Religion & animals

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1996:

A Sarajevan mob for reasons
unknown assaulted a Hare Krishna street
procession on April 20, injuring two members
from Britain, one from Australia, and a
young Bosnian recruit. “The clash was unexpected,”
reported Reuter. “The Hare Krishna
movement was very active in Sarajevo
throughout the war, performing their dance
and songs in the city streets even during the
worst of the shelling and winning sympathy
for their courage from the beseiged residents.”
In Sarajevo, Grozny, and other
wartorn cities behind the former Iron Curtain,
Hare Krishnas are also known for their bakeries
and vegetarian soup kitchens. “There
may be places in the world where simply seeing
a bunch of Hare Krishna members would
make people turn tail and run. But Grozny
isn’t one of them,” New York Times correspondent
Michael Specter recently reported.


“Here they have a reputation like the one
Mother Teresa has in Calcutta: it’s not hard
finding people who swear they are saints.
Each day they serve more than 1,000 hot
meals, as many as any organization in the
city. There are no temples here, or meetings
to discuss the International Society for
Krishna Consciousness. There is just the rule
that the members of the sect must live by: no
people within 10 miles of their residence
should go hungry.”
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad
pledged on March 28 to make an Indian
general election issue of cow slaughter in
response to the global “mad cow disease”
s c a r e. VHP general secretary Acharaya
Giriraj Kishore said the scare demonstrates
the truth of Hindu teachings against cow
slaughter, which in New Delhi is a crime
punishable by up to five years in jail. Media
around the world then soberly reported––on
April 1––that the World Council of Hindus
had offered to transport to India and take care
of the British herd of about 12 million cattle,
rather than have them be killed to stop the
spread of “mad cow disease.” It was a nasty
hoax, obliging Hindu leaders to explain,
more to their embarrassment than that of the
duped media, that they hadn’t made the offer
and have no means to do any such thing.
Since November 1995, Israeli soldiers
have had the right to wear nonleather
boots if they so choose for reasons of
conscience. The boots must be approved by
the Israeli Defence Force chief medical officer.
The policy was adopted on behalf of 17-
year-old Jerusalem vegans Ido Ayal and
Yishai Baklesh, at request of Knesset members
Ran Cohen and Naomi Chazan.
The decade-old “mural ministry”
maintained by Canon Neville Chamberlain
at St. John’s Episcopal Church in
Edinburgh, Scotland, shocked churchgoers
at Easter with a 10-foot-square image of a
cow crucified on meathooks. Associate rector
Michael Fuller said the mural was
inspired by “the apparently offhand way in
which people are contemplating the destruction
of large numbers of cattle. We would
much prefer to stay out of politics, but there
are some issues of considerable ethical and
moral import that the Church, however reluctantly,
is obliged to speak upon.”
“The Life Experience School is a
place where young people with life challenges
become active participants in life,”
located in Sherborn, Massachusetts, explains
the recently published first edition of the
school newsletter, Strawberry Fields. “In
1988, Mother Teresa came to visit and bless
the students and staff. Her visit prompted the
founding of the Peace Abbey,” which “provides
a spiritual environment for people who
follow the peaceful teachings of the religions
of the world.” Since Christmas Eve, it has
also been home of Emily the Cow, who,
recounts folksinger Ben Tousley, “at five
years old was being led into the Arena
Slaughterhouse in Hopkinton, when suddenly,
mysteriously, she broke free, scaled a
five-foot fence––her weight at the time was
1,400 pounds––and ran off into the nearby
woods, where she eluded hunters for 40 days
and 40 nights.” Peace Abbey staffers Lewis
and Meg Randa bought Emily from Arena for
a dollar, caught her, and explain to visitors,
as Lewis puts it, that “Emily is here to
remind us of the cruelty of using animals for
food. Veganism is the most compassionate
form of pacifism, for it takes into account the
blessedness of all God’s creatures.”
Evangelical minister J.R. Hyland,
who serves prisoners and migrant farmw
o r k e r s, has commenced a periodical,
Humane Religion, devoted to social justice
issues including vegetarianism, and has reissued
his 1988 book, The Slaughter of
Terrified Beasts: A Biblical Basis for the
Humane Treatment of Animals. “I think you
will find that Rev. Hyland brings a unique
perspective to this work,” writes Viatoris
Ministries publications manager Jean Burns.
“No excuse is offered for wrong teachings
and callous attitudes toward animals.”
Humane Religion is $18/6 issues; T h e
Slaughter of Terrified Beasts is $6.95. Both
are distributed by Viatoris: 1715 Stickney
Point Road, Suite C-8, Sarasota, FL 34231.

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