ProFauna's Cross-Religious Discussion on Animal Welfare

Petungsewu Wildlife Education Center (P-WEC), one of ProFauna's field projects, holds quarterly discussions for public to engage with ProFauna's members and members of the community to become actively involved in helping ProFauna to save wildlife in Indonesia. On the 13th of September, ProFauna held the third discussion in 2008, and invited three religious leaders (Islam, Buddhist, and Christian) as keynote speakers, together with the organization's chairman, Rosek Nursahid.

Rosek Nursahid in his speech conveyed to nearly 100 attendees that all religions in Indonesia have some verses in their holy scriptures mentioning humans' responsibility to take care of animals and give attention to their welfare. Unfortunately, animal topics are rarely discussed in religious forums in Indonesia. For this reason, the discussion was initiated to increase the awareness of religious followers regarding animalwelfare.

The Islam, Buddhist, and Christian leaders agreed to what ProFauna's chairman said and confirmed that each of their religions teach them to take care of all living creatures. For example; in Islam, there is a story of the sinful woman and a thirsty dog (A Hadith about a sinful woman who was traveling and saw a well. She got a drink but then saw a thirsty dog who couldn't get to the water. She climbed down into the well, filled up her leather sack with water, climbed out and watered the dog. For that, Allah forgave her sins).

According to Buddhist teachings on rebirth, you can be born as one of the animals in your next birth or reincarnation. One of those animals may be your dead mother, father or a loved one. Animals feel pain and do not wish to be harmed. The Christian priest said that our task is to reflect the divine care and value God places upon even the smallest of creations, as well as upon human life. There are many more religious statements which were not quoted at about animal welfare that need further study by the participants.

The participants of the discussion were excited to know the new perspective from their religions on animal welfare because for most of them animal welfare has only been taught based on ecological perspective. ProFauna also believes that approaching religious leaders to spread information on animal welfare to their followers will be one of its campaign focus in the hope of increasing public awareness in this issue.

© 2003 - ProFauna Indonesia

ProFauna Indonesia is an Indonesian society for the protection of
wild animals and their habitats