JHU says a ban on animal sacrifice not a violation of religious freedom

Sri Lanka’s main Buddhist political party on Thursday said it will seek a ban on animal sacrifices in the country which are performed at religious events.

The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), an alliance member of the government, said it is currently studying laws in some Indian states where animal sacrifice is banned.

JHU spokesman Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe told Xinhua that a draft document on the proposed ban is now being prepared and will be presented in parliament soon.

He also rejected the view that seeking a ban on animal sacrifice will be seen as an attempt to curb religious freedom in the country.

A popular Hindu Temple in the north western Chilaw town is preparing to conduct a mass animal sacrifice this month despite objections from animal rights groups and Buddhist monks.

Warnasinghe said they had filed a case in court against the planned animal sacrifice and were awaiting the ruling on Thursday.

He said that the sacrifice of several goats and cattle were scheduled to take place last weekend at the Chilaw Hindu Temple but had been suspended on a request by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

However he said the Temple authorities had now announced they will go ahead with the ritual later this month.

“We need to protect the animals so we will push for the ban. So many countries have tight laws to protect animal rights. Our laws must be strengthened,” Warnasinghe said.

Warnasinghe further noted that as a Sinhala Buddhist country Sri Lanka has the right to protect animals which is in accordance with Buddhist teachings.

Last year several monks and other protestors staged demonstrations outside the Chilaw Temple in an attempt to stop the annual ritual. A government minister, Mervyn Silva, said last month he will not allow the ritual to proceed as scheduled. (Xinhua)