Sunday, July 11, 2010


RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – The bright pink color gives them a striking appearance in the muddy jungle waters. That Amazon river dolphins are also gentle and curious makes them easy targets for nets and harpoons as they swim fearlessly up to fishing boats. Now, their carcasses are showing up in record numbers on riverbanks, their flesh torn away for fishing bait, causing researchers to warn of a growing threat to a species that has already disappeared in other parts of the world. “The population of the river dolphins will collapse if these fishermen are not stopped from killing them,” said Vera da Silva, the top aquatic mammals expert at the government’s Institute of Amazonian Research. About 1,500 dolphins are killed annually in the part of the Mamiraua Reserve of the western Amazon where da Silva studies the mammals. The killings are becoming more common, researchers and environmental agents say. Even the government acknowledges that there is a problem.

It’s already illegal to kill the dolphins without government permission - as with all wild animals in the Amazon. But little is being done to stop it. Growing up to 8 feet (2.5 meters) long and weighing as much as 400 pounds (180 kilograms), Amazon river dolphins are the largest of four species known to exist in South America and Asia. Their genetic siblings have already died off elsewhere: The Yangzte river dolphin in China was declared functionally extinct in 2006, the victim of pollution, overfishing and increased boat traffic. Meanwhile, the International Union of Conservation of Nature lists the Ganges river dolphin in India as endangered, and the Irrawaddy river dolphin in Bangladesh as vulnerable.

As Dolphins are friendly and gentle, environmental activists are very concerned because these creatures are disappearing for the sake of using them as fishing bait. Cows are also adorable creatures but they are daily killed in merciless slaughterhouses. If we want peace, we must stop violence against all animals, without exception.

Even though there are areas in the world where a meatless diet is difficult to follow, or that meat is a basic part of a region’s cultural ways, we must consider that if we really want peace, we must also think of the well being of others. That includes the other nonhuman living beings. It is not that we must always go out of our way to provide the animals with all the comforts of home. They can usually provide for themselves, at least those in the wild. However, we should find alternatives to killing animals to satisfy our appetites, especially when there are plenty of other healthy foods available. Otherwise, there must be reactions to such violence. ... As Newton's third law of motion states, for every action there must be an equal and opposite reaction. On the universal scale this is called the law of karma, meaning what goes around comes around. This affects every individual, as well as communities and countries.

Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Universal Brotherhood Includes Animals”

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