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Animal World: Our Co-inhabitants

Traditions of Love between Humans and Animal Co-Inhabitants

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Evidence of animals being considered as divine can be found in ancient and modern cultures and religions. According to a CNN report, researchers found the remains of chickens and brown hares from the British Iron Age in southern and southeast England, UK. They had been buried carefully, and their skeletons were fully intact. Archaeological evidence and historical accounts prove that these two animals were not raised for eating.

They were associated with gods and thus accorded special respect. Additional support can be found in Julius Caesar’s writing, “The Britons consider it contrary to divine law to eat the hare, the chicken or the goose.” Animal-honoring traditions that have survived the ages can still be found around the world today. For example, in Nepal and some parts of India, an annual festival called Kukur Tihar is held to honor the sanctity, friendship and loyalty of dogs. Eagles hold the most esteemed place in the hearts of the Native American people. They believe that eagles are the king of the sky and messengers of the Great Spirit or Creator. Therefore, they treat eagles with the utmost respect and great care.

The essence of ahimsa, a Sanskrit term from India, is non-violence and doing no harm to all beings. Based on ahimsa and the law of karma or retribution, many Buddhists, Jains and Hindus are strict vegetarians or vegans. In the Buddha’s teachings, compassion towards all living beings is essential to civilization. Hindu adherents view cows as holy. Slaughtering a cow and consuming beef is regarded as a sin. That cows shall be venerated and protected is highlighted in Hindu scriptures. Accordingly, killing cows is illegal in the majority of Indian states. As clearly stated in the Indian Constitution, “It shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the Natural Environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compassion for all living creatures.”

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