Curse of Animal Sacrifice in all faiths
One wonders how a “festival” could be dedicated to, and “celebrated” by, mass killing of animals.
This post is not about being vegetarian, though I am one, but a cry against sacrifice of animals in the name of religion, or faith, mostly by Muslims slaughtering an animal on the occasion of Eid, or some Hindus sacrificing goats for Goddess, or Christians killing millions of turkey on Thanksgiving day.
On Bakri-Eid, or Eid-Al-Azha, Millions of animals – goats, camels, cattle – are slaughtered on that day in public as a symbolic substitute for a son. Educated people and celebrities proudly announce the astronomical sums they paid for a sacrificial goat. Onlookers applaud the slasher, laugh or pray while the poor animal slowly dies bleeding as if it were a sport.
The cruel practice of halal involves slitting the throat of the animal, letting the animal die struggling and thrashing for life, bleeding to death, while uttering a prayer, a ritual prescribed by scriptures which cannot be interpreted. Everyday, millions of animals are slaughtered in this cruel method in the name of faith.
While in Guwahati I visited the famous Kamakshi temple, where goats, chicken, and pidgeons are regularly brought by devotees for slaughter inside the temple and offered to the goddess. I spoke with a pandaa on the subject of a government ban on animal sacrifice. He shouted at me “Let the government dare to ban the slaughter! There will be riots! Devi/Shakti will lose her power if denied the sacrifice”.
It is not only the poor, rural illiterate who believe in this practice, many of our ministers are known to sacrifice goats in appeasement of the goddess in the expectation of jinxing an opponent or winning an election.
Christians celebrate Thanksgiving Day by eating turkey. Millions of turkey are killed to “thank” God! This feast is supposedly to commemorate the survival of European settlers through their first winter due to the abundance of buzzards and fowl in the region. It is also claimed that 25 November was celebrated annually by Christian Spaniards – “thankful” to God for the surrender in 1491 by the Arab moors who had been ruling Spain since 711 AD – by gory and bawdy acts of cannibalism on black slaves called “Turks”.(2)
People of the Farao islands, part of the kingdom of Denmark, annually celebrate the festival of “grindadráp”, a gruesome festival during which hundreds of whales are killed to prove adulthood (3).
If symbolism is important, then one could take the example of the Hindu practice to offer coconuts in fire! There is a distinction between Faith and Practices: Practices can be Re-interpreted and adapted and indeed reformed.
All faiths preach compassion. Compassion extends even to the animals killed for food. But it is only humans who are cruel to their prey, no other animal is cruel to its prey.(1)
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(1) Eid al-Azha, the Festival of Sacrifice: http://islam.about.com/od/hajj/a/adha.htm
(2) Jive Turkey: http://www.dherbs.com/articles/turkey-10.html
(3) “grindadráp”: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=d03_1322860142
People for Ethical Treatment of Animals: www.peta.org, www.petaindia.org