Following the Indian Railway’s proposal that non-vegetarian food will not be served on railway premises on October 2 this year and the next two consecutive years to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, The Humane Society International (India), has written to the Railway Board “to not limit itself to servicing only vegetarian food but also exclude any animal derivative, and instead promote plant-based food [food derived only from plants, including grains, pulses and vegetables, and excluding meat, eggs, and dairy].”
“We are compelled to specify that the application of the principle of ahimsa is not restricted only to the slaughter of animals. The principle of non-violence does not only require one to refrain from killing but also cause no harm to other living beings,” said the Humane Society International, a non-profit organization that works for the protection of animals, to The Hindu, while appreciating its veg-only plans as a tribute to Gandhi’s principle of ahimsa.
“Untrained and inexperienced persons use unsterilised equipment to artificially inseminate dairy animals; calves are separated from their mothers just days after birth so as to retain more milk for human consumption; brutally hit with sticks, chained constantly, and confined all their lives until they become ‘unproductive’ [i.e. cannot produce enough milk], and then sold for slaughter — at which time they are transported across State borders, crammed in trucks, and slaughtered in horrific conditions,” the letter by the Humane Society International stated.
The organization has also urged the board to try this plant-based meal programme for one day a week and has highlighted that this is already being followed in as many as 44 countries across the globe, including Bhutan, Israel, Iran, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Brazil, the United States and South Africa.
“We urge you to consider extending your initiative and proposing a similar model for the Indian Railways to undertake. A meatless Monday programme, where for every Monday, meals built around vegetables, beans and grains are served on the trains,” said the letter.