When Animal Advocacy Is Used As A Weapon
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion

FROM Owen Rogers, Faunalytics.org
November 2020

This study looks at how animal advocacy campaigns targeting certain cultural practices may be used as a weapon against different cultural groups, distracting from larger and more impactful issues.

Photo by Nandhu Kumar on Unsplash

While animal advocates are understandably in favor of restrictions on the use of animals, these laws are occasionally weaponized by movements that don’t actually have the best interests of animals in mind. Different ethnic and religious groups have different beliefs regarding the treatment of animals, and these differences are sometimes exploited in legal systems to repress human rights.

This paper looks at two examples of this phenomenon in Brazil and Sri Lanka, where certain animal rights issues are used as a justification for the religious persecution of minority groups.

(1) Brazil has a large population of African descent, and these Afro-Brazilians often follow religious customs originating from West Africa. One of these customs is animal sacrifice. The Brazilian government, which is mostly composed of non-Afro-Brazilians, has grappled with how to square constitutional protections for religious freedoms with animal rights legislation.Afro-Brazilians met with legislators during the debate over a bill that would require “animals required intended for food consumption to be killed ‘quickly and painlessly.’” This vague language, they feared, would be used to single out Afro-Brazilian customs, and they succeeded in getting an amendment added that would exempt them from prosecution....


(2) A similar conflict was found on the island nation of Sri Lanka, which is majority-Buddhist but has significant minorities of Muslims and Tamil Hindus. There have been several court cases involving the animal sacrifices practiced by some Tamil Hindus, and in 2018 a law was introduced that, if passed, would ban all animal sacrifices. Academics researching these laws have concluded that the motivation for the laws was prejudice towards Hindus and Muslims on the part of Buddhist nationalists....


Please read the entire article: When Animal Advocacy Is Used As A Weapon

Owen Rogers is from northern Illinois, raised in the suburbs of Chicago. He became interested in animal ethics at a very young age, when he had several companion animals ranging from a dog to a corn snake. In college, he majored in philosophy with a focus on ethics, and became a vegetarian. In addition to working with Faunalytics, he has also volunteered at animal shelters and participated in environmental cleanups.

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