Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mass Animal Sacrifice - Nothing Objectionable

When I first saw a news headline entitled, "Mass Animal Sacrifice Begins in Nepal," I was prepared to write about it as another example of religious stupidity and superstition. According to the report,
Over two days, 200,000 buffaloes, goats, chickens and pigeons will be killed as part of a blood-soaked festival held every five years to honour Gadhimai, a Hindu goddess of power.
At first glance, that looks like a typical example of senseless religious motivated slaughter. But then I read further.
Many Nepalis believe that sacrifices in Gadhimai's honour will bring them prosperity. They also believe that by eating the meat, which is taken back to their villages and consumed during feasts, they will be protected from evil.
Leaving aside the superstition, the article indicates that these animals will be eaten, and that the animals sacrificed are brought by the worshippers. In other words, the people in Nepal are sacrificing food animals that would eventually be eaten anyway. They are just doing it all at once in massive numbers, as part of a religious tradition. But once you strip away the religious trappings, what you have are people eating animals on a special occasion. I don't see anything objectionable about that. 

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