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Animal Sacrifice

 

Blood on our hands

 

Animal sacrifice is cruel, primitive and brutalising. It's time to end it.

 

The Tamil Nadu Animal and Bird Sacrifices Prohibition Act of 1950 clearly prohibits sacrifice i1t temples, as do similar laws in many other states. The State Government wants to enforce the prohibition - and rightly so. The response has been shocking. One section of the media has opposed the government directive because they oppose Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. The opportunistic communists have come out in support of animal sacrifice - whatever happened to Marxist rationalism and atheism? Someone else has flied a PIL. A former minister, also a well-known lawyer, has objected. Do we really want to go back to our primitive past?

 

Blood sacrifice was common to all ancient cultures and religions. Ancient Hindus and Jews did it; Muslims continue to do it (during Id). There are scenes of human and animal sacrifice on Harappan seals. The first to speak out against bloody sacrifices were the rishis of the Upanishads. The chief message of the Buddha and Mahavira was to stop the killing of innocent animals. In time, the sacrifice of people and animals came to be regarded as primitive and cruel. Interestingly, scenes of animal sacrifice are rare in classical temple sculpture or painting.

 

Till the 20th century, human beings --especially the unwanted girl child -were regularly sacrificed in India. Education resulted in a public outcry against the practice and the government responded by banning human sacrifice, although we still hear of occasional lapses. But mere banning is never sufficient, and any change in attitude and action owes much to individuals such as the late Krishna Iyer in Tamil Nadu and Peela Ramakrishna in Andhra Pradesh. The former went around persuading people to "break" a pumpkin instead of killing an animal or bird. The latter took the police to the remotest villages to stop sacrifices. Such was the commitment of these men.

 

Animal sacrifice is particularly brutal. Buffaloes, goat and roosters are queued up as in a slaughterhouse, crying as they watch the others die and await their turn. Blood flows everywhere. Sometimes the worshippers anoint themselves with it; most times, they drink it even as it flows out. After the sacrifice, the priest may garland himself with the entrails. After beheading the buffalo, the chopped-off legs may be placed in its mouth, the fat spread over its eyes. The worst form of sacrifice is live impalement. It is altogether too gory. Is this what the Gods want?

 

Blood sacrifice was regarded as magic, a tool to propitiate or please a god, to fulfill a vow and as a sacrament. The animal (and, formerly, person) could be a scapegoat for human sins or inexplicable natural phenomena, or a vehicle to carry away the collected demons or ills of an entire community. It seems very unfair that a little goat or a peaceful buffalo should be made responsible for events beyond their comprehension or control. Ancient peoples performed sacrifices to (control negative forces, particularly disease, in the belief that any blood would satisfy the bloodthirsty spirit. The animal was sacrificed to "save" a human life. Today, medicine performs tile task more efficiently.

 

Animal sacrifices continue in villages all over India. The beginning of the planting season and Navaratri are particularly bad periods, when large numbers of animals, particularly buffaloes, are killed to propitiate local goddesses and thus ensure fertility. In the Himalayan states and the East, animals are sold by weight to be sacrificed to Devi during Navaratri, to re-enact killing of the buffalo-demon Mahisha. The confrontation between the Goddess and the buffalo goes back to a totemic period when the worshippers of the former defeated the worshippers of the latter. Unfortunately the memory of that confrontation lives on in the brutality of buffalo sacrifice.

 

There is a distinct gender bias in sacrifice. The male god - generally an aspect of Shiva or Vishnu - is regarded as benign and peaceful, an austere yogi or a benevolent provider. The female -a form of Shakti - is blood-thirsty; violent and cruel. She may be Kali, with sharp, protruding canine teeth, or Mari, the smallpox goddess, or any one else. Every village in South and Eastern India, has bloodthirsty village goddesses who reinforce the myth of the wicked witch, always a woman. The former is controlled by blood, the latter by society. Women are potentially evil, according to this belief, and must be kept under control. They are drinkers of blood and consumers of human and animal flesh, and any insufficiency in their propitiation will, it is believed, invite their wrath and inflame their cruel natures. The Sapta Matrikas (seven mothers/sisters/virgins); the various forms of Kali and Mari and all village goddesses have longing for blood and a reputation for cruelty. Their images are ugly and frightening, both in appearance and behaviour.

