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Buddhism in the News


Friday, September 05, 2008

Sarah Palin: No Friend to Animals.

"For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love." ---- Pythagoras (c.582 - 507 BC)

: I don't get too political on this blog (I have another one for that) but animal welfare is something that I feel strongly about. If the wolves are too high in numbers than repopulate some of them to different areas of wilderness. There are plenty of wild place still left in Alaska, Canada and other parts of the other American states that could take them. Or at least give them to animals refuges and/or zoos. Although zoos don't always treat the animals with the best care but it is better than killing them.

However, Alaska governor and now vice-president selection of Republican Senator and presidential hopeful Senator John McCain doesn't seem to mind engaging in barbaric practices of what can't be called another other than a massacre of a beautiful and important animal to the eco-system. They keep the moose population in check but the governor and her supporters want to upset that balance because the citizens of Alaska like to eat moose up there and need high numbers of them. All this killing so that humans who don't have to eat meat can consume flesh:

No friend to wild animals, Palin has offered incentives for people who kill wolves in an effort to boost Alaska's predator control program which so far has failed to meet expected numbers. The incentives include offering 180 volunteer pilots and aerial gunners $150 in cash for turning in gruesome legs of freshly killed wolves. Outraged by Palin’s predator control program, environmentalists have argued that bounties have no place in modern wildlife management.

Alaska Governor and GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is a strong promoter of the aerial hunting of wolves and bears, a practice that has been condemned by conservationists, scientists and many hunters alike. It involves shooting wolves and bears from the air or chasing them to exhaustion and then landing and shooting them point blank. The animals, shot with a shotgun, usually die a painful death. The hunters involved in the program keep and sell the animals' pelts.

In a region west of Anchorage, she authorized the killing of up to 70% of all bears (1400 bears) including mothers and cubs.

She supports drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), an extremely sensitive region where millions of animals could be harmed or killed. Senator McCain has long opposed this drilling as do most energy experts who see it as useless.

  • The Board of Game, which she appoints, has approved the killing of black bear sows with cubs as part of the program and expanded the aerial control programs.

  • The media is currently looking into reports that state officials implementing one of the aerial wolf killing programs illegally killed five-week old wolf pups just outside their dens.

James: She also advocates taking the polar bear off the endangered species list was believe it or not done by Bush to protect the animal. We all know that the polar bears rely heavily upon the ice shelves to hunt and raise their young but thanks to global warming there territory and thus numbers are disappearing.

She also opposes the listing of certain whales on the endangered species list of animals to protect. Not sentient being's life should be put put ahead of our lust for cheap energy:

Alaska's Cook Inlet beluga whales are a unique group of white whales whose numbers have dramatically declined in the past two decades due to pressures ranging from pollution to increased ship traffic. Governor Palin opposes the listing of the Cook Inlet beluga whales, citing the listing as a threat to oil and gas development, despite their genetic uniqueness and the fact that their numbers have decreased from 1,300 in the 1980s to about 350 today.

James: If you are an American, a vegetarian and/or a lover of animals and want to protect them in the wild than this is information that you should know before voting in November. I for one will not be voting for the McCain/Palin ticket for this and many reasons. Animals are voiceless and can't defend against whole sale slaughter and so it is up to those of us who love all sentient beings to stand up for them and fight against their abuse and murder.

~peace to all beings~

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Dhamma81 said...

I hadn't realized Sarah Palin took this stance on animals. My question is this, what about Barack Obama and his stance on abortion? Isn't that just as barbaric as sarah Palin and the wolves? A small fetus is just as defenseless as a bear cub or a wolf. I guess it really shows that both parties and both candidates and their running mates stand for barbarism and cruelty, a reason why I will not be voting. Wishing you well.

EZG said...

I have to strongly disagree with the previous comment about abortion vs animal rights. I've heard it said that you bring a thousand times more pain into the world by killing a fly than aborting a fetus. Simply having the potential to become a human being doesn't imbue a fetus with any sort of special quality--flies are fully developed creatures with central nervous systems and brain functions. They feel the pain of being killed, while a fetus has not yet developed the ability.

Animal rights are a good reason to dislike Mrs. Palin as the Republican VP nominee, but they are one of many. And that's why I'm going to be voting Democrat this November.

Dhamma81 said...

To me as a Buddhist abortion is just as unacceptable as the slaughter of animals. I can respect your opinion but do not agree. Science doesn't matter to me when the Buddha made it a defeater offense for his monks to even suggest an abortion. He had his reasons for considering it such a grave offense and as a Theravdad Buddhist I would never vote for what I consider a disgusting selfish and barbaric act.

EZG said...

Sorry, James, not meaning to start a comment war.

I can appreciate the principle that all life is sacred. But the line must be drawn somewhere. And for me, that line is with the central nervous system and the ability to feel pain. There are millions and billions of invisble animals without nervous systems, with no real concept of pain. These animals are everywhere--in water, soil, air--it is impossible to come into contact with these things without killing them in the thousands. Life is fragile and many things die, we can't change this. But we can choose not to harm many animals that actually have the ability to experience pain.

Young fetuses, for me, fall into that catagory of animals that have no real ability to experience pain. Naturally, I do take issue with abortion of more developed fetuses--those that have their nervous systems developed.

Not to be even more incindiary, but I think it's very dangerous to put the Buddhist teachings on a pedistal and say they are "above science." Science is the testing of educated guesses by logic and evidence--to say that Buddhism trumps Science is to say that it trumps logic and evidence. And falls into the realm of zealotry, very dangerous territory.

Keep in mind, that pro-choice does not mean "mandatory abortion." It means keeping the option available to those that want it, so that they can if they want or need to, without having to resort to illegal means. Overturning Roe V Wade would mean the further restricting of Americans' freedoms.

