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Ethical Issues - animals & religious views

We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form.  ~William Ralph Inge, Outspoken Essays, 1922

Animal ethics -  Rational argument about the right and wrong way to treat animals is made more difficult by the deep love that many of us feel for animals. For philosophers it raises fundamental questions about the basis of moral rights.

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/ethics/animals/index.shtml

Hindu sacrifice of 250,000 animals begins 

Cheers and protests as thousands of buffalo are decapitated at start of festival in Nepal honouring Hindu goddess Gadhimai 
Tuesday 24 November 2009 Olivia Lang in Bariyapur - guardian.co.uk,

The world's biggest animal sacrifice began in Nepal today with the killing of the first of more than 250,000 animals as part of a Hindu festival in the village of Bariyapur, near the border with India. The event, which happens every five years, began with the decapitation of thousands of buffalo, killed in honour of Gadhimai, a Hindu goddess of power.

With up to a million worshippers on the roads near the festival grounds, this year's fair seems more popular than ever, despite vocal protests from animals rights groups who have called for it to be banned. "It is the traditional way, " explained 45-year old Manoj Shah, a Nepali driver who has been attending the event since he was six, "If we want anything, and we come here with an offering to the goddess, within five years all our dreams will be fulfilled." .

Crowds thronged the roads and camped out in the open, wrapped in blankets against the cool mist. The festivities included a ferris wheel, fortune-telling robots and stalls broadcasting music and offering tea and sugary snacks. As dawn broke, the fair officially opened with the sacrifice of two rats, two pigeons, a pig, a lamb and a rooster in the main temple, to cheers of "Long live Gadhimai" from spectators pushing against each other for a better view.

In the main event, 250 appointed residents with traditional kukri knives began their task of decapitating more than 10,000 buffalo in a dusty enclosure guarded by high walls and armed police.

Frightened calves galloped around in vain as the men, wearing red bandanas and armbands, pursued them and chopped off their heads. Banned from entering the animal pen, hundreds of visitors scrambled up the three-metre walls to catch a glimpse of the carnage.

The dead beasts will be sold to companies who will profit from the sale of the meat, bones and hide. Organisers will funnel the proceeds into development of the area, including the temple upkeep.

On the eve of the event, protesters made a final plea to organisers by cracking open coconuts in a nearby temple as a symbolic sacrifice. "It is cruel and inhumane. We've always been a superstitious country, but I don't think sacrifice has to be part of the Hindu religion," said the protest organiser, Pramada Shah.

The campaign has the support of the French actor Brigitte Bardot, who has petitioned the Nepalese prime minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal, about the issue. But the government, which donated £36,500 to the event, has shown no sign of discontinuing the centuries-old tradition. An attempt by the previous government to cut the budget for animal sacrifice provoked street protests.

Chandan Dev Chaudhary, a Hindu priest, said he was pleased with the festival's high turnout and insisted tradition had to be kept. "The goddess needs blood," he said. "Then that person can make his wishes come true."

Comment:  A bloodbath of such senseless and immense cruelty.  Some heartbreaking pictures of the sacrificed beings:

World Cup Animal Slaughter 


December 2, 2009 Sharon seltzer, Care2


For the second time in less than two-weeks, another senseless animal sacrifice is about to occur in the guise of a ritual to bless humans.  On November 24, 2009 Hindu followers in Nepal participated in a two-day religious ceremony that killed between 200,000 – 300,000 innocent animals to satisfy the deity – Gadhimai. And on December 5th the people of South Africa are preparing to stage their own brutal sacrifice to bless their success in a “game of football.” 


The FIFA Soccer World Cup is the international premier football event and for the first time in its history the game will be hosted by an African nation. This was quite an achievement for South Africa who beat out 203 other countries for the honor of hosting the event.  And since 2004 they have been building stadiums and the infrastructure to accommodate the large number of soccer fans that plan to watch the games in June and July 2010.  


Now that the project is completed, the Zulu king and his spiritual leaders called the Makhonya Royal Trust are calling for a “true African” way to bless the upcoming tournament.  They want to sacrifice a bull in each stadium during a festival.


The custom is called Ukweshwama and it is the practice of killing a bull with a person’s bare hands.  It typically involves a large group of young men who pull the cow to the ground and attack until he is dead.  The slaughter is painful and slow.


