TED Conversations

Umesh Jung Thapa

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Should animal sacrifice continue in the name of God?

My stance: Stop Animals sacrifice, In The Name Of God.

Animal sacrifice is the ritual killing of an animal as part of a religion. It is practiced by many religions as a means of appeasing a god or gods or changing the course of nature. Animal sacrifice has turned up in almost all cultures, from the Hebrews to the Greeks and Romans and from the Aztecs to the Hindus
Animal Sacrifice mainly practiced in South Asia because of underdeveloped society and strong belief on religion. The world's biggest animal sacrifice occurs every five years in Nepal with the killing of the first of more than 250,000 animals as part of a Hindu festival in the village of Bariyapur, near the border with India.

The event, which happens every five years, began with the decapitation of thousands of buffalo, killed in honour of Gadhimai, a Hindu goddess of power.

With up to a million worshippers on the roads near the festival grounds, this year's fair seems more popular than ever, despite vocal protests from animals rights groups who have called for it to be banned. "It is the traditional way, " explained 45-year old Manoj Shah, a Nepali driver who has been attending the event since he was six, "If we want anything, and we come here with an offering to the goddess, within five years all our dreams will be fulfilled." Do God ask for Blood? The world is watching Nepal and India regarding in this matter, every five years, hundreds of men are licensed to kill buffalo, pigs, chickens, rates, goats and pigeons. This is totaly crule behavour. On a next five years goverment should have to take action to stop it. Or People who are aware of this should raise hands together to stop it.

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    Mar 12 2012: Such a brutal, heartless waste of life. I have always been confused by people defending the murder of animals with religion. To me, this is extreme hypocrisy. How about offering the Goddess some Indian sweets or some fresh roti or flowers? Or how about instead of hurting another living creature and causing pain and suffering, the people help those less fortunate than themselves. Perhaps their Goddess would appreciate that a lot more and maybe then their dreams won't take 5 long years to be fulfilled. And can I just ask, ARE all the dreams fulfilled? Because if not (and I'm guessing not), then perhaps it is time to review the history of the Incas and all the good that sacrifice did them...
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    Mar 10 2012: Dear Umesh,
    You ask a good question, which I do not have an answer to, but I will share my observations and perceptions. I happened to be in Egypt during one of these festivals/celebrations during which animals were killed in the streets. The animals did not always die quickly, and I found the scenes to be very unsettling. I cannot help but wonder if any god of love would appreciate this obviously painful, wasteful use of the animals? It seems that the tradition often over-rides any common sense or thoughtful consideration regarding the action/tradition.

    BTW...I LOVE Nepal...hiked the Annapurna mountain range....very beautiful:>)
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    Mar 9 2012: So what about the contrary, people worshipping animals as holy creatures? Like cats in old Egypt, and cows in Hinduism -- should that be forbidden as well? Or kosher butchering, because it is cruel to kill an animal like that for religious reasons? It is fairly easy to denounce ritual killing of animals as cruel (and I also think it is cruel), but this coin definitely has two sides. I think much depends on the importance of religion in the daily lives of the people -- mainstream Christians usually aren't sacrificing animals (please feel free to correct me, but I never did), because our belief has somewhat lost its importance for how we live every day. This seems to hae come quite naturally with the separation of state and religion, so it might be a question of time until the practice will completely disappear...
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      Mar 9 2012: I believe it's important to consider multiple points of view here. To expand on your idea, is it fair to protect animals in the name of religion especially in countries where there is widespread starvation?

      There's an argument to be made for preserving a sacred ritual or cultural practice for a particular group (after all, many more animals are slain each day for food without these historical connotations) just as one can also argue that these religious groups find meaningful expressions of their faith in different ways.

      While Christianity absolved the need for ritual sacrifice (due to the work of Jesus Christ), most other religions that have that requirement (such as Judaism) found ways to honor their religion as well as the community in which they live in.

      To be fair, with the sacrifices in Nepal, the meat isn't wasted. The animals are sold for food and the money is used to preserve important historic artifacts such as temples, buildings in the village, etc.
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    Mar 9 2012: Au contraire. Our superstitions and rituals are God's favorite entertainment.
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    Mar 16 2012: NO! God does not care about animal sacrifice anymore...the best sacrifice we can give to GOD, is to treat our body, His temple, with great respect, this is the least that we can do.
  • Mar 13 2012: I'm a Chinese, maybe not from China but still practicing the same religion and culture right over Malaysia.
    Being a Chinese, I've seen alot of sacrifices upon the name of "GOD"
    In the end, the one who benefit is human.
    Based on my opinion, human just make dozen of "excuse" in order to kill those "animal" after their heart/feeling or mercy.
    Vegetarian might be good against this

    Sorry for Bad English(Noob)
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    Mar 11 2012: dear mate, there is million animals are cuttings everyday for food that time no mention but while in the name of religion then why such argument ? even though , all the animals which cuts for the name of religions will not throw they use as food . what you think ??
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    Mar 11 2012: No thanks for asking be well.
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    Mar 10 2012: Few competing values here. Freedom of religion versus concern about animal suffering.

