belief and values
Petition to Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay
Stop the Bhutan Mega-Meat Processing Projects
The country of Bhutan is one of the great Buddhist countries of the world, its commitment to the teachings of the Buddha stated explicitly in its Constitution. “Buddhism is the spiritual heritage of Bhutan, which promotes the principles and values of peace, non-violence, compassion and tolerance.” Despite this declaration of adherence to the Dharma, last year (2015) the Bhutan government began plans to development 11 mega-meat processing projects throughout the country. These projects include fishery ponds, slaughterhouses, piggeries, poultry farms and more. The purpose of these projects is to make the country self-sufficient in meat and help keep Bhutan currency within the country. Shortly after these plans were announced, the Zhung Dratshang (central monastic body) of Bhutan submitted a petition to the prime minister requesting that these projects be halted. The petition emphasized the Buddhist teaching of not killing and pointed out how the planned slaughter of animals directly violated this fundamental principle and would cause tremendous suffering. Unfortunately, the petition failed to achieve its objective, and the projects are moving forward. Despite the lack of success so far, DVA is hoping that a renewed effort will lead the king and the Bhutan government to reconsider their decision. We ask that you join us by signing this petition and encouraging the leaders of Bhutan to abide by their constitution and act with the compassion and wisdom of the Buddha. Dharma Voices for Animals is a non-profit organization based in the United States of America whose mission is to increase awareness of the suffering of animals within the Buddhist Dharma community. Among our worldwide membership are many well-known Dharma teachers: Tibetan monk Geshe Thupten Phelgye, who served ten years in the Tibetan Parliament in Exile and considers his Holiness the Dalai Lama as his teacher; Kamala Lama, the wife of the late Chatral Rinpoche (who was himself a member of Dharma Voices for Animals); England’s Ven. Gelong Ngedon Drime; the Venerable Thich Phuoc Tan, Vice President of the World Fellowship of Buddhists; and the Venerable Tashi Nyima, the former Executive Director for Health, Policy, and Planning, Latin American Institute, in the United States. This petition addresses the recent initiative by the Bhutan government to establish mega-meat processing projects in the country. We understand that the goal of the meat processing projects is to lessen imports of meat from outside Bhutan and to develop Bhutan’s economy and trade exports. We believe, however, that if you look deeply at these mega-meat processing projects, you will see that they will bring harm to Bhutan. The proposed mega-meat processing projects will collectively harm the people of Bhutan. First and foremost, they are at odds with Bhutan’s stature as one of the world’s foremost Buddhist nations. This commitment to the Buddhist teachings is codified in the Bhutan Constitution itself, which states, “Buddhism is the spiritual heritage of Bhutan, which promotes the principles and values of peace, non-violence, compassion and tolerance.” (Article 3, section 1.) The negative karmic consequences inherent in the business of animal agriculture are profound. The misery and suffering inflicted on the animals is unfathomable, and these projects clearly violate the First Precept of not killing, which includes animals as well as humans. The suffering caused by animal agriculture is the reason that the Buddha listed trading in animals as one of five occupations that are not Right Livelihood. These projects may also have the consequence of encouraging the eating of animal flesh, thus creating more negative karma and suffering. In addition, the proposed mega-meat processing projects will harm the environment, both globally and also locally in Bhutan. It is scientifically established that animal agriculture is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gasses and contributors to global warming. Globally, animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of all global greenhouse gas emissions—and this is a conservative number. Even without fossil fuels, we will exceed our 565 Gigatonne CO2 limit by 2030, all from animal agriculture, and emissions from animal agriculture are estimated to increase by 80% by 2050! Furthermore, animal agriculture uses a significant amount of water, 20-33% of all fresh water consumption in the world today. Livestock and crops for livestock feed use 1/3 of all ice-free land on this planet. Animal agriculture is also the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction. It is also the leading cause of global deforestation. The projects exacerbate this problem. For example, we understand that forests have already been cleared for an 800 acre farm in the village of Samrang. If the mega-meat processing projects encourage the people of Bhutan to eat more meat, this will also cause the additional suffering that accompanies the diseases of the Western countries: heart disease, cancers and diabetes, to name but a few. These diseases are high in health care costs, which will become an additional expense to the government of Bhutan. We believe that if you look deeply, you will see that this project will bring more harm than good to Bhutan—especially to the people and to the environment. There are surely better ways to help the Bhutanese economy that will not create this profound negativity, animal suffering, human disease, and ecological destruction. We feel that the present course of promoting the mega-meat processing facilities is leading the Bhutanese people in the wrong direction. This is why the Zhung Dratshang also has submitted a petition requesting the government to stop the mega-meat processing projects. In considering the present petition, we ask you to please revisit the profound words of that august body. With this in mind, we the undersigned respectfully request that the Bhutan government immediately terminate its plans to establish the planned mega-meat processing projects. The international community looks to Bhutan as an example of what a society can look like when guided by Buddhist values and the Mahayana principles of working for the welfare of all sentient beings. The world has been inspired by the development of Gross National Happiness. As you reconsider this project and look for virtuous alternatives, know that our prayers and support will be with you.
