Today’s word karuna came to mind because of a new campaign from the Humane Society of the United States called “All Creatures Great and Small” that aims to increase awareness about our moral responsibilities to animals, including those raised for food.
Noting that most religions call upon followers to live by principles of charity and compassion, the campaign urges people of faith in particular to take a small change in their daily lives by eating fewer eggs or switching to cage-free eggs or egg substitutes for a month as an act of compassion for farm animals.
HSUS’s concern is for the millions of egg-laying hens in the U.S. who spend their lives in wire cages so restrictive the birds can’t spread their wings.
I’ll spare you the gory details — as they’re quite gory — but just know that cartons labeled “cage free” generally means the hens have better lives than those confined in battery cages.
And now the word of the day:
From Sanskrit, in which karuna means compassion.
Here’s a newspaper quote using karuna, thanks to the A.Word.A.Day archives:
“Once we experience and feel this inter-dependence of all living beings, we will cease to hurt, humiliate, exploit and kill another. We will want to free all sentient beings from suffering. This is karuna, compassion, which in turn gives rise to the responsibility to create happiness and its causes for all.”
– Suresh Jindal; Interdependence of All Living Beings; The Times of India (New Delhi); Nov 13, 2003