothes is prohibited because the dye for colouring them is obtained by cutting a large quantity of shrubs.

The Bishnoi have various temples, of which they consider the most holy to be that in the village of Mukam in Nokha tehsil, Bikaner district, Rajasthan. It is there that a shrine to Jambheshwar exists.

The Bishnoi narrate the story of Amrita Devi, a member of the sect who inspired as many as 362 other Bishnois to go to their deaths in protest of the cutting down of Khejri trees in September 1730. The maharaja of Jodhpur, Abhay Singh, requiring wood for the construction of a new palace, sent soldiers to cut trees in the village of Khejarli, which was called Jehnad at that time. Noticing their actions, Devi hugged a tree in an attempt to stop them. Her family then adopted the same strategy, as did other local people when the news spread. She told the soldiers that she considered their actions to be an insult to her faith and that she was prepared to die to save the trees. The soldiers did indeed kill her and others until Abhay Singh was informed of what was going on and intervened to stop the massacre.

Some of the 363 Bishnois who were killed protecting the trees were buried in Khejarli, where a simple grave with four pillars was erected. Every year, in September, the Bishnois assemble there to commemorate the sacrifice made by their people to preserve their faith and religion.

The 29 tenets of Bishnois state:

  1. Observe 30 days’ state of ritual impurity after child’s birth and keep mother and child away from household activities.
  2. Observe 5 days’ segregation while a woman is in her menses.
  3. Take bath daily in the morning before Sunrising.
  4. Obey the ideal rules of life: Modesty, Patience or satisfactions, cleanliness.
  5. Pray two times everyday (morning and evening).
  6. Eulogise God, Vishnu, in evening hours (Aarti)
  7. Perform Yajna (Havan) with the feelings of welfare devotion and love.
  8. Use filtered water, milk and cleaned firewood.
  9. Speak pure words in all sincerity.
  10. Practice forgiveness from heart.
  11. Be merciful by heart.
  12. Do not steal or keep any intention to do it.
  13. Do not condemn or criticize.
  14. Do not lie.
  15. Do not indulge in dispute/debate.
  16. Fast on Amavasya.
  17. Worship and recite Lord Vishnu in adoration
  18. Have merciful on all living beings and love them.
  19. Do not cut green trees, save the environment.
  20. Crush lust, anger, greed and attachment.
  21. Cook your food by yourself.
  22. Provide shelters for abandoned animals to avoid them from being slaughtered in abattoirs.
  23. Do not sterilise bull.
  24. Do not use or trade opium.
  25. Do not smoke or use tobacco or its products.
  26. Do not take bhang or hemp.
  27. Do not drink alcohol/liquor.
  28. Do not eat meat, always remain pure vegetarian.
  29. Don’t use violet blue colour extracted from the indigo plant.

“उणतीस धर्म की आंकड़ी, हृदय धरियो जोय। जाम्भोजी जी कृपा करी नाम विश्नोई होय ।”

“If you daily follow these 29 rules of Bishnois in your daily life then I assure you that you will live a joyful and happy life.”

बिश्नोई के 29 नियम साधारण भाव के साथ :-

1.  प्रतिदिन प्रात:काल स्नान करना।
2.  30 दिन जनन – सूतक मानना।
3.  5 दिन रजस्वता स्री को गृह कार्यों से मुक्त रखना।
4.  शील का पालन करना।
5. संतोष का धारण करना।
6.  बाहरी एवं आन्तरिक शुद्धता एवं पवित्रता को बनाये रखना।
7. तीन समय संध्या उपासना करना।
8. संध्या के समय आरती करना एवं ईश्वर के गुणों के बारे में चिंतन करना।
9. निष्ठा एवं प्रेमपूर्वक हवन करना।
10. पानी, ईंधन व दूध को छान-बीन कर प्रयोग में लेना।
11. वाणी का संयम करना।
12. दया एवं क्षमाको धारण करना।
13. चोरी, 14. निंदा, 15. झूठ तथा 16. वाद – विवाद का त्याग करना।
17. अमावश्या के दिनव्रत करना।
18. विष्णु का भजन करना।
19.  जीवों के प्रति दया का भाव रखना।
20. हरा वृक्ष नहीं कटवाना।
21. काम, क्रोध, मोह एवं लोभ का नाश करना।
22. रसोई अपने हाध से बनाना।
23. परोपकारी पशुओं की रक्षा करना।
24. अमल नहीं खाना
25. तम्बाकू नहीं खाना
26. भांग नहीं खाना
27. मद्य तथा नहीं खाना
28. नील का त्याग करना।
29. बैल को बधिया नहीं करवाना।

