Tis the season to sacrifice animals for God, and activists around the world are rallying on behalf of the victims. Their protests are peaceful, and their message is simple: “Scripture doesn’t mandate sacrifice. Please use an alternative to animals.”
During the Gadhimai festival in Nepal, which takes place once every five years, Hindus slaughter about 500,000 animals, including buffalo, pigs, goats, chickens and pigeons. The sacrifice is made in honor of Gadhimai, the goddess of power, who “brings prosperity” to those who participate.
Animal Welfare Network Nepal, which staged a 50 person protest in Kathmandu on Sunday in advance of the mass animal slaughter, said, “We want to show that religious activities can be carried out without causing harm to animals.” According to the group, activists protested the festival in 24 countries. In the following video, one practitioner says, “I am praying to Gadhimai that my name becomes big in the engineering field.”
During Bakra Eid (Festival of the Sacrifice) on October 4th and 5th, Muslims slaughtered cows, camels, goats, sheep and rams to honor Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son to God.
In India, a Muslim woman from PETA, who promoted vegetarianism near the site of the slaughter, was mobbed by angry worshippers and arrested for “outraging religious feelings.” Dozens of media outlets reported on the incident, which brought her message of peace into millions of homes around the world.
Before Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, some sects of ultra-orthodox Jews transfer their sins to chickens by swinging them around their heads and slaughtering them. Protests in Brooklyn, where over 70,000 of hungry, dehydrated and weak chickens are killed each year, received international media attention.
In all three religions, practitioners invoke the name of God while killing her creatures. Attempting to counter “God said we should do this” with messages about compassion feels like a losing battle, but raising awareness, lobbying decision makers and shining an international spotlight on the abuse will slowly chip away at these barbaric religious rituals.