Ahead of the Muslim festival of Bakrid (Eid-ul-Adha) in August, the Animal Welfare Board(AWB) of India (AWBI) has initiated a campaign against the slaughter of animals which is a prominent part of celebrations during the festival, reports said.
The agency which is an advisory body of the ministry of Environment has announced that volunteers recruited by it at both state and district levels will be tasked with reporting any instances of animal sacrifice during the Eid al-Adha festival that will be celebrated on August 21-22.
Considering that India has no law that specifically prohibits animal sacrifice, it is practiced without restraint in most parts of the country especially on occasions such as Bakrid or Eid al-Adha. Meanwhile, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Rules, 2017 cover some ground concerning the ill-treatment of animals including a ban on the sale of cattle, camels and other animals for slaughter, even for religious purposes. However, the ban has failed to deter the practice of animal sacrifice as part of religious rituals despite repeated pleas by the environment ministry and animal rights activists.
Such has been the scale of animal sacrifice in the past that in 2017, religious groups and clerics in the state of Uttar Pradesh urged people not to offer animal sacrifices on the streets. This time around, President of the All India Jamiatul Quresh Action Committee, Mohammed Abdul Faheem Qureshi has disapproved of the AWBI’s campaign to curb animal sacrifice during religious celebrations. He even went to the extent of saying, “If they impose the provisions, every action will be an offence,” reported Hindustan Times.
Chairman of AWBI, SP Gupta said that animal sacrifice in any capacity will be punishable and no animal is exempted from this regulation. He added that those opposing the campaign are not aware and link it to religion, but this is not a religion thing. “If the state government does not act on complaints, we will act. We will file complaints with law enforcement (authorities), and if that does not work we will file cases in court against the authorities,” said Gupta.
Also, a considerable stakeholder in the issue, the Indian chapter of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said that the animal-rights organisation is against all kinds of animal sacrifice. “It is illegal and cruel,” said CEO of PETA India, Manilal Valliyate.