Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Right to eat meat

Right to eat meat is a natural right. It is implicit in the Fundamental Rights of life and liberty, religion, profession and equality. It is not right to demand and enforce ban on meat.
There is no compulsion to eat meat. There are vegetarians of different types who want to impose their views on others. Sometimes it is for religious reasons which amounts to imposing one’s religious practice on others.
India is a multi-religious country. When people of one religion demand that they should be respected and others should abstain from meat it leads to anger, resentment and hostility.
Beef, chicken, mutton and pork are eaten in many parts of the world. In India in some states beef is banned. After beef ban in Maharashtra prices of chicken, mutton and pork went up.
Sometimes people have gone to court against meat bans. When judges were vegetarians they did not succeed.
There are people who generally eat meat during the year but abstain during a season or on particular days. Different religions have different days of abstinence.
Some abstain from meat, fish and eggs. Jains abstain from meat, fish, eggs, onions, garlic, potatoes, ginger, carrot, other root vegetables and honey. Jains wanting to have meat ban for eight days during Paryushan this year led to hostile reaction. BJP was in favour of ban. Shiv Sena, MNS, Congress, NCP and MIM opposed ban. For once, Shiv Sena and MIM were on the same side. One member of Shiv Sena said it is violence in the name of non-violence. Another member of Shiv Sena said it is religious terrorism. Shiv Sena’s newspaper editorial warned Jains their wealth can turn to ash within minutes. BJP was accused of minority appeasement.
For Buddhists killing of animals is forbidden, eating meat is not forbidden.
For Jews and Muslims pork is forbidden.
For Christians laws differ according to the Church. Canon Law for Latin Rite forbids eating meat on Fridays but empowers Bishops’ Conferences to prescribe other measures. In place of abstinence other forms of penance or works of charity can be substituted. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of abstinence. Many Christians abstain from meat on Fridays and during Lent.
Vegans abstain from meat, fish, eggs, milk, butter, cheese, cream, yoghurt, ghee, and whey.
A day of fast for one can be a day of feast for another. It is not possible to please everyone and no effort should be made to please anyone and ban meat. Life will be impossible if everything someone or the other does not like is banned.
There should be no ban on sale or eating of meat on any day. Abattoirs should not be closed to please someone’s religious sentiments. Ban on beef should be lifted. For some meat ban means loss of work and income.

Updated: September 24, 2015 — 7:35 am

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