BAWA recently ran a series of seminars entitled “Animal Welfare in Hinduism – A Call For Action” for university students in Bali from 19 – 26 April. These seminars, held in four main cities in Bali, had as their aim to increase the students’ awareness about animal welfare and called upon them to provide better care for the animals in their communities. The seminars featured Key Note Speaker Dr Nandhita Krishna – a well respected Hindu scholar from India and two Balinese High Priests, Ida Pedanda Made Gunung and Ida Pandita Mpu Parama Dharma. BAWA representative, Gusti Ngurah Bagus also spoke. The seminars opened with BAWA’s presentation on the five freedom principles of animal welfare and current welfare issues in Bali, including dog fighting, the dog meat trade, dog caging and chaining, and many other aspects of animal cruelty. Then, Dr. Krishna and the priests talked about animals in Hinduism and how the students – the majority of whom are Hindus-should care about their
animals as dharma (good deed).We were very pleased to see the students enthusiastically listening to the speakers and actively involve themselves in rigorous discussions. At the end of each seminar, the students discussed what they could do to help stop animal cruelty in Bali. Seeing the students’ commitment to help animals in Bali gave strength to our belief in education being the key to a kinder world for the animals of Bali. “I have two dogs at home and one of them is chained. Before I did not know that dog chaining was cruel. After this (the seminar) I will unchain my dogs”, said Ketut – a student of Hindu Dharma Institute. We believe that from little things, big things grow. We’d like to thank WSPA for funding these seminars, all the speakers who inspired us, the committee and participants and our supporters. Without you, we would not be able to run our education program. By working together, we can make a difference.