Three consecutive terms of occupying the Presidential chair of a very active and vibrant organisation - promoting vegetarianism, fighting for the alleviation of the miseries inflicted on other living creatures, and in the process trying to upgrade the human values in life - is indeed a task which the person chairing could feel very proud of.
The happiness and joy is doubled when one realises that he has carried with him the support of hundreds and thousands of like-minded people all over the globe - together promoting the cause that this organisation has stood - and stands for.
And, the enthusiasm gets tripled when one finds, further, that over those years, the impact of the work undertaken has, indeed, penetrated to a very great extent - in making the people the world over realise the truth behind the cause that this organisation is striving for.
Today, with a deep sense of introspection, I recall the speech which I had made a couple of years ago - in 1994, the last World Vegetarian Congress. At that time, I had pinpointed that the Speed and the Greed of the animal farming industry is taking humanity on a path which would soon prove self-destructive, and I stressed upon the Need for making quick amends to the folly in the path that those people were pursuing. Friends, my statements made that day could not have had a truer ring.
Over the past couple of months you will have observed the pitiable state of affairs which has pulled the bottom out of the British Beef Industry.
Decades earlier the animal farming industry in the U.K. must have thought that by feeding the wasted wealth of protein² recovered from the offals² of the other slaughtered animals to the much exported Beef-cattle, could well be the path to earn golden ducats of foreign exchange². But the consequences of doing that has proved contrary. The poor creatures are being put to death for absolutely no fault of theirs - and at the some speed` with which they were forced to increase their tribe, which, at the first instance, the animals probably never opted for.
That being so in Britain, in the USA the Food Department authorities are getting more worried over the increasing incidence of zoonotic diseases in humans through the consumption of contaminated meat. The authorities feel that by exercising stringent quality control measures, they could check such occurrences in the future.
The US President Bill Clinton, in his Broadcast over the Radio recently, mentioned that these new meat and poultry contamination safeguards will be the strongest ever , and that - parents should know when they serve a chicken dinner, they are not putting their children at risk .
The irony of the statement NOT putting their children at risk makes me wonder - From what? By serving chicken at dinner are not the children exposed to more serious diseases of overweight, coronary diseases, heart attacks, osteoporosis? - And these sufferings could well be avoided by changing to a vegetarian diet!
The Director of Food Society for the Center for Sciences in the Public Interest, a Consumer Group, is seemingly contended with Bill Clinton¹s remarks by saying - This rule is a LANDMARK in improving meat and poultry Safety .
On my part, it could have been a real landmark in the human history if Mr.Bill Clinton had taken the step to announce - parents should know that by NOT SERVING chicken or meat dinner, they are NOT putting their children at risk .
But, would anybody - who needs to rely on the monetary strength and powerful lobby of the animal farming industry - be bold enough to say that?
A few days prior to my leaving India to attend this Congress, I happened to go through a news item. It mentioned that the body of the European Union (Codex) who met to discuss food labelling and standards has approved killing of animals by Halal - a method which means slow killing of the animals, causing extreme pain, agony and cruelty and that was approved inspite of objections from countries like the U.S.A., U.K. and some more. This was just around the time when the National Alliance for Animals organised a rally in Washington - June 23, 1996, - for Animals Rights. This extremely cruel form of Slaughter approved by-¹Codex¹- has come as a great shock to me and to other animal lovers of India. Similar agony would have been felt by people all over the world. I would urge each one of you here present at this Congress to write a suitable letter to Codex, Brussels, Belgium, - expressing your anguish, and opposing slaughter by the¹Halal¹ method.
I will tell you briefly that inspite of the wide support and large subsidies provided by the governments, how these Animal Flesh Industries - poultry, cattle, aquafarms - are still beset with economic and health problems. Some of you may be aware of that, in one of their programmes- HORIZON¹ - BBC showed a documentary - titled -¹FAST LINE IN THE FOOD CHAIN¹. This documentary clearly depicted the sufferings of the poor animals - chicken, turkey, pigs, Beef-cattle, veal calves - and narrated with facts how the entire animal-flesh industry has ignored the natural cycles of these poor creatures. For example, the chickens were made to achieve a growth in just 42 days, which they would have normally done in 84 days - meaning in just about half of the time that was actually needed. The results of this was that though the animals put on enough weight by way of fat, - their heart, lungs, bones, - could not keep up with the same pace in their growth. Because of that these animals were not able to support themselves on their legs, they were gasping for breath, they were collecting all unwanted fluids in their chests and abdomen - and eventually their growth being affected, they were not able to serve any purpose at all - NOT even as food!
Apart from the harm thus inflicted on these creatures, the public at large have yet to realise the greater and more harmful impact of these animal processing industries. And the worst part of it is that we are forced to spend all our Scientific energy to find newer and newer solutions for treating the wastes thus generated by this industry - and for finding cures for the consequential diseases that befall humans, at colossal cost.
For example, all the cattle afflicted by the BSE (the madcow disease) are to be killed - but scientists are worried how to dispose of the waste - dump them in sea, incinerate them, or what? And we do not as yet know that it could even be a time bomb that could explode when our future generations are least prepared for it! Does finding solutions for such problems, not involve a colossal waste of national energy?
When the Guardian Weekly¹ in their issue dated 28th April, 1996, reported: