SLYCAN Trust and Member of Parliament Venerable Athuraliye Rathana partook at a symposium on “Mindful Eating” organised by Humane Society International in collaboration with IOGT VIỆT NAM and GIÁO HỘI PHẬT GIÁO VIỆT NAM held at the Vietnam Buddhist Institute of Hanoi. A few of the key speakers at this event including Ven. Thero were, Khenpo Wangchuk of Bhutan, founder of Jangsem Monday in Bhutan Karma Dendup and Humane Society International – Farm Animals Asia Pacific Programme Manager Robert Lucius. The symposium was also an opportunity for Kavindu Ediriweera from SLYCAN Trust to present its recently initiated Meatless Monday campaign.
Representing Sri Lanka Ven. Athuraliye Rathana stressed on the wastage of high calorie vegetarian foods that are being used to feed genetically modified breeds that are solely for meat production. He argued that thousands of people could have been fed with the “feed” and that would also contribute towards the reduction of carbon emission by way of reducing the meat supply. Furthermore he stated that people need an attitudinal change. He explained that instilling and promoting sustainable methods of living and toxin-free agriculture concepts would help to create the required outcome of a healthy eco-system. Ven Rathana also initiated the Bill through a private member Bill in Parliament in 2009.
The symposium was also an important event for SLYCAN Trust as it was instrumental in providing more perspective towards its recently initiated Meatless Monday campaign.
“It was interesting to see how different countries worked on their meatless Monday campaigns and the approaches they were taking. Our campaign is new in Sri Lanka and this symposium would no doubt be beneficial in making it a success in the coming days,” said Kavindu Ediriweera from SLYCAN Trust.
The speakers at the event focused primarily on “Buddhism and environmental protection”, the teachings of Lord Buddha and his environmentally friendly lifestyle. They further stated that human beings must first pay gratitude to our key elements, earth, sun and universe and secondly towards everyone in society, ancestors and to the environment around us.
“Animals have no ability to have conscious thought or reason. We are people of higher intelligence. Many Western philosophers have constantly reiterated on how we should not harm animals out of moral obligations and should treat them with as much as we care humans,” said Humane Society International – Farm Animals Asia Pacific Programme Manager Robert Lucius. He went on to say that animals are not different from us it’s only the breed that differs.
The speakers went on to emphasise on the importance of using the modern technology to not destroy the present environment but in its best interest. In addition it was also stressed that there should be no room for error when it comes to the protection of environment. As modern societies we are aware of the adverse effects of deforestation and industrialisation that especially affect this side of the world.
Lucius explained how people have been misled and how they continue to be superficial about the consumption of animal products. The industrial revolution too was cited as an example that was responsible in the transformation of a system that was profit-driven negating other factors related to the industry. These include genetically modified bodies that prevent the natural behaviour of animals and injecting of chemicals prevent catching diseases until they are being slaughtered among many other mal practices.
Kavindu Ediriweera is a longstanding member of the SLYCAN and serves as the Programme Coordinator of the organization. He is a graduate in Law and is currently a Law Student at the Sri Lanka Law College studying for his Attorney-at-Law qualification.