 

What an awful image of women, which is ingrained in the Indian psyche! Surely the mother who procreates and nurtures deserves a better reputation? While the temples to the male Gods" are beautiful, majestic buildings that inspire awe and "serenity, Devi temples are small, dark and dingy, situated outside the city in a sacred grove that is the haunt of dead spirits. Thus supporting animaI sacrifice is supporting both gender inequity and perpetuating myths about the evil that is woman. Male spirits who demand sacrifice are generally the Goddess' lieutenants, who have developed a taste for blood. This image was created to justify the suppression of women.

 

Another little-known aspect is economic. Animal sacrifices are promoted by moneylenders, who freely give loans for the occasion and thus get illiterate villagers into their clutches. The wielders of the knife are often butchers who officiate as priests and charge for their services. The cost of a buffalo runs into thousands, a goat, sheep or rooster into hundreds. Add the cost of the feast and the poojari's fees, and the result is a hole in the pocket. There is a mafia that benefits from the conduct of animal sacrifices, which keeps the lower strata in permanent bondage. This becomes a vicious cycle. The animal sacrifices purport to improve their situation. But they tie the votaries, who generally belong to the lowest classes and castes, in economic chains, where they remain forever. Obviously, the gods are not pleased.

 

Sacrifice means giving up something precious to oneself. Thus Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his son, while Shunahshepas offered himself to be sacrificed. Buying and killing an innocent animal does not fit the bill. The sacrifice probably originated among totemic tribes who sacrificed the animal totem to acquire its strength or wisdom. Conquering tribes would sacrifice the animal totem of the defeated tribe to signify victory. In the choice of the buffalo to be killed, there is an obvious racial message: that the dark-coloured, slothful and ugly animal deserves to die.

 

Animal sacrifice is cruel, disgusting and primitive. Bloody sacrifices brutalise the viewer, confusing the distinction between right and wrong. If one man supports animal sacrifice, another will support human sacrifice, the killing of children and sati. How can any of these be permitted in a civilised society? All cultures and religions evolve, discarding ugly Practices. Over the years, we have learned to identify and repudiate negative aspects of Hinduism, such as sati and the caste system. Animal sacrifice is another cruelty that must be rejected and discarded. It is surprising to hear educated people talk of "customary practice". Religion should be value-based and ennobling. Sacrifice is neither: It is cruel and disgusting. We need to rise above petty political differences to support the implementation of a good law.

 

Nanditha Krishna
Director
C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation

Creations, Sunday Express, September 14, 2003

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End to elephant cruelty: Circuses charged for keeping animals in inhuman condition

No more elephants kicking footballs or standing on two legs in circuses across the country as the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEFCC) has cancelled registration of seven such operators for keeping the animal in 'inhuman' condition.
So far, MoEFCC has deregistered 21 of 22 registered circuses in India under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, banning the training, exhibition and use of elephants for performances.

Even the sole registered circus is being evaluated. The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) - the Central government body responsible for oversight of zoos and captive wildlife animals-found 'gross violations' of the Zoo Rules, 2009 and the guidelines issued by CZA, following which it has cancelled registration of seven circus operators under section 38H(6) of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

These operators are Empire Circus, Great Golden Circus, Ajanta Circus, Great Apollo Circus, Kohinoor Circus, Natraj Circus and Raj Kamal Circus. Earlier this year, five other circuses were also de-registered. The evaluation team of CZA found substantial evidence of cruelty and abuse against the elephants.

WHERE ARE THE CIRCUSES GOING WRONG?

The evaluation was done along with animal rights NGOs and veterinarians. According to the CZA, circuses cannot make animals perform without having proper facilities as prescribed under the Recognition of Zoo Rules, 2009.

This includes proper housing with adequate space, waste management, no display of sick animals, ensuring the animals are not stressed, and given proper medical care. But all the circuses evaluated were found violating the norms.

CZA's member secretary DN Singh confirmed to Mail Today, "Based on a series of investigations, deregistration process was carried out. The investigations show that the animals were being maintained in circuses in cruel conditions and were tortured to extract performances.

