Islam and Animal Rights
Islam is a religion of mercy and kindness. It teaches humanity to be kind and treat all living beings well. ‘Islam and Animal Rights’ by Maneka Gandhi was a good read. As she rightly pointed out, almost every bird-seller, poacher, dog breeder, horse-cart puller and butcher of animals turns out to be a Muslim in India. Perhaps this has more to do with the socio-economic demographics here and less with the interpretation of religion. No religion on earth sanctifies cruelty to animals. But unlike the teachings, the followers pay very less attention and hold on to age-old beliefs against animals. Like Islam, Hinduism also stresses on animal welfare and urges its followers to hold no grudge against these sentient beings. However, very little is followed in practicality. So while we have fellow Hindus who worship the sacred cow and Lord Ganesh in India, they may be equally harsh towards stray dogs and pet birds. In our societies, I believe it is culture that defines our treatment to animals and not religion. Had that been the case, we would have had an equally good record as that of the West when it comes to animal welfare.
Sabreena Khan, Bangalore, India