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Dalai Lama Promotes the Compassion of Vegetarianism for World Animal Day

His Holiness the Dalai Lama on 2 October 2020. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel. From
His Holiness the Dalai Lama on 2 October 2020. Photo by Ven Tenzin Jamphel.

In a recorded message for World Animal Day on Sunday, His Holiness the Dalai Lama urged people around the world to move toward more compassionate and sustainable ways of living that rely less on the exploitation of animals. “It is very useful to promote vegetarianism,” His Holiness said. “We should pay more attention toward developing more vegetables [in our diet].”

Speaking from his official residence in Dharamsala, northern India, The Tibetan spiritual leader likened animals to the ornaments of the world, lamenting the extreme exploitation of animals and the growing consumption of meat from industrial-scale livestock farms in countries such as the United States, which are “environmentally very harmful,” although he also noted that “in modern times, some people are really showing concern about animal rights. This is very very encouraging.” 

His Holiness emphasized that it would be impractical to suggest that everyone become vegetarian, “especially in cold climate regions like northern Tibet and Mongolia, whose primary source of livelihood through generations has depended on animals,” he said. “Whereas countries like India have a rich supply of vegetables and is known for vegetarianism, which should be encouraged in other parts of the world.” (Central Tibetan Administration)


The Dalai Lama explained that in recent years he had been actively encouraging Buddhist monasteries and Tibetan schools to serve more vegetarian meals, and added that more fruits and vegetables should be cultivated for them.

World Animal Day traces its origins to 1925, when cynologist Heinrich Zimmermann. organized the first World Animal Day in Berlin. Today, it is a global event led and sponsored by the UK-based animal welfare charity Naturewatch Foundation, and observed every 4 October, aiming “to raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe.” (World Animal Day)

“Building the celebration of World Animal Day unites the animal welfare movement, mobilizing it into a global force to make the world a better place for all animals. Through increased awareness and education, we can help develop a compassionate culture which feeds into legal reform and social progress to make this world a fairer place for all living creatures. A world where animals are recognized as sentient beings and full regard is always paid to their welfare.” (World Animal Day)

“Killing animals for sport, for pleasure, for adventure, and for hides and furs is a phenomenon which is at once disgusting and distressing. There is no justification in indulging in such acts of brutality,” His Holiness was quoted as saying. (Central Tibetan Administration)

See more

Dalai Lama urges vegetarianism on ‘World Animal Day’ (Phayul)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama urges promotion of vegetarianism, says the world can’t do without animals (Central Tibetan Administration)
The Dalai Lama Encourages a Switch to Vegetarianism on World Animal Day (The Beet)
World Animal Day

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