MUMBAI – Animal welfare was the topic of discussion and the XIV Dalai Lama emphasized the ideals of ahimsa and vegetarianism at the first-ever World Compassion Day, held in Mumbai, India on Wednesday, November 29.
According to the Hindustan Times, the forum was hosted by the Humane Society International (HSI), which is the international branch of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and Pritish Nandy Communications (PNC).
“World Compassion Day is an idea we have had for a while. The objective is to rediscover the relevance of ahimsa. We want to revive the idea of compassion not just as do-good gestures but also as an initiative to create an alternate lifestyle,” said Pritish Nandy, founder and CEO of PNC.
While the Dalai Lama himself is not a vegetarian for health reasons, he recalled an incident that made him a vegetarian for a several decades. As a young man, he visited a factory farm where he saw chickens being kept in too-small cages and undergoing other abuses. He advocated the need for awareness regarding respect for life and vegetarianism.
“The media must play an important role, and even the younger generation must be informed about moral ethics through education,” he said.
Other guests at the event included actors Anil and Sonam Kapoor, writer Chetan Bhagat, and police commissioner Satyapal Singh.
Anil Kapoor stated that impending food shortages and water shortages are a major issue facing society, but these can only be fixed when we remedy our shortage of compassion.
Wayne Pacelle, chariman of the HSUS, claimed that the closest relationships people usually have with animals are when they eat them He also noted that India consumes the least meat of anywhere in the world.
“Indians consume less meat than many countries. While the meat consumption in India is three to four kgs per person per year, that in the United States is as high as 100-110 kgs,” Pacelle said.