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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 113

Election Manifestos must carry a commitment to protect animal welfare- ‘Justice for Animals and Nature’ organization

By Senaka Weeraratna - Founder member of ‘Justice for Animals and Nature’

All major political parties must now recognize that animal welfare is a key issue for a growing number of voters in Sri Lanka and so it’s essential that they adopt sound, evidence-based policies in their election manifestos.

In a country which takes pride in proclaiming that it has the longest uninterrupted history of Buddhism in the world and accepts fostering of Buddhism within and overseas as a fundamental duty of the State (Article 9 of the Constitution), it is sad to note that despite such national commitment to propagation and protection of Buddhism, the mainstream political parties in Sri Lanka have failed miserably unlike their counterparts abroad to mention a commitment to protect animals and repeal archaic legislation by enacting the Animal Welfare Bill, in their Election Manifestoes. Moreover, what is glaringly lacking is a pledge of a real commitment to action on such matters.

The newly formed Justice for Animals and Nature headed by Ven. Dr. Omalpe Sobhita Thero, the founder of the Sri Bodhiraja Foundation that was commenced in 1991 to ensure the wellbeing and happiness or all beings, both human and non-human, has formulated a set of objects that provides a guide for all political parties in Sri Lanka to adopt.

We need cross-party support for these animal welfare measures in our Objects such as the updating of the laws to protect animals e.g. enactment of the Animal Welfare Bill, and promotion of humanitarian education and awareness programs commencing at pre-school level, aimed at securing animal rights, protection and welfare.

The objects of the ‘Justice for Animals and Nature’ organization are as follows:

i. To strive for Freedom and Justice for Animals, and creation of a Just Society.

ii. To rebuild an animal-friendly cultural heritage in Sri Lanka, by fostering and caring for the well - being of animals.

iii. To campaign for reform of the Constitution and updating of the laws to protect animals, nature, and heritage, commensurate with modern standards of care and treatment, and engage in legal advocacy and public litigation.

iv. To liaise and support other organizations within or outside Sri Lanka engaged in the promotion and protection of fauna, flora, and nature.

v. To promote humanitarian education and awareness programs commencing at the pre-school level, aimed at securing animal rights, protection, and welfare.

vi. To work towards ending cruelty to animals and the use of animals in entertainment, zoos, slavery, sports, races, experiments, and religious activities including ritual animal sacrifice(s).

vii. To promote plant-based food production and consumption, and propagate the benefits of Vegetarianism and Veganism.

viii. To call for a ban on the export of live animals from Sri Lanka for slaughter, entertainment and as gifts to other countries, and export of meat products and seafood from Sri Lanka.

ix. To encourage the public to not earn a living by rearing animals for slaughter or killing animals, including invertebrates such as crustaceans, and to call for a ban on slaughter of cattle and other animals.

x. To create awareness on environmental pollution and environmental degradation, and their injurious effects on human health, climate change and biodiversity, and campaign against all such forms of pollution, including noise pollution.

xi. To advocate the preservation of remains of prehistoric and historic cultures and heritage, archaeological areas, residual forests and natural habitats of non – human living creatures, elephant corridors, and engagement in sustainable development.

xii. To promote ‘Ahimsa’ as a cardinal tenet pervading all activities.

- Asian Tribune -

Election Manifestos must carry a commitment to protect animal welfare- ‘Justice for Animals and Nature’ organization
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