They call him James Ure said...

No worries guys. I like and encourage discussion and debate as long as no insults and personal attacks are involved.

I've decided to give my opinion/comment on abortion in a different post to come in the next few days.

Dhamma81 said...

I don't mean any disrespect either ezg, I just don't agree with you. I think the moment science trumps Buddhism is the day religion is dead. I am more of a faith based conservative Buddhist anyway, and i take as law what the Buddha says reagrdless of what science says about it. You mentioned a fetus as an animal and I do not agree. I don't buy into Darwins theory of evolution and believe that we are more then animals, but that is only a belief that I hold. I mean no disrespect to you at all, I am just offering my view here for whatever it's worth. Remember that evidence and logic is not going to get you to enlightenment according to Buddhism. Evidence and logic are highly developed in the West but belief in the strict materialism of Western science has always been (in my opinion)not compatible with Buddhism if that logic and evidence isn't tempered with faith. We risk comforming Buddhism to science if we aren't careful and science has no room for faith or for transcendence because at its heart it postulates that we are nothing more then animals and material elements. A

Inner Oddness said...

I just wrote a blog on Buddhism and Abortion, and I actually went off on a huge tangent regarding Sarah Palin. (Would love to hear your opinion James, you always give such good comments)
She is the governor of my state, and the ex-mayor of my hometown. I've met her, know her family, grew up in the town while she was mayor.
She's a great gal and a nice person...
...As long as you don't mind her attempts to outright censor our public library, and then trying to fire the librarian who stood up to her by refusing to ban the books. ...Or her refusing to give funding for comprehensive sexual education.
...Or her primitive stance on animal control (as you mentioned in your blog).
...Or her opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, and wants to overturn Roe v Wade. ...Or the fact she firmly believes in creationism, despite the scientific evidence against such a theory.
...Or the fact that she used her power to get her brother-in-law fired after he divorced her sister (That's actually pretty unfair of me, I've met the man, he is incredibly rude, and was fired to drinking alcohol in a trooper vehicle while on-duty. But the way she handled it was still an abuse of her power.)

I have to admit, this is a rather exciting time to be an Alaskan. Our state is so small (total population is around 650,000, so most of us have met Sarah, and if we grew up in Wasilla/Palmer area, then we probably know her and/or her family on a first name basis. Hell, I hi to her dad very time I see him.

Terry said...

According to this video,

The people of Alasa have created voter-initiative laws to BAN this practice. The Alaskan government can over turn voter-initiative laws after 2 years.

TWICE, Alaskan voters have put this issue on the ballot, TWICE they have made it law, and TWICE the government has overturned the citizen's will as soon as they legally can.

EZG said...

Maybe it's tacky to post on this entry again. But you really fascinate me, dhamma81.

I don't mean this disrespectfully, but I just can't understand your views of the world. Conservative politics and Buddhism just don't mix for me, and I am really surprised to have exchanged words with somebody like yourself. Again, I don't mean this in a negative way. You've just come up with a view of the world I would have never thought possible.

But, then again, I don't understand rejection of Darwin's Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. I won't go off on a big tirade on the validity of Neo-Darwinism. But the evidence is overwhelming and obvious with even a basic study of zoology.

This is where I am baffled with your worldview a little. Christians, certainly, are very good at (or at least very prone to) denying Scientific fact, since they can blame an all-powerful deity or malevolent Satan planting false evidence to test the faith of believers or to lead people astray.

Where is the incompatibility with Buddhism? As I know it, Buddhism does not really have a "creation story" that contradicts the evidence of the age of the earth, or the theory of evolution. (If I am mistaken, I'm always interested in learning--please point me to where I'm wrong in this.)

Buddhism is, as I understand it, an attempt to break free of the endless cycle of death and rebirth by obtaining enlightenment. I personally am agnostic about this for lack of evidence for it, but I don't really see a conflict nor a reason to reject Evolution.

And I am always troubled when people put religion over science. Any religion. "Faith" is ignoring evidence and provable facts for what is comforting or what you personally believe. In other words, ignorance. And if I ever have any sort of religion, the core of it will be that ignorance is something we have to overcome. Accepting things on faith alone is very dangerous--there have been more than a few Buddhist self-immolaters and suicide bombers who were, no doubt, just as convicted as you are in the truth of Buddhist doctrines. This mindset can be very dangerous. There are plenty of Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, and others that will accept dangerous beliefs based on centuries old holy books that contradict each other, sometimes themselves, and all supporting evidence.

Dhamma81, I don't mean to pick on you. These are just all things that I'm very interested in. I'm sort of anti-theist, I guess it shows. To me, I would rather see Buddhists fighting for civil rights and a greener human existence than arguing about dogmas.

And, James: Is Buddhism as you understand it incompatible with Darwinian evolution? I would love to read a post on your feelings of the subject if you were ever interested in it.

Arun said...

This is an interesting discussion, but what I think is most interesting about the discussion is that the arguments here effectively fail to differ from those carried out in the mainstream American media. Indeed, the specific points we use to back our positions are different than if we were Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, etc., but the structure of the argument is little different. To me, this means that we can't look to Buddhist texts as an arbiter on this discussion where we each seem to find the answers that we want to see. Still, it's important to reflect -- are we looking to Buddhism to change ourselves, or are we looking to mould Buddhism to fit what we don't want to change about ourselves?

They call him James Ure said...


Great thoughts. Thank-you for sharing your insights. I appreciate many different views. You're right that in the end Buddhism is there to help us over-come suffering.

We are not there to tell others how to follow the path that their karma has laid out for them.

Sure we have our opinions but in the end they aren't worth much when we all have to walk our own path.

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