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Animaleft Statement on Animal Sacrifice

The selective condemnation of animal sacrifice on Bakr Id stigmatizes Islam and harms both human and animal rights.

At Animal Left we are against the sacrifice of animals for religious purposes. We believe that sacrifice of animals to propitiate gods exacerbates their instrumental “property status” and undermines their intrinsic value as sentient beings.

However, we are also against selective condemnation of animal sacrifice. Every year, in the weeks preceding the Muslim festival of Id-al-Adha (Bakri Id), several Indian animal protection organisations make an annual statement condemning the practice and asking the government to ban it. These statements soon spiral into hate-filled responses on social media, and in the guise of decrying religious animal slaughter, we end up alienating entire communities.

In a political landscape that’s barely holding together across burning religious faultlines, to hold only Muslims accountable for a practice that is common across Hindu and Muslim communities reeks of inadvertent complicity with the larger pogrom of weaponizing animals against Indian Muslims and Dalits.

At Animaleft we believe and support constructive, sustained, long-term dialogue to effect change. This cannot happen through sensationalising animal sacrifice and stigmatising the Muslim community. As animal advocates, we must build dialogues across all Hindu and Muslim communities that consider animal sacrifice essential to their faith, especially religious leaders and government agencies.

One constructive way to achieve that is to elevate the status of the animals themselves, instead of denigrating the human communities. An appeal for a change in our collective moral compass and methods of worship can only be made if we engage with respect and empathy. Pious people must re-consider whether their community ought to be brought together over the bodies of animals who have known only suffering. Many Hindus and Muslims are in fact walking away from animal sacrifice to plant based substitutes.

Animal sacrifice is never a purely religious matter. Only a capitalist animal farming system can meet the year-round demand for lakhs of animals. This in turn forms a vicious cycle of the mass production of animals, their surplus availability for slaughter, normalization of animal sacrifice and the generation of further demand. Our critique and activism has to target the industrial complex of animal agriculture.

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Press Release

In Solidarity with Disha Ravi

Animaleft Statement calling for release of Disha Ravi, an animal activist and a climate change warrior

The Delhi police must immediately release climate change warrior and animal activist Disha Ravi, who has been arrested as part of an investigation into a farmers’ protest toolkit.

Disha Ravi faces an absurd and untenable charge of “sedition” for helping edit an online toolkit. The document details peaceful methods to support ongoing protests against three new agricultural laws that the Indian central government enacted in 2020 without properly consulting affected farmers.

It is not a contradiction to be a climate activist and also support the ongoing farmer protests. Like many young climate activists, Disha’s work acknowledges that the economic viability of farming is linked to sustainable agricultural practices. Environmental justice and social justice go hand-in-hand.

Disha’s activism has also recognized how factory farming and the animal agriculture industry are contributing to the climate crisis and causing immense animal suffering. In India, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transport combined. Deregulation of farming will directly contribute to suffering of farm animals and rising temperatures.

At Animaleft we believe that our commitment to uphold animal rights (in India and abroad) goes hand-in-hand with our commitment to stand against all/any caste, class, religion or gender based discrimination and violence. Like the struggle for human rights, the movement for animal rights opposes the notion that some lives are more important than others. 

At Animaleft we chose the difficult path: all non-human and human lives matter. Period.

Disha’s arrest is part of a growing crackdown on dissent and freedom of expression in India. A country that won its independence through peaceful protest is now stifling the very voices which are upholding its founding principles of equality and liberty.

The central government must release Disha Ravi and all other political activists whose only ‘crime’ has been to exercise their constitutionally protected right of free speech.