People with only a passing
familiarity with the Dalai Lama — the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner — might
assume the religious leader to be a vegetarian. In fact not only does
the Dalai Lama eat meat, but recently he has told reporters he approves
of some medical experiments on animals. Sounds a lot like the animal welfare
position espoused by this site.
Well, of course, it annoys
animal rights activists to no end to have the world’s best known preacher
of peace not in their camp. On August 5, 1998 The Fund for Animals released
a letter it sent to the Dalai Lama urging him to issue a statement affirming that
“Buddhism’s compassionate opposition to all forms of animal abuse,
including the genetic manipulation of living beings and the use of animals
in scientific research.”
According to the letter, authored
by The Fund for Animals coordinator Norm Phelps, “By refusing to
make your [the Dalai Lama’s] body a coffin for slaughtered animals, you
can only enhance your work for world peace.” The letter does not explain how going vegetarian will convince the Chinese to withdraw from
No word yet on what the Dalai
Lama thought of the letter. Could it be that the Dalai Lama values the
life of a breast cancer victim over the life of a lab rat?
Animal advocates tell Dalai Lama that ‘peace begins in the kitchen. The Fund for Animals, Press Release, August 5, 1998.