Letters

From all-creatures.org
and The Mary T. and
Frank L. Hoffman
Family Foundation

Letter from Ruth Eisenbud: The Death of a Goose...A Religious Perspective - 9 Feb 2010

The Death of a Goose...A Religious Perspective:

To Mayor Bloomberg,

Despite wealth, power and a perceived self importance, your true nature as expressed by your decision to kill geese whose only crime is living near an airport, reveals an uneducated and compassionless mindset.

"Cruelty to animals is one of the distinguishing vices of low and base minds. Wherever it is found, it is a certain mark of ignorance and meanness; a mark which all the external advantages of wealth, splendour, and nobility, cannot obliterate. It is consistent neither with learning nor true civility. -William Jones

The following is a story about a goose and an individual who practices the Jain religion of India. Jainism holds non-violence to all beings as its core belief:

"For there is nothing inaccessible for death. All beings are fond of life, hate pain, like pleasure, shun destruction, like life, long to live. To all life is dear." Jain Acharanga Sutra

I was in a car with a Jain friend who accidentally hit a goose that wandered onto the highway. She stopped the car, said a prayer for the goose, called the authorities and although we were going to a big celebration with lots of great vegetarian food, she ate nothing to atone for ACCIDENTALLY killing a goose. The taking of a life intentional or accidental is taken seriously by this religious tradition....

This story is not intended to promote the Jain religion, but rather, to point out that when religions do allow for the killing of animals they often produce callous, insensitive and disrespectful individuals.

Undoubtedly you will snicker at this story, and perhaps even make childish jokes about people who hold such beliefs, but I assure you the laugh is on you. Your belief that such a view is naive or unrealistic, could not be further from the truth.

As a product of the Judeo-Christian tradition, in all likelihood you are not a vegetarian and do not see the cruelty inherent in taking the life of a non-human being to enhance your own. The religious view of the American mainstream, which you almost certainly adhere to, allows for the harming/killing of animals to benefit man, so when the geese are perceived as a nuisance or a danger to humans, the cheapest and easiest solution is to kill them. Fortunately wiser men than you have long understood the importance of respect for the lives of all creatures:

"I care not for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it." Abraham Lincoln

The Jain religion teaches that non-violence (Ahimsa) is the highest religion. The practitioners of this religion have lived a non-violent lifestyle for many millennia, as Jainism is one of the oldest religions. It existed in India in the Shamanistic culture of the South long before the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religions came into being. That it has survived for so long is a tribute to the intelligence, spiritual discipline and moral character of those following it. There have been no Jain wars, no inquisitions and no holocausts:.

You see, when you honor the lives of all creatures, you also honor the lives of humans.

You, on the other hand make light of the killing of geese whom you INTEND to kill. Your approach is in all likelihood consistent with the view towards animals of your religious heritage. This disrespect and callous indifference are a product of teachings which sanctify the harming/killing of animals. It does not occur to you that there is anything wrong with consuming the flesh of non-human animals, wearing their skins or killing them when they become a 'problem'.

Furthermore your track record of putting to death untold numbers of healthy dogs and cats in the poorly run and underfunded ACC of NY is one of the worst in the nation.

Ironically you are from a people who has throughout history been the target of persecution. Your inability to extend the same compassion you would claim for your people to other living beings indicates a serious flaw in your ability to understand compassion.

"...in their behavior toward creatures, all men were Nazis. The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplified the most extreme racist theories, the principle that might is right". ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

Despite all the trappings of wealth and power, your smug disregard for the life of a goose, or any other animal for that matter, reveals your true worth.

Ruth Eisenbud