Is­lam and An­i­mal Rights

Southasia - - Editor's mail -

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

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