As the birthday of Lord Krishna is approaching, I am constantly thinking of the peacock feather tucked into his crown. Krishna surely wasn't a vegan the way we define it today. But the tales do speak a lot about his relationships with the cows and other creatures. There are many stories about the peacock feather in his crown. Whatever the reason is, we all know that it looks beautiful.
I recently purchased a peacock feather to keep little lizards away from my kitchen and my house. I didn't think about it twice. A little piece of decoration does not hurt. But did it hurt the peacock it was taken from? Now becoming V-aware, I am curious.
I know and have been told that birds automatically shed their feathers every year. These feathers are collected and sold. I bought the feathers very cheap (5 pieces for about a USD) and wonder why the price was so low. From what I know, plucking feathers from live birds does not hurt them but it is surely not the best way to get the feathers.
I hope the feather I have brought home was picked and not plucked. I am sure Lord Krishna did not pluck the feather from the bird, but picked one up from the ground. How can God not be a Vegan?
I have heard of feather plucking of other birds in different countries. Bird feather was also used for writing before pen was invented. I believe the problem is not with the usage but the greed that comes with commercializing everything. Some tales tell us that the peacock was honored when Lord Krishna put its feather on his crown. There are instances that tell that cows used to feel better in presence of Krishna.
Going a bit more into the story of Krishna, he was the one who stopped queens from bathing in cow milk. Every family in his town raised one or more cows and the milk was sent to the king's palace. Krishna stopped this practice and the calves started getting a good supply of their mothers' milk again. The stories are endless but the point was always clear. Be nice to the cows, respect them and only use the milk left after the calves have it.
If the queens didn't bathe with it, why should we? Why do we need milk in our soaps, our chocolates and ice creams and other things we enjoy for pleasure? It is not the companies but the consumers who are responsible for the bad fate 'holy' cows suffer. Its time we learn to differentiate between friend and food.
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Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)