Some of the circus owners even submitted morphed photographs to us in a bid to claim that animals were kept well," said Singh, adding that CZA has adopted a virtually fullproof method to shut down circuses based on solid evidence such as videos and has also directed the chief wildlife wardens of states to rehabilitate the elephants from derecognised circuses.

"We along with CZA went to all the circus to check the status of wild animals and found that they were in deplorable condition. The elephants could hardly move because of injuries and pain. They are chained and even banned pointed metal sticks were used to train animals by hurting them," said Prashanth V Achariya, campaign manager, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO). FIAPO has been running 'end to circus suffering' campaign against torture of animals in circus.
"Our finding revealed that the elephants were suffering from infectious diseases, permanent physical and mental disorders, he said.

Source:
indiatoday.intoday.in/story/elephant-cruelty-circus-central-zoo-authority/1/829480.html
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Drunk Delhi resident saws puppy's leg

They call him a "monster". A day after Mail Today reported about Dwarka resident Pramod sawing off a puppy's legs , fellow tea sellers in the area recounted how he caught pigeons in the past and then roasted and ate them.

Neighbours were wary of the 34-year-old because of his violent and cruel behaviour towards animals as well as his wife and six children. "Usually in the afternoon, Pramod would come to the park and catch pigeons. Later in the evening, he would roast them and have them with a few drinks," said Sanjay, a 35-year-old tea vendor.

An animal rights activist had told Mail Today that according to Pramod's wife, he had brought home a monkey a few months ago and then chopped it up.

"PLEASE FORGIVE ME"

The accused admitted to this reporter that he had severed the puppy's legs. "I chopped off the legs of the dog because I was drunk. I had beaten my wife that day because she was trying to protect it," he said casually. "Please forgive me." He also confessed that he has been booked in another case after a relative alleged that he had stolen some clothes and utensils from his house in Dwarka. But Pramod is out on bail.

When asked how he planned to provide for his six children, Pramod blamed his wife for never stopping him in the name of family planning. While the couple's eldest child is nine years old, the youngest is six months old. Sources say Pramod earns Rs 400-500 per day and consumes alcohol daily with the help of some ex-colleagues. He earlier worked as a bus conductor but was dismissed because of violent behaviour.

Then, he took up a job as a labourer, but was forced to leave again for the same reason. He is unemployed right now but sometimes helps his wife at their tea stall inside their rented house. The couple's nine-year-old daughter told Mail Today that every time she wants to play, her father forces her to work and wash utensils.

"If I don't, he threatens to kill me," Nandini said. "When my brother and I asked my father that what had happened to the legs of the puppy, he told us that it was run over by a car." A fresh complaint was given to the station house officer at the local police station asking cops to file an FIR under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and perhaps also under Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code.

Mail Today has a copy of the complaint filed on Wednesday by animal rights activist Gaurav Sharma and the FIR was finally registered at night. "We will take action against the accused," said Surendra Kumar, deputy commissioner of police (south-west).

Source:
indiatoday.intoday.in/story/animal-cruelty-puppy-leg-dwarka-resident-pramod/1/829482.html
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His name is Veera (fondly called 'pattu kutti') and he's LUCKY TO BE ALIVE. Please spread the word and help him find a home. This is his story.

Two months ago, he was found on the street. He had collapsed and was nearly dead. He had been bitten by another dog and left with holes in his throat and behind his ears and fractures in his head. And more bite wounds on his back. He developed abscesses. He endured long and painful treatment before finally healing. We saw an indomitable will to survive in a puppy who was barely three months old. He wears all his scars like badges of honour.

Today, Veera is an absolute bundle of love. He's very affectionate, likes lap cuddling, is very vocal ('talks' a lot) and loves being around other dogs. Has the cutest, kiss-worthy face. Long legs, long snout..... I suspect he's going to grow to be very tall, athletic and dashing. He's a big foodie and sunbathes a lot. Veera's fully vaccinated. He's looking for a loving home in Chennai or Bangalore. He's currently in Chennai. To adopt, please call 9500058836.
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