The chairman of the Royal Trust said in an interview with Reuters news agency, “We sacrifice the cow for this great achievement and we call on our ancestors to bless, to grace, to ensure that all goes well.  The World Cup will be on the African continent and we will make sure that African values and cultures are felt by the visitors.”


The crisis has received a lot of attention from the international media and worldwide animal rights organizations. Members of Care2 started a petition to stop the sacrifice. 


However on a local basis only one group called Animal Rights Africa took action and brought the Zulu king to court.  This resulted in a stalemate between the two sides when the judge was unable to make a decision. It appears that the international pressure was too much for the judge and he turned it over to the South Africa High Court.  They called for a meeting with the parties involved and are expected to make a ruling soon.


Sadly, FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) which is the governing body for the World Cup has remained silent.  And no one has heard complaints from the sponsors of the event: Budweiser, Continental, MTN, McDonalds, Satyam, Castrol, Adidas, Coca Cola, Sony, Visa and Emirates.


Even the National Council for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which is the governing body of the SPCA’s in Africa, has not objected to the slaughter.  They told the BBC their only request is that the ritual be “done in a humane way” and they “want to be involved in the process to ensure the welfare of the cattle.”


To make matters worse, one judge in the High Court told the South Africa Sapa news agency, “The activity was as important to the Zulu tradition as the Holy Communion was to Catholics.” 


The fate of the bulls is expected soon, but the odds seem stacked against them.  So more than likely, on Saturday December 5, 2009 a group of innocent animals will be led into shiny, new soccer stadiums and brutally killed by civilized people in honor of a game of football.

Zulu king wins South Africa bull-killing case

December 4, 2009   BBC News

Animal sacrifice is a vital part of life for many South Africans. A bull-killing ritual can go ahead on Saturday after a court ruled against an animal rights group which tried to have the practice banned in South Africa. The bull is killed during the Ukushwama ritual, an annual thanksgiving event in Kwa-Zulu Natal, in which youngsters kill the animal using their hands.  

Animal Rights Africa took the Zulu king and the government to court over the manner in which the bull is killed.  ARA says it will consult its lawyers on what do next.  

During his judgement the Pietermaritzburg High Court, Judge Nic van der Reyden said he was satisfied with the evidence of cultural expert Professor Jabulani Mapalala that the ARA's objection to the ritual was based on untrue information and hearsay, reports Sapa news agency.  

'Cruel and protracted' 

ARA claimed that the killing took some 40 minutes and involved dozens of men trampling on the beast as they tried to break its neck. The organisation described the killing as "cruel and protracted". ARA's Michelle Pikover told the BBC that it took King Goodwill Zwelithini to court "as a last resort".  

"There had been various attempts over the years by other organisations to approach the Zulu royal household to engage them on that particular aspect - the manner in which the animal is killed. "There've been no meetings at all. In fact the door has been completely closed… which is why we took the matter to court," she said.  The court's decision has caused mixed reactions.  

Inkatha Freedom Party Member of Parliament, Albert Mncwango told the BBC that the killing "doesn't even take a minute".  

Mr Mncwango has to attend a number of these ceremonies and says they are an important part of Zulu culture.  "As a Zulu I am very happy that I am going to participate in a cultural practice that is very sacred and dear to us as Zulu people," he said.  A time to "thank God for the first fruits of the season".  

Ms Pikover said she was "very disappointed at the ruling".  "It's a very sad day for dignity, respect and compassion," she told the BBC. The ritual is to take place in Kwa-Nongoma in President Jacob Zuma's home province.

Nepal must stop inhumane sacrificial slaughter 

June 5, 2014 CIWF  

We, the undersigned, call for an end to the mass, inhumane slaughter that takes place at the Gadhimai sacrificial festival and urge the Government of Nepal to stop funding Gadhimai and all inhumane slaughter festivals.  Read more and please sign: http://action.ciwf.org.uk/ea-action/action? (Link now inactive)

We must stop this barbarism: Up to 250,000 farm animals were inhumanely slaughtered as part of the Nepalese festival ‘Gadhimai’ which last took place in 2009 – this November the slaughter is set to take place all over again. The Gadhimai Festival takes place every five years in the Bara District of Nepal, south of Kathmandu.