Petition to Leaders
Nominate Abdul Sattar Edhi for the Nobel Peace Prize 2016
Abdul Sattar Edhi is one of the most famous and well-respected people in Pakistan - a philanthropist, social activist and humanitarian. He has dedicated his life to helping others and his fleet of free ambulances have become a common feature of everyday life in Pakistan. He is 88 years old and this year I would like to see his life's work recognised with the Nobel Peace Prize. When my daughter Malala won the Nobel Peace Prize my pride was immeasurable – words alone cannot express the overwhelming flood of emotions my wife and I felt. The award has elevated the profile and importance of education for every girl and every child globally. I believe Edhi deserves such an honour. Edhi runs a nation-wide network of ambulances and emergency services. In a country where terrorism, poverty, natural disasters are a regular phenomenon, his foundation gives medical and emergency support to people all over Pakistan. He gives shelter to orphaned children and the destitute, free medical care, drug rehabilitation services and disaster relief. In times of trouble Edhi’s ambulances roam where even the law enforcement agencies do not. Edhi has worked selflessly for several decades in serving the people of our great nation. Thanks to Edhi’s efforts, supported by his equally inspirational partner and wife, Bilquis Edhi, emergency and trauma care has been transformed in Pakistan and is now available to everyone irrespective of gender, class, caste, social standing or age. As an educator, humanitarian and social activist, I have read about the essence of humanity but have only seen true humanity in motion through the efforts of Edhi and his Foundation. With each passing day I am only too well aware of Edhi’s failing health, which began to rapidly deteriorate over the last twelve months. With this in mind, I would like to stress the urgency in Edhi being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 in recognition of his services to the people of Pakistan. He is not only a leading light in my home country, he is a global firebrand who will continue to lead the way in inspiring others through his legacy. Please show your support for Edhi by signing this petition and raising your voice with me for this living legend who has transformed the lives of so many and sets an example to each of us about how to live our lives. Malala's support:I'm signing this petition started by my father calling on our world leaders to nominate Abdul Sattar Edhi for the Nobel Peace Prize 2016. Abdul Sattar Edhi continues working tirelessly for humanity - he inspires me everyday! Edhi serves the most vulnerable, voiceless and unheard people in Pakistan. He is a true role model for each and everyone of us. I urge you all to join me in honouring the work of Edhi and his Foundation. Read the petition in Urdu here and in Pashto here. We've united this petition with Rubena Kashwar who is also campaigning for Edhi to be nominated. Her petition is here.
Petition to Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT)
Don't change Japanese temple symbols but educate tourists instead!
