28 Jun - Take away message from the day's discourse of HH

  • Don’t exploit any beings. Co-existence is required to balance the nature.
  • Scriptures talks about what Humans are supposed to eat.
  • We need to protect our eco-system and it’s the need of the hour.

27 Jun 2023, Tuesday

Highlights of the day

Cambridge Workshop on the Ethics for a Living Planet
Do animals have rights? Do plants have rights? Do we humans have the ultimate authority to decide how we use animals or tress or ecosystems as we please?

On 28 th June scholars and experts in sustainable development, animal rights law, veterinary science and public policy gathered in Lucy Cavendish College in Cambridge to discuss important ethical, legal and policy issues concerning the responsibility of humans to protect nature.

The President of the College Dame Madeleine Atkins welcomed everyone to the College. After a brief introduction from Prof PB Anand on the aims of the workshop, HH Chinna Jeeyar swamy in his keynote outlined some of the important ideas from ancient scriptures and reminded that pre-modern societies lived with nature. The humans in the modern society began corrupting the animals and plants through hybridisation, exaggerating certain aspects for profitability and interfering with nature. He also mentioned the scripture about what humans are supposed to eat: “in the skies is the wind; in the wind there is fire; with fire there is water; with water is the earth; in the earth the medicines grow; these are the food.”

Rev Andy Bowerman, Dean of Bradford Cathedral spoke about the key messages of Christian theology beginning with some negative interpretations and then concluding with more positive messages of Christian theology which connect the humans with all forms of life.

Dr David Williams, a Veterinary Ophthalmology lecturer at Cambridge University, through pictures and cases showed how animal well-being can be promoted and how human greed and competition for keeping price of milk low results in animal suffering.

Dr Sean Butler of the Cambridge Animal Rights Law began with a categorical statement that there is no country in the world where animal rights are presently recognised. He mentioned about the progress being made in this regard but that there is still a long way to go to recognise and protect the idea of rights of animals.

The afternoon session began with Rabindra Sangeeth rendition of an important poem of Tagore on the fragility of life, of interconnectedness and of the inherent beauty of nature in every blade of grass and the shining drop of water gleaming on the back of a deer (sung by Amir Barua and Saradamoyee- both Cambridge lecturers) while Hina Khalid presented an analysis.

Prof Jill Jameson of Greenwich University spoke about toxic leadership and the urgent need to overcome this as a way of developing education systems that can develop sustainability leaders of tomorrow.

Cambridge PhD student Trevelyan Wing presented about the indigenous Sami people of Northern Europe and how their deeper relationship with nature is threatened by the lack of rights and recognition of their way of life. Several African scholars raised questions about their understanding of the challenges of balancing what is considered African culture in terms of animals as food and the right to survive and the rights of animals. University of Bradford student Evelina from the Plant-based universities movement reminded the participants that our choice of food is threatening the climate and the very future of existence. There were also questions about the rapacious exploitation of natural resources by governments and private corporations and how ecosystems can be protected against greed.

The workshop concluded with the felicitation of speakers and participants from HH Chinna Jeeyar Swamy.