Ahimsa and Veganism - Rejoinder to Observations by Prof. Francione on my Comments

Published: 23.03.2009
Updated: 19.06.2011

Ref: Observations by Prof. Francione

N.L.  Kachhara

Domestication of animals is a wider issue and is connected with survival of human race. The food needs of human beings before first Tirthankara Rishabhdeva were met from trees and the entire human race was then vegetarian, rather vegan. When supply of food from trees fell short of requirement king Rishabhdeva taught the art of agriculture and the related skills like trading and literacy for accounting. Animals, particularly bullocks, were used for agriculture. Cows were domesticated primarily for agricultural needs. Milking of cows was a secondary function, which was a natural follow up choice. Domestication of other animals also was primarily for meeting the needs of agriculture and transport of agriculture produce. Use of animals for defense followed. Use of cows exclusively for dairy products is comparatively a recent phenomenon.

In a joint family system every member gives and receives his/her share; everyone has a duty and responsibility to perform and contributes to family needs according to capacity and capability. The sense of service to others is given more importance over the gain made by an individual member. In the agriculture based society, which is still predominant in India, and all other developing countries, the concept of family is extended to include animals, where animals also have to contribute and receive food and care as members of the family. The idea of exploitation is not relevant in such a system. This is why Tirthankaras (Muni) accepted milk puddings. Exploitation and cruelty is outcome of greed that entered into the system subsequently. The greedy people started the practice of exploitation of animals and cruelty took place of compassion; a situation that is wide spread today.

With the advent of mechanized farming the animals are no more needed for agriculture and are raised primarily for dairy products and meat in the developed countries. The attraction of greed has given rise to many ingenious ways to exploit animals, like feeding flesh to cows, mechanized slaughtering, killing and torturing animals for many unnecessary habits of human beings and so on. Perhaps this kind of cruel treatment to animals is responsible for the rise of veganism in place of vegetarianism, and rightly so.

Thus it is not domestication but exploitation of animals that is objectionable. Animals in a family environment have an important role in our survival and progress and when treated with compassion and kindness do not attract the provisions of himsa. What is important is that we control our greed and understand the feelings of beings that have no voice. In a way, does veganism imply turning away from the responsibility of protecting the lives of domestic animals? The vegetarians and vegans must fight for a complete ban on killing and torturing of animals for human greed. This will be mutually beneficial to both the mankind and domestic animals.

Woolens fall in the restricted category and are not used by monks, nuns, Vrati Shravakas and many other Jains. Woolens have been traditionally considered less objectionable compared to silk and leather for reasons cited earlier. Conquering hardships, including bearing cold and heat, is a basic requirement of ascetic life. Ordinary followers of Jainism are permitted some freedom to protect themselves from cold and heat keeping in view the needs of their way of life.

Hope I have not offended anyone. If so Michhami Dukkadam.

Narayan L. Kachhara


Share this page on:
Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Ahimsa
  2. Dr. Kachhara
  3. Environment
  4. Greed
  5. Himsa
  6. Jainism
  7. Michhami Dukkadam
  8. Muni
  9. Narayan L. Kachhara
  10. Rishabhdeva
  11. Shravakas
  12. Tirthankara
  13. Tirthankaras
  14. Vegan
  15. Veganism
  16. Vegetarianism
  17. Vrati
Page statistics
This page has been viewed 2677 times.
© 1997-2020 HereNow4U, Version 4
Contact us
Social Networking

HN4U Deutsche Version
Today's Counter: