Here’s What You Can Do About Animal Sacrifice

What’s wrong with animal sacrifice?

All religions call for compassion, no religion requires killing or eating animals, and hacking animals to death with weapons is just plain cruel.

Animal sacrifice is also bad for everyone: It normalizes killing and desensitizes children to violence against animals.

What do the laws and courts say?

An outdated provision, Section 28 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, allows any animal to be killed in any manner for religious reasons. However, many states, including Gujarat, Kerala, Puducherry, and Rajasthan, already have laws in place that prohibit religious sacrifice of any animal in any temple or its precincts. The states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Telangana also prohibit animal sacrifice in any place of public religious worship or adoration or its precinct or in any congregation or procession connected with religious worship in a public street.

The Supreme Court of India directed in a 10 April 2017 order that animals could be killed only in an area set up in accordance with the law and that the municipal authority would be required to ensure compliance. The Supreme Court through a 17 February 2017 order directed that killing animals without following the Government of India’s compendium of acts and rules on animal transport and slaughter (which is based on animal protection Acts and Rules) is a punishable offence.

Please see the nationwide 2023 circular issued by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) about rules to be followed.

What can be done instead of animal sacrifice?

Celebrate religious holidays in non-violent, compassionate ways. You can distribute vegan food to the poor, send clothes or toys to an orphanage, volunteer at an animal shelter, or put out bowls of clean water for the homeless animals in your community.

What can be done to stop animal sacrifice?

If you hear about an animal sacrifice being planned, talk to those who are responsible about the cruelty of animal sacrifice and their legal obligations. Try to persuade them to celebrate the occasion in animal-friendly ways.

If you witness any cruel or illegal sacrifices of animals, please report them to the police on the helpline number (100/112) or at the nearest police station or call your local society for prevention of cruelty to animals (SPCA) or the nearest animal protection group for help.

What can be done about illegal sacrifice?

If a law is being violated, submit a formal complaint at the local police station to file a First Information Report. (The police are legally required to take your complaint and give you an acknowledgement of the same.) You can also complain to the superintendent of police/deputy commissioner of police (in cities), the district collector, the state animal welfare board, the AWBI, and the municipal commissioner/chief officer of the local civic body of the area in which the sacrifice took place.

Here are more actions to consider:

  • If possible, take pictures and videos of the illegal sacrifice that you are witnessing using the “Timestamp Camera” app available on Google Play store free of cost. This will be crucial evidence, as it will help demonstrate the location, date, and time of the illegal activities during sacrifice.
  • Submit the photographic and video evidence along with your complaint to the police and other authorities in a pen drive.
  • Appeal to the central government to delete Section 28, a provision that permits animal sacrifice, from the PCA Act, 1960.