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Bhutan: Fascinating facts about country that prohibits killing animals, birds

Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, is known for its monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys.

In the High Himalayas, peaks such as 7,326m Jomolhari are popular trekking destinations.

Paro Taktsang monastery (also known as Tiger’s Nest) clings to cliffs above the forested Paro Valley.

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Carbon negative

Bhutan is the only carbon negative country in the world, which means that it absorbs more carbon dioxide than it produces.

In recent years, firewood collection and industrial development have been a pressing issue for Bhutan as they have resulted in pollution and emission of about 2.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

However, its lush forests which act as a carbon sink and absorb most of the carbon dioxide, it is carbon negative.

Refusing food

Bhutanese manners dictate that you are to refuse food whenever it’s offered to you.

The tradition is to say the words “meshu meshu” and cover your mouth with your hands.

You can give in, though, after two or three offers.

No traffic lights

Roads are a rather dangerous adventure in Bhutan with steep curves in the mountainous regions.

Herds of animals like cows and buffaloes can be found freely roaming on these roads.

In fact, people stop to greet each other in the middle of the way, however, the Bhutanese drive very slowly and cautiously, so traffic lights are not required.

GDP not an indication of economic growth

Bhutan does not believe in GDP as an indicator of economic growth and development, introducing another measurement known as Gross National Happiness.

Bhutanese people have four pillars or quantitative indicators for the measure of GNH, which are sustainable development, preservation and promotion of cultural values, good governance and a healthy environment.

No smoking in public places

Smoking and usage of tobacco products are prohibited in public places in Bhutan like cinema halls, restaurants and streets.

Designated areas have been created for smokers, and if anyone is caught breaking the law, imprisonment for 3 to 5 years can be imposed.

Cultivation, harvesting and sale of tobacco are also strictly prohibited.

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Illegal to kill animal or birds

Bhutanese are not allowed to kill any animals or birds. They take environmental conservation pretty seriously.

This law comes from the traditional values of Buddhist teachings, which prohibits the killing of any living organism.

All the meat is imported from other countries.

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