From Vanipedia


Equal to all living entities

"Thou shalt not kill." It is applicable both for human being and for animal or even for trees. Unnecessarily you cannot kill. That is sādhu. Suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānām BG 5.29 . "Don't kill my brother, but you can kill my neighbors." Not like that. He is not sādhu. Sādhu is kind to all living entities.[1]

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We actually see that there are many Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists and religionists of other cults who adhere to their religious principles very nicely but are not equal to all living entities. Indeed, although they profess to be very religious, they kill poor animals...The sign of a devotee is that he is a friend to everyone (suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānām (BG 5.29)). A devotee will never allow a poor animal to be killed in the name of religion. This is the difference between a superficially religious person and a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.[2]

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Justifications and counter-arguments

"Animals have no soul"

"Dominion over the animals"

Umāpati: In the Bible, Prabhupāda, there is a statement that many people follow, saying that, where Jehovah says, "Man shall have dominion over the animals, over the fishes and..."
Prabhupāda: That is already there. But that does not mean man should kill them.
Prof. Wolfe: And Jesus did not reverse it.
Hṛdayānanda: Just like a man has dominion over his children.
Prabhupāda: Yes. A father-mother has dominion over the children. Does it mean that he shall kill him?
Umāpati: And eat them?
Prabhupāda: Yes. This is all rascals.
Hṛdayānanda: Then they will argue that we are, we are killing plants and grains, things like that.
Prabhupāda: We are not killing anything. We are not killing anything. We devotees, we don't kill anything. Do you know that, or not? We don't kill anything.
Hṛdayānanda: They'll say we eat vegetables, they will say.
Prabhupāda: No vegetables, we don't kill. We don't kill.
Umāpati: Well, vegetables are living entities also?
Prabhupāda: Yes, but we don't kill them. We take their fruits and flowers. That does not mean it is killed. And that also we take it for Kṛṣṇa. Patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam (BG 9.26). So if there is any responsibility, that is Kṛṣṇa's responsibility. I am not, I am not responsible.
Hṛdayānanda: Ah, I see.
Karandhara: Fruits, vegetables and grains can be harvested without killing the plant.
Prabhupāda: Eh? No, yes, it is not killing. Grains, after grains are ripe, the tree automatically dies.
Prof. Wolfe: Śrīla Prabhupāda, isn't it so that we do not kill voluntarily. Because involuntarily, of course, we kill with every moment? We kill all the bacteria and we kill all the microbes and...
Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes.
Prof. Wolfe: And we cannot help doing that.
Prabhupāda: Therefore you have to become servant of Kṛṣṇa; you are not responsible.[3]

It does not mean, "Because somebody is my subordinate, therefore I shall cut his throat or her throat." No. Just like sometimes the Christian philosophers say, "The animals are given under the control of man. Therefore they should be slaughtered." This is their philosophy. Control of man does not mean they should be slau... They should be taken care of. That is the law. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā: kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vāṇijyaṁ vaiśya-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.44). The productive class, they should give protection to the cows. The cows are given under their protection, not that "Because the cows are given under my protection, therefore I must open a slaughterhouse and kill them." Similarly... So children under the protection of father and mother... Just like this child is sitting on the lap of... He is comfortable. But if the father thinks, "He is under my protection; therefore I shall cut throat..." Now it is going on. The abortion means that. The child is taken shelter of the mother's womb for protection, but now she is being killed. The time is so bad. You see?[4]

Prabhupāda: In the Bible, it is said the animals are given under the control of human beings, man. Is it not? They have taken it. And because the animals are given under the control of man, therefore man should open slaughterhouse and eat them? Suppose if somebody gives his son, "Sir, will you take my son? Keep him under your control." Does it mean I shall eat him? These rascals interpret in that way. Because the animals are given under the control of man, therefore there should be slaughterhouse, the animals will be killed, and they will eat. This is their interpretation of the Bible, is it not? Who knows Bible? Anyone? Nobody knows Bible? Have you forgotten? Anyway...
Devotee: In the Koran it is also said.
Prabhupāda: Huh? In the Koran also it is said, yes, that animals are under the control of man. That is naturally. Just like...
Devotee: They say it is for the purpose of eating, fish(?) are created for the purpose of eating.
Prabhupāda: That is also in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam also, that jīvo jīvasya jīvanam. That we also accept. But just like jīvo jīvasya jīvanam, then why don't you eat your own son? He is also jīva. Why do you discriminate? Therefore discrimination is the better part valor. We should know, we are also eating the vegetables. What kind of jīva, living entity we shall eat, that is to be discriminated. Not that because one living entity is food for another living entity, it does not mean I shall eat my own son. I am father. We do not do that. Because we use our discrimination.
Similarly, in the human form of life there should be discrimination. We have to eat. We have to eat. Discrimination means (indistinct), that what kind of food I shall eat. Suppose the hogs, they eat stool. Does it mean because the stool is also food, I shall eat that? That is discrimination. If you say that everything is food, then why don't you eat stool? One man's food, another man's poison. That is... What is to be eaten, what is not to be eaten, that is discrimination. Now our discrimination is, because human life is meant for becoming God conscious, Kṛṣṇa conscious, we have to act in God consciousness. We have taken vow that we shall eat the remnants of foodstuff, prasāda, from Kṛṣṇa. Now, what Kṛṣṇa wants? Kṛṣṇa says patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati (BG 9.26). Kṛṣṇa says "Give Me vegetable, water." "Anyone who offers Me in devotion." So we have to eat Kṛṣṇa prasādam. Although animals are meant for eating by the man. That is stated in the (indistinct). Ahastāni sahastānām apadāni catuṣ-padām. Ahastāni, they haven't got hands(?). Ahastāni. (indistinct) sahastānām, they are food of the human being. So ahastāni sahastānām apadāni catuṣ-padām. Just like the creepers, grass, and vegetables. Catuṣ-padām. They're food for the four-legged. Phalgūni jīvo jīvasya jīvanam.
So, in this way, there is order that one life is meant eaten by another. That is nature's law. But we should use discrimination what kind of foodstuff, what kind of living entities we shall eat. That Kṛṣṇa... (?). We have taken vow to eat only Kṛṣṇa's prasādam. There is something. Whatever Kṛṣṇa orders.[5]

"Jesus ate fish"

"Thou shalt not kill"?

"They kill, we purchase"

"One living entity is food for another"

Animal sacrifice

  • more are available: see Vivekananda page (justification from Vedic past); Buddha and Narada Muni condemn animal sacrifice (ref's from AK article); maybe some from Durga-puja quotes

"Eat whatever you like..."

References (all sections)

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(Modern variants on Vedic tradition)