The Nepalese Hindu Forum UK completely opposes animal sacrifice as Hinduism does not sanction the killing of living being. There should not be any place for this inhumane, barbaric sacrifice of innocent animals in the name of any religion. Surya Upadhya, Chairman

Victory!! India blocking transport of animals for Gadhamai Festival Sacrifice

August 23, 2014  

Breakthrough in Nepal Sacrifice Campaign! Last Chance for Animals and Animal Equality

The Indian government has issued a new directive to stop transport of animals across the Nepalese border during the Gadhimai festival, where the largest animal sacrifice in the world occurs every five years. About 500,000 animals are typically killed at the festival — but now, it’s estimated that MORE THAN 200,000 ANIMALS WILL NOT BE SENT TO SLAUGHTER, due to India’s support. LCA is non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating animal exploitation through education, investigations, legislation, and media attention.

September 2, 2014 Indian court bans animal sacrifice

E-mail The Embassy of Nepal, Ottawa, Canada

His Excellency, Dr. Bhoj Raj Ghimire, Ambassador to Canada; Mr. Kapil Mani Ghimire, Attaché

nepalembassy@rogers.com  kmgkapil@gmail.com

November 28, 2014 Nepal's killing fields: FIVE THOUSAND buffalo lie slaughtered at the beginning of Hindu ceremony which sees up to 300,000 animals killed to bring worshippers good luck

December 3, 2014 In the Gadhimai aftermath, reasons for hope; 2019 running out of hope, Gadhimai persists

Read more: Notes from the field: witnessing the mass slaughter at Gadhimai (The Guardian)

July 29, 2015 Nepal Temple Bans Animal Sacrifice at Gadhimai Festival; 2019 Gadhimai bloodshed continues

Comment: We’ll have to see if in reality this outmoded, senseless, and barbaric tradition actually comes to an end. Compassion, wisdom, and enlightenment are critical to the moral progress of society.
For when an injustice is absolute, one must oppose it absolutely. Tom Regan

Ottawa-area Muslims worry about lamb sacrifice

November 6, 2010 CBC News

Some Muslims in Canada's capital region are worried that they may be fined for sacrificing lambs during November's Eid al-Adha celebrations.

Since 2005 it has been illegal in Ontario for anyone but the owner of a licensed abattoir to buy livestock and slaughter it independently. Last fall, a Muslim man was fined $2,000 for slaughtering and distributing lamb, and another man is scheduled to appear in court next week for killing a pig.

Abed Abufarha used to celebrate Eid by going to farms to slaughter lambs himself. But this year he will head to an abattoir in Pakenham, Ont., to get his lamb meat. He said the regulations have changed a tradition he used to bring his family to. "It's getting really serious. They're just so sharp about it. They want to stop it right away," said Abufarha. "There's big fines for slaughtering meat outside of a slaughterhouse."

Many Muslims in the Ottawa area have begun booking lambs to sacrifice for their Eid feast on Nov. 16, and say they'll risk killing the animals themselves. Akram Elmuradi has already paid for 10 live lambs he plans to sacrifice with friends. "I myself take joy in the kill itself," Elmuradi said. "It's a tradition. … Nobody's going to stop you from doing something you believe in."

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture says it only investigates if a complaint is filed. Still, the penalties can be severe. The maximum fine under the Food Safety and Quality act is $25,000.

Comment: Muslims around the world will celebrate Eid al-Adha this November, a tradition that includes sacrificing lambs and other animals. Sadly, animals and poultry are bred just to be murdered in the name of culture, religion, tradition, or celebration. Doomed from day one. The bloody inhumanity of man is everywhere.

April 13, 2013 Christian Ethics: Are They Found Wanting With Regard to Factory Farming?  (Yes!!)

Man prays for mercy, but is unwilling to extend it to others. Why should man then expect mercy from God? It's unfair to expect something that you are not willing to give. It is inconsistent. I can never accept inconsistency or injustice. Isaac Bashevis Singer

September 13, 2013 Killing of chickens in Jewish ritual draws protests; stop the bloodshed!


The cruelty and torture inflicted upon defenseless animals is an aberration of justice and a violation of the innocent at its core.