    I note some arguments comparing killing animals for food with killing for religion.

    I note many people see fur, killing animals to look nice, as much worse than killing animals for food. One is a want one is a need (up to a point). I note modern rich countries can afford not to eat meat, yet we do. While most have rules to reduce animal suffering, its still horrific, because I lead a sanitised life with little packets of food far removed from their source animal.

    The link with religion makes it very tricky. Is there a way they can sacrifice and minimise the animals distress and suffering.

    I agree this kind of thing reflects the state of development and civil society. Civil secular society helps stop the excesses of religion. Some societies just grow out of it as they start to recognise that religious freedom is not absolute and that no one religion should get special treatment or status. As they start to recognise women should have the same status rights and freedom as men. That they are more than a man's property, more than an ass/donkey (10 commandments anyone).

    It's sad that nearly any other reason for slaughtering animals can be reasoned with to reduce suffering, but religion seems to get a special status to do bad things and often reinforces remaining in ignorance and barbarism.
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    Mar 10 2012: dear mate Umesh, however you tried to focus something about your perception but we can not ignore that there is a foundation pillar so called religion ,which is the main theme of their life as a main guideline. eventually, i just want to say that i appreciating you for your great thinking that you shared.
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    Mar 10 2012: Millions of animals are killed in slaughter houses daily. That is also cruel. Aren't we being hypocritical just because we don't like the religion in question ?

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    Mar 10 2012: It amazes me how often traditions, superstitions and religions are used to excuse cruelty, inhumanity and discrimination - mostly by men against women, minority groups and animals. It's a global phenomenon. The diversity of human culture and religion can be wonderful, but I draw the line at killing - be the victims women, animals, homosexuals (or any other hated minority group) - its all the same - violence against life - violance against god, gods or God (what ever name is used).

    It's good to see a man speaking out about the pointlessness of this traditional slaughter - shows an enlightened spirit.
  • Mar 10 2012: Are you more concerned with animals than people? Do you love animals more than you love people? Do you know that there is a religion that tells its members to cut off the heads of nonmembers (if they decline to convert to that religion) and that they are doing that right now? Remember Daniel Pearl? I think our own species needs your attention and energy.
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    Josh S

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    Mar 10 2012: By the way you capitalized God you would be referring to the God of Christianity. There are no animal sacrifices to him because in Christianity, Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice so we no longer have to do this.

    However, I think you meant gods in general for other religions. On this point, it is unmoral for us to forbid this. It crosses the line because we would be enforcing our beliefs on others. Separation between church and state works both ways, religion stays out of the government, and the government stays out of religion. If it is the belief of a religion to sacrifice animals, then by all means they should be allowed to. Animals such as cows, chickens, and other animals of that nature have no idea what is happening to them, it is only cruel in our perspective, not theirs. They dont know they are being led to slaughter, they have no fear in that moment, no understanding of what is happening, so it is animal cruelty, it is a quick death. Because of this, it should most certainly be allowed.
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      Mar 10 2012: It is practised by many religions almost all cultures, from the Hebrews to the Greeks and Romans, Israelites, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hindu (source From Wikipedia). In the developed countries we almost can't see this kind of practised by strong law of government. In my district, people celebrate several festival in a year that kills ten of thousand of animals only for the purpose of (in the name of God). They search for loan, or borrow animals and they most have to attain. My concern is that if people use their scarce resource (Underdeveloped Countries) for the purpose of meal (food), that is good but if they waste for the religions, that makes people poor poorer in the underdeveloped countries. If you visited Nepal and North India, you will know everything about animals sacrifice.
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        Josh S

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        Mar 11 2012: Most of the groups you mentioned do not exist in this day and age, Th Greeks of today do not practice live animal worship, the Romans are non existent, the Israelites are from the past, Christians have not for 2000 years, Islam i'm pretty sure they don't but could be wrong, they may have done it in the past, and i have no idea about Hindu. Your main support seems to come from India and that region, so it must be true in that regard.
        You make a good point though, that they are sacrificing food that they could be eating. I have no idea about the practices, but are they allowed to eat food after they sacrifice? is it like a feast? if they just through the food away than even then, it is their choice and if they want to worship instead of eat it should ultimately be their decision