At present, there is a strong move to ban cattle slaughter, especially in accordance with the religious beliefs. This matter has to be analysed, taking into consideration the nation as a whole.
In Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic and mutli- religious country. There are Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Muslims. Christians and Muslims and a quite a few Buddhists and Hindus are non-vegetarian. This is due to the cultures of different segments of the people, eating patterns, personal preferences for food and health reasons. Therefore, it is not correct to object to habit one is inured to - particularly, an eating pattern.
To consider cattle slaughter only as taking of life is hypocritical. One must accept that goat, sheep, lamb, chicken, fish, prawns, crabs etc. also undergo much pain when they are killed.
Fish suffocate when it is put out of water. Crabs are immersed in hot water and prawns are rendered blind to fatten. So is it acceptable that banning only cattle slaughter is justified?
Cattle slaughter and fishing are sources of livelihood for those engaged in those trades. It is also income-generating by way of fish export. If the entire country becomes vegetarians and vegans, the price of vegetables will sky rocket.
If cattle slaughter is banned, the usage of leather products also should be banned. We will be compelled to use other alternatives such as plastic, the usage of which has been widely condemned the world over. Take plastic bags, for instance.
In view of the above, a national policy should be formulated in respect of cattle slaughter such as using humane methods of slaughter as in the West. Allopathic doctors, whom we adore, are for nourishment and convalescence through beef products, mutton or chicken or their extracts.
Consider if such a ban comes into effect, will we have to feed the carnivores in our zoos with vegetables.
Come on man! Put on your thinking cap.
S. R. Balachandran