Question: Can one who feeds strays be considered doing Bodhisattva practice?
Answer: It depends on whether the animals are fed with other animals (meat and produce – that come from killing, and/or from exploited animals who are eventually killed). There is this consideration as true Bodhisattva practices are motivated by Bodhicitta, which is the noblest aspiration, to help all beings, and to guide them to Buddhahood.
To an animal being meat-fed, the feeder probably feels like a Bodhisattva. However, to the animal being fed as meat, if aware of this, the feeder is surely no Bodhisattva at all. True Bodhisattvas, being powered by Bodhicitta, always help beings without direct or indirect harming of other beings. Where difficult, the incidental harm must be as indirect and minimal as possible.
While some might feel that feeding animals with other animals falls in the category of inevitable, indirect and minimal harm, this is not so – if it goes on indefinitely, with continual direct purchase of meat. One then becomes firmly tied to the supply-demand of murder-for-meat, which in large quantities is not minimal harm at all. Kinder (vegan) foods should thus be looked into.
Why Do Buddhists Avoid Meat-Eating & Practise Animal Liberation?
‘The Secret Life Of Pets’: The Missed Deaths Of Many Other Animals