Indian Catholic News

Sri Lanka to ban animal sacrifice

Buddhist-majority country plans law to stamp out practice after pressure from activists.

 
Colombo: 

Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka is planning to ban all forms of ritual sacrifice at Hindu religious festivals in the face of opposition from animal protection activists.

Animals sacrificed include goats, chickens and buffalo calves, with the animals often left to bleed to death.

But the government has announced it will draft a new national law to stem the age-old practice.

Campaigners appealed to the country’s president, Maithripala Sirisena, as well as securing victories in regional courts, including a 2013 local sacrifice ban in northwestern Chilaw.

Jaffna high court, in the country’s north, in 2017 banned all forms of animal sacrifice.

People offer animal sacrifices to Hindu deities when seeking divine intervention for purposes ranging from punishing enemies to passing examinations.

During sacrificial ceremonies men slaughter animals, usually goats or chickens, with a sword in front of women, children and other faithful.

Sharmini Ratnayake, secretary of the Sri Lanka Animal Protection Association and Animal Welfare Trust, said pressure would be maintained on the government to abide by an undertaking to legislate on the issue.

More than 300 Buddhist monks presented a petition to the government with 750,000 signatures opposing the practice.

Government religious affairs officials have said a cabinet paper would be released for public discussion before legislation was drafted.

Buddhist and Hindu representatives are to be involved in the drafting process.

Niroshan Kodikara, who has vowed to make a sacrifice at a Hindu temple, said it had been a religious custom for many centuries.

And he noted that Muslims sacrificed cattle at their homes during the annual Hajj festival.

In Hindu-majority India, no legal ban exits on the ritual sacrificing of animals.

However, cattle are not sacrificed because Hindus regard them as sacred.

Last August, India’s Supreme Court confirmed that animal sacrifice remains legal, including for the Muslim feast of Bakrid as well as for Hindu rituals.

Source:UCAN

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