29 नियम श्लोक रूप में :-

तीस दिन सूतक, पांच ऋतुवन्ती न्यारो।
 सेरो करो स्नान, शील सन्तोष शुचि प्यारो॥
 द्विकाल सन्ध्या करो, सांझ आरती गुण गावो॥
 होम हित चित्त प्रीत सूं होय, बास बैकुण्ठे पावो॥
 पाणी बाणी ईन्धणी दूध, इतना लीजै छाण।
 क्षमा दया हृदय धरो, गुरू बतायो जाण॥
 चोरी निन्दा झूठ बरजियो, वाद न करणों कोय।
 अमावस्या व्रत राखणों, भजन विष्णु बतायो जोय॥
 जीव दया पालणी, रूंख लीला नहिं घावै।
 अजर जरै जीवत मरै, वे वास बैकुण्ठा पावै॥
 करै रसोई हाथ सूं, आन सूं पला न लावै।
 अमर रखावै थाट, बैल बधिया न करवौ॥
 अमल तमाखू भांग मांस, मद्य सूं दूर ही भागै।
 लील न लावै अंग, देखते दूर ही त्यागे॥
“उन्नतीस धर्म की आखड़ी, हिरदै धरियो जोय।
जाम्भे जी किरपा करी, नाम बिष्नोई होय॥”
Guru Jambheshwar

Please sign this petition… humble request with folded hands


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Dark and dairy: The sorry tale of the milch animals

Source : The Hindu

Beef and milk are two sides of the same coin, especially in India where cattle and buffaloes are farmed primarily for milk.

India has been making national and international headlines for its soaring beef exports.

However, while there is ambivalence about India’s place in the beef market, there is more or less unquestioned pride about the nation’s status as the world’s largest producer of milk. We have riots over rumours of cow slaughter. But the consumption of milk and milk products is a near-universal habit in India, probably more so among vegetarians than others. We revere cows as mothers because we use their milk. But if our dairy practices are any indication, we don’t treat our mothers well.

It’s clear that meat comes from slaughtered animals. It’s less obvious that dairy production is as traumatic and lethal to animals. Beef and milk are two sides of the same coin, especially in India where cattle and buffaloes are farmed primarily for milk. There are no ‘beef’ animals in India. Yet, bovine meat constitutes 62 per cent of India’s total meat production. Beef, in India, is sourced from the dairy industry, which is economically sustainable only because it is supported by the meat and meat by-products industries (such as leather). Therefore, if we care about cattle, we should first look into the lives of milch animals.

The dairy system inflicts suffering at every stage, starting with the calving process, for milk comes from a cow or a buffalo that has calved recently. For dairy farming to be financially viable, animals are made to calve at least once a year (for cows) and once in 15 months (for buffaloes). Calves, male and female, are separated or significantly restricted from accessing their mothers three to four days after birth. This separation is traumatic for both mother and calf, but leads to a 15-30 per cent increase in milk availability for humans. Following separation, calves are mainly fed on milk substitutes and are allowed only limited suckling. The mother’s milk is instead diverted for human consumption.

Most male calves are either sent for slaughter or let loose to starve. A limited number are used for breeding. Some are used as draught animals where they are subject to castration without anaesthesia, nose-roping, whipping and hard labour until they are old and weak. At that point, they are sent for slaughter or abandoned. The economic undesirability of male cattle is evident in the gender imbalance — 64.42 per cent female and 35.57 per cent male in cattle, and 85.18 per cent female and 14.8 per cent male in buffalo. The slaughter of male calves — whether intentional or incidental — is integral to milk production.

Healthy females are kept alive for use in the dairy industry, which means a repeated cycle of impregnation, separation, painful milking, oxytocin shots and mastitis. To keep dairy animals productive, animal husbandry manuals recommend re-impregnation around 60 days after calving — a longer calving interval is uneconomical and a shorter interval reduces milk production.

