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World Fellowship of Buddhists takes step towards promotion of animal welfare

by Janaka Perera, Lankaweb, July 22, 2012

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- The World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) in its final Declaration read out at the conclusion of the 26th General Conference held in Yeosu, South Korea from June 11-16, 2012, called on humanity, among other things, to extend compassion and loving kindness to all living beings as advocated by the Buddha.

The placing of an emphasis by the WFB in its final Declaration on the need for greater moral concern to be shown for the welfare of other living beings was pursuant to the adoption of a Resolution by the WFB Standing Committee for Humanitarian Services chaired by Rev.  Ikuko Hibino of Japan (Chairperson) and Dr. Basumitra Barua of Bangladesh (Co- Chairperson)  during  the Conference to the effect that ‘ Humanitarian Services be extended to all living beings, not just human beings to be in line with the teachings of the Lord Buddha – ” Sabbe Satta Sukhita Hontu ” – ‘ Let All Beings be Happy‘.

This development in the expansion of the WFB mission to address the plight of not only human beings but also  that of other living creatures trapped in the unending cycle of Samsara was largely due to a move made prior to the commencement of the Conference by  Mr. Senaka Weeraratna, Hony. Secretary, German Dharmaduta Society, Regional Centre of the WFB based in Sri Lanka, who handed in a draft Resolution  sponsored by the German Dharmaduta Society calling for the establishment of an Animal Welfare sub – Committee to work under the aegis of the WFB Standing Committee for Humanitarian Services.

The full text of this draft Resolution reads as follows:    

Whereas

Buddhism places an unequivocal high emphasis on peace and non –violence, expresses moral concern and respect for the lives of all living beings on the indisputable basis that life is dear to all, and extols the cultivation of loving – kindness and compassion on par with that of a mother who protects with her life her only child, and calls on humanity to cherish all living beings with a boundless heart radiating kindness over the entire world (Karaniya Metta Sutta);

 Whereas

As much as the protection of the ecological environment including its living creatures is of paramount importance, and a moral and civic responsibility has been cast on humanity to prevent the rapid diminution of earth’s resources which are finite, likewise the curtailment of the abuse and cruelty committed on animals is a moral obligation that need to be emphasized and supported particularly by Buddhist Organisations committed to the propagation and spread, and practice of Buddhism;

 Whereas

The World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) has responded to the need for supporting humanitarian causes in the world by establishing a Standing Committee on Humanitarian Services;

It is Hereby Resolved by the General Council of the WFB at the WFB Korea Conference 2012 to establish a Sub – Committee on Animal Welfare under the aegis of the Standing Committee on Humanitarian Services:

i) To promote Animal Welfare generally in accordance with the Buddhist tenets of compassion for living beings,

ii)  To monitor legislation and enforcement of laws on Animal Protection and Welfare in various countries with a view to ushering in reform and updating of such legislation incorporating modern standards of treatment of animals, and

iii) To provide an Annual Report with Recommendations and Measures adopted towards the prevention of cruelty and abuse of animals; and promotion of animal welfare in the member countries of WFB, and in the rest of the world. 



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