Tsunami & vegetarians
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2005:
KHAO LAK–Exposure to death revived the Thai tradition of
Buddhist vegetarianism, at least among tsunami relief workers, the
newspaper Matichon reported on January 12.
“After we turned to vegetarian food and lighting jos sticks
to the spirits asking for help, the job became much easier,” Khao
Lak body recovery team leader Chatchawan Suthiarun said. “
Indicating that a vegetarian soup kitchen was among the most
popular with Khao Lak refugees, Matichon quoted a tsunami survivor
as saying that the smell of death had put her off meat.
Most Thais today eat some meat, chiefly fish and poultry,
but Thailand was for centuries –like India and Sri Lanka–a
While the World Conservation Union and other environmental
organizations pointed out that logging coastal mangrove swamps to
start shrimp farms had left coastal Thailand unprotected against
tsunamis, the International Vegetarian Union noted that the shrimp
farms exist to produce meat.
“Would this not be the right time,” the International
Vegetarian Union online newsletter asked, “for bodies such as the
United Nations Food & Agricultural Organization, World Health
Organization, and European Union to draw up blueprints for a future
in which vegetarianism plays a much larger role?”
Meanwhile, announced the vegetarian service group Food For
Life on January 1, “We are serving more than 10,000 freshly cooked
vegetarian meals to tsunami victims per day, consisting of rice,
dhal, and vegetables.”
Vegetarian food was also served to tsunami victims by 11
Indian charities supported by the Sabina Fund, a subsidiary of the
Farm Animal Reform Movement, begun by founder Alex Hershaft in
memory of his mother.