Question: What is ISKCON’s stand on animal rights and the environment?
Krishna consciousness is the most respectful philosophy of animal and environmental rights that exist in the world.
Devotees are strictly vegetarian, we do not eat meat, fish or eggs. That immediately supports animal rights, because we respect their right to live.
There is no need to kill animals for the satisfaction of our palates, as the trees and plants are bowing down with vegetables, fruit, grains and nuts for our meals.
One may ask, how is it that we are killing the plants? Harvesting does not always kill the plant – apples can be reaped in every season from the same tree.
We have to eat, so we take our meals from that kingdom from which we cause the least amount of distress and pain.
Still eating vegetables just like that means there is some reaction, therefore devotees prepare, cook and offer vegetarian meals guided by spiritual principles of cooking given in the Vedas.
Vegetarianism and a simpler lifestyle sustains the environment. The meat industry contributes largely to deforestation, desertification, water pollution, water shortages, air pollution, and soil erosion.
Half of the Amazon rain forests have been cleared for cattle ranching, 40% of the land in Western United States is used for rearing beef livestock, 50% 0f the world’s grain suitable for human consumption are fed to cattle whilst millions of humans remain starving and undernourished.
All the soybean and grain fed to US livestock in a year could feed 1.3 billion people.
Moreover, no other philosophy reveres the cow like the Vedas instruct.
The cow is regarded as the mother of mankind as she sustains all with life giving milk.
Devotees therefore protect the cow and will not even think of slaughtering her.
Calves should have the first right to any milk that a mother cow produces, and whatever is left over is available to humans.
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