"Those who can turn away when an animal is in need will have difficulty recognizing a human in need." (Michael Aufhauser).
"An animal can be a wonderful teacher, by his mere presence, in its full being, in the now. Such characteristics are often said to be signs of enlightenment. The Bible says: Become as children again. This is a good way of spiritual development. I herewith refer to innocence, as often irradiated by small children and exemplified by animals. An animal lives manifesting its kind of beingness. It is never brutal or vicious, even if it eats other animals. It lives its animal nature and enjoys it. It would never think about how to harm other beings – such thoughts can only be spawned by a twisted human brain.
Animals help us to learn love and compassion. It is an act of kindness, when animals come to earth to be together with humans. Very often they take extremely much upon themselves and ultimately remind us, what love, forgiveness, trust, modesty, and being in the now really mean. For those who have eyes to see, they can be the greatest teachers."
During approximately 35 years of my education and research life, I have gained unforgettably pleasant and joyful experiences. However, again and again, I also had extremely unpleasant insights into truly gruesome experiments on animals and animal suffering due to the endless greed and striving for power of some people - at pharmaceutical companies, in universities, and in animal factories. Ever since then, I have wholeheartedly opposed animal testing: In my opinion, man has not the slightest ethical right to make other beings suffer for the benefit of his alleged own welfare. Instead, I rely on alternative ways of testing (e.g., surgical samples; cell and tissue cultures), on prevention, and on ethically and spiritually-oriented procedures and ways of life. Prior to publication of the scientific books I edited, I had asked the authors to submit such manuscripts only, where no animal suffering was involved - and fortunately, most of my colleagues respected my wish. I also published own articles dealing with ethically-orientated alternative methods (see publication list contained in my Curriculum Vitae).
A recent publication of the Austrian Ministry of Science (July 2009; quoted at www.salzburg24.at on 12.7.2009) stated that in 2008, the number of animals used in Austrian animal experiments has increased by 11.4 % compared to 2007. Unfortunately, this reflects a situation also present in Germany or Switzerland, and also in various other countries. Apparently, this is a general tendency, following an increasing “model adaptation” also caused by gene technologies. - In my eyes, this could be understood as an ethical confession of failure of all who were involved. Especially in the times of economic crisis it would be a good opportunity to concentrate on really humanitarian aid to all living beings and on spiritual interconnectedness.
In the area of food production, unimaginable and continuous suffering takes place. This is because people want to possess more and more, for less and less money. And because the supermarket chains use this "weakness" of human beings and make it part of their marketing campaigns. An increased "false need" for cheaper food is the result, resulting in increased cruelty - taking place in farm animals, rain forrests, affecting nature of the whole planet, and especially also human beings living in poorer countries. Politicians permit the kind of factory farming which I would describe as a legally allowed crime. I rate this situation as deeply degrading, painful, ruthless and in no way in concordance with Christian values or those of other religions. It does not at all go in line with any ethically and spiritually orientated attitude. In my website about nutrition, you will find numerous facts.
"The way a nation treats its animals shows its state of development." (Mahatma Gandhi).
I have been working on humanitarian projects for many years already. In the field of palliative care, I have organized numerous lectures and discussion groups visited by thousands of people. Those events were opinion-forming factors to implement hospices and palliative care centers in Salzburg and Austria. My closest companions were my wife Ursula Demarmels, Dr. Alois Grüner, Univ.-Prof. Dr. Gernot Pauser, Mrs. DGKS Elisabeth Manzl-Reichenpfader. The positive interactions between humans and animals in the area of palliative care was dealt with publicly during joint humanitarian projects and events with Mr. Michael Aufhauser, the founder of Europe’s largest animal care and animal rights center Gut Aiderbichl (see link list) and attracted great media coverage. Joint projects and publications on the subjects of animal experiments, animal welfare and ethically orientated nutrition were, inter alia, carried out with the world's only officially designated state animal advocate Dr. Antoine Goetschel (Zurich, Switzerland) and the Foundation for the Animal in the Law (Zurich) (see link list and below), and with Dr. Lukas Rist (Head of Research Department of the Paracelsus Hospital Richterswil near Zurich). One of the highlights resulting from those humanitarian projects was an invitation to private audience with Pope John Paul II in the Holy Year 2000 (see photos). Even in the Vatican, it was made very clear again, that the biblical story of creation is very often completely misunderstood: It should never be the goal to use animals and nature for any unilateral "best interests" of human beings. Man, animals and nature should live with each other having the mutual well-being of all involved in view, with respect and esteem, and act correspondingly.
In 2007, a special edition of the "Regulation of the Archdiocese of Salzburg sheet" with the title "House of Life: Guidelines for creation responsibility" was published. Archbishop Alois Kothgasser wrote: "We would like to become newly and increasingly aware of our spiritual foundations. Creation is a gift, and we humans are assigned to preserve it."
Those guidelines should serve as a tool to maintain the ecosystem viably. Contents of the text are ecological construction, the sustainable use of resources, environmental care, animal welfare, and also the sensible handling of devices that generate electromagnetic fields.
(Those parts edited in Italic are free quotes from Hacker / Demarmels: "The New Dimension of Health. Holistic Protection from Adverse Environmental Influences. A Guide Book Based on Scientific and Spiritual Viewpoints", see Books and CD).
Tipps for a better life - healthy, socially, ethically and spiritually, are given in Ursula Demarmels' "Presents of Light" (in German language).