The Japanese government is considering to replace the Japanese manji symbol which indicates the thousands of temples all over Japan, because in the eyes of some visitors to Japan it might be confused with the Hakenkreuz (Nazi's swastika) symbol. The Japanese manji can be seen on the right and the Nazi's Hakenkreuz on the left. Reasons for this petition to oppose the Japanese government's decision to replace the manji symbols: 1. Even if all the printed and digital maps, road maps and road signs are replaced with the newly proposed symbol, tourists visiting temples will still encounter the Japanese manji at the temples they visit, so it is pointless. 2. In order to replace all the manji, the Japanese government will be spending huge amounts of money for a "problem" that only affects a small number of people (those few uneducated visitors who don't know the difference), so it's a complete waste of taxpayer's money. 3. The Japanese manji symbol is a sacred and auspicious symbol in both Hinduism and Buddhism and has been around for thousands of years, whereas the Hakenkreuz exists less than 100 years. Giving priority to the symbol associated with Nazism and white supremacy, in deciding whether the Japanese manji should stay or not is preposterous as well as disrespectful. 4. Deleting the Japanese manji from public view will set an unreasonable and highly questionable precedent regarding places and countries where the manji is also used e.g. India where it is a lucky charm protecting people from evil and where it is painted on most auto-rikshas and trucks besides it obviously being visible at Hindu religious ceremonies and festivals. Japan should not put itself into an awkward position where it might seem to suggest that other nations follow this folly. Options this petition suggests the Japanese government considers taking instead of replacing the manji symbols: 1. Printing out cost effective leaflets to be handed out to visitors coming to Japan through its (air)ports, wherein other cultural differences can be addressed as well. Since these materials will only be distributed to tourists/visitors, no resources, time and funds will be wasted on those who are already aware of the real meaning of the manji symbol. 2. Explaining this manji "controversy" on all tourist-related websites in order to further educate those who are ignorant and thus further spread "the news" e.g. the indisputable and justifiable facts related to the culture and history of Japan(ese).
Petition to Balaji temple
Balaji temple: Save our Temple in the legal battle to keep Temple owned & run by devotees
Shri Venkateswara (Balaji) Temple in Tividale has grown into the Largest Hindu Temple in Europe a most remarkable achievement of the Hindu community in the UK. Built on reclaimed brown field land with contribution from many devotees as well as a matching grant of £3.3 million from the Millennium commission, it’s a solid, practical, heavily used living organisation . Over 10 000 school children visit the Temple a year. Interfaith activities have helped with community cohesion and made our Temple an outstanding beacon of peace. Unfortunately the governing documents (constitution) lacked democracy , transparency and accountability to stakeholders. This has led to a number of issues over the years. Vital changes were drawn up after wide consultation. Following attempts at implementation of these changes, a few former Trustees have attempted to take over the ownership and management of the Temple by reactivating a dormant company and filing a case in the high court. Please help us in the legal battle to keep the Temple run and owned by the devotees that use it.
Petition to Birmingham City Council
Ban religious street preachers in Birmingham City Centre
The growth in the number of street preachers in Birmingham city centre over the last few years has become a blight on the city. Not only are there more and more as each month goes by, but they are now competing with each other on who can shout the loudest and we are even being preached to on loud speaker! There is nothing wrong with the odd busker singing for our entertainment, but when it comes to religion being shoved down our throats while we are innocently getting on with a bit of shopping in our beloved bullring shopping centre it simply is distracting and irritating! Birmingham city centre is a popular place for shopping and people from other cities might want to enjoy the jolly birmingham atmosphere and cheap prices, yet when they arrive from new street station the first thing they are confronted with is religion, not a quiet pamphlet no, a loud intrusive speaker or a preacher shouting from the top of his lungs! Its an embarrassment. Birmingham is a cosmopolitan city with a lot to offer. Lets join together to help restore peace and tranquility while we do our shopping!
Petition to Theresa May MP
Remove Sadiq Khan as the Mayor of London!
Sadiq Khan has a long and unbroken career of collaboration and involvement with Islamists, hate preachers, terrorist godfathers, sexists, homophobes and extremists. He speaks at rallies with the black flag of jihad flying and where women are treated as second class citizens. Khan spoke next to the man who trained the ringleader of the 7/7 bombers. He also once has shared an platform with Muslim extremist Sulaiman Ghani. He wants to stop people from speaking against Islam! Here is more evidence why he is dangerous and should be removed from Mayor and from the UK altogether! Sadiq Khan exposed!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAel9PVCtd4 London is in trouble' for voting Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uw0aBd-ep4k Reaction to London Electing Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan - London Has Truly Fallen #LondonHasFallen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JYQGAvfXXg London has now truly fallen to Islam and is no longer an British city! This is disgraceful and we must remove him ASAP and take back our capital! Please sign this petition and share this out far and wide to all your friends and family! They must know the truth about him!
Petition to Church of Scotland
Stop Larbert Old Church from closure
This Petition is to halt the closure of Larbert Old Church. As it stands, the last service will be held on the 31st of July, 2016. This has come as a harsh blow to the Larbert community, and feel we must do all we can to save this iconic landmark, which is the hub of our tight knit village. Our Church is the building, a statement of intent, a shared space, and a sanctuary. We must stop this being taken away and leaving us with no church within Larbert.