Impregnation is increasingly being carried out through artificial insemination. India’s National Dairy Plan aims to use artificial insemination on at least 35 per cent of all fertile animals by the end of 2017. Artificial insemination involves extracting semen from selected bulls and forcibly placing it in restrained cows. This technology is popular because it is efficient, allows for selective breeding of high-yielding animals and reduces the need for males.

Dairy farming involves the killing of unproductive, infertile and ‘spent’ cows and buffaloes. Milk production starts to decline after three to four lactations (pregnancies). At this stage, cows and buffaloes are sold for slaughter through middlemen, or to a smaller farmer who will use them for an additional two to three lactations before selling them for slaughter or abandoning them. An infertile or unproductive animal shares the same fate, only much earlier. India’s world-beating output of 132.4 million tonnes of milk in 2012-13 would not have been possible if cattle and buffalo were taken care of for the entirety of their natural life-spans.

Dairy cattle have a terrible choice: life can be nasty, brutish and short, if you are male; or nasty, brutish and longer, if you are female. Beef is an inevitable consequence of dairy. The data bear out this hypothesis. Figures provided by the National Dairy Development Board show that the monetary value of milk production almost tripled between 2004-05 and 2011-12. So did the monetary value of beef production. There was a 98.6 per cent match between milk and beef production over this period.

Both qualitatively and quantitatively, a milch cow or buffalo has a worse life than an animal bred solely for meat. Why, then, do we believe dairy to be better than beef?

Part of the explanation lies in psychology. Meat is obviously linked to the death of a fellow- creature. The impacts of dairy are easily veiled in narratives about ‘surplus milk’ and the Indian veneration of the cow. Of course, buffaloes that provide more than half the milk we consume as a nation don’t figure in these debates.

Neither do the environmental consequences of dairy farming, whether pollution caused by runoffs, greenhouse gas emissions, or high water footprints.

Ultimately, Indian vegetarianism is about us rather than the vulnerable creatures we claim to care for. We may prefer to turn our eyes away from the connection between our individual acts of drinking our filter coffee or morning chai, and the cow or buffalo that produced the milk.

The logic, however, is clear: drinking milk causes as much suffering as eating meat, if not more. Indeed, milk involves more cruelty than meat does.

First You Eat Meat, Then Meat Eats You: Maneka Gandhi

Source : NDTV

The women and child development minister was speaking at the launch of a film ‘The Evidence-Meat Kills’, directed by Mayank Jain, that scientifically explores the effects of meat consumption on human body.

Maneka Gandhi said that studies have shown that meat is bad for human body.

NEW DELHI:  Union Minister Maneka Gandhi today made a pitch for vegetarianism, saying humans are natural vegetarians and meat consumption harms them.

The women and child development minister was speaking at the launch of a film ‘The Evidence-Meat Kills’, directed by Mayank Jain, that scientifically explores the effects of meat consumption on human body.

Studies done over the last three decades have shown, with empirical data, that meat is bad for human body, Maneka said.

“Everything about every part and organ of the human body is vegetarian. When we put an alien substance like meat into the human body, we become prone to diseases,” she said.

“If you do this on a daily basis,” she added, “Your body will weaken. You will not die of eating meat, but it will certainly weaken your body, making it more vulnerable to diseases.”

Maneka emphasised, more than once, that the purpose of making or promoting the film was not to persuade people to give up eating meat, but to make them aware of its pros and cons and help make an informed choice.

“All in all, first you eat meat, then meat eats you,” she quipped, during the programme at the Press club.

She said the movie has been made by the doctors so that people make an informed choice.

The Union minister also lamented that dietetics — the study of diet and its effects on health — was not given due time or attention during medical education.

“I feel that in the 5-6 years during which they teach you to become a doctor, they teach you dietetics for not more than one or two hours. What I feel is, if you do not teach them about food and their effect on the body, then what is the point of teaching them about the medicines?” she said.

Dr Ramesh Bijlani, former HoD, Department of Physiology, AIIMS, who features in the film — along with a few other doctors — lends a professional voice to Maneka’s assertions.

“Use of antibiotics and hormones has become almost routine in not only poultry but also in the meat industry in general, and the types of antibiotics that are used are very often those which are not fit for human consumption. They are not approved for human use but these are given to these animals, but indirectly, the same antibiotics get into human beings when we consume meat,” he says at one point during the movie.

The film goes on to examine the health of butchers who are exposed to an overdose of violence in slaughterhouses.