Public appeal to the Judiciary: Animal Sacrifice and Buddhist values
Posted on July 25th, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

The Sinhale Nation during the pre-colonial rule was animal friendly. People lost their rank and status and were treated as outcastes if they harmed an animal. Over 180 Sinhala Buddhist kings ruled following the tenets of Buddhism. Foreign invasion and colonial occupation dethroned a value system based on Buddhist principles that prevailed for over 2500 years. That value system changed only as a result of foreign invasion and occupation. The change in values resulted not out of choice but because of forceful implementation. At post-independence the former values should have taken over, that it didn’t and with time the values of later occupants have taken over the Buddhist values that built the Sinhale nation and the politicians who get elected from the majority vote seem not to care. Even if they did having outsourced key areas of governance are they in a position to guarantee that the Buddhist values and ethos would not be exterminated and annihilated? In all this what role should the judiciary of Sri Lanka play?

Animal friendly society lost to Colonial rule & Post-Independence

Colonial invaders completely changed the cultural ethos and values of Sri Lanka. Minds of post-independent rulers have been too colonized to return to the value system that prevailed before invasion.

Animal Welfare Bill languishes because the Minister is a non-Buddhist. Politicians are silent because they enjoy handouts from non-Buddhists.  Compare that to Russian President Putin banning animal sacrifice. Unfortunately even in Anuradhapura, Mihintale once considered the abayadana and Buddhist citadels are carrying out animal sacrifice. The fault lies with the authorities and the custodians of Buddhist heritage.

Ethical and Moral thinking has made Christians and Jews rethink the act of ritual slaughter. Closely linked is the logic of how anyone can merit from taking the life of another and eating the animal one has sacrificed. There is no such thing as blind faith. People are aware of what’s right and wrong. The choice is very much theirs. Life is precious to everyone even non-human sentient beings. The Buddha’s teaching of ‘Metta’ and ‘Karuna’ are absorbed intricately into the first precept. When for 2500 years that compassion has been the practice and the edicts of the ruling kings have been to forbid animal slaughter, why should these values change because later cultures and values demand their rights supersede those of the majority and because of words termed ‘secular’ ‘liberal’ ‘multicultural’?

In nations where Abrahamic religions prevail as the majority populace or religion the laws are clear – no values or cultures of other religions can take precedence over theirs. There is no political correctness in governance in these majority Muslim nations. Over 100million animals are killed at an annual religious festival and no one dares object.

What needs to be said is that Muslims lived under Sinhale Buddhist kings and no such animal sacrifice or home slaughter took place. No demands were made demanding animal sacrifice or home slaughter had to take place. How has what did not exist formerly turned into a demand and right today? If the rule of the Kings were followed without fuss because what was acceptable as the law of the land was made clear to natives, visitors and traders why has that suddenly changed?

What it translates to mean is that it is the lack of what is acceptable and what is not that is dividing people and causing anxieties.  

Does tolerance equate to only Buddhists sacrificing the values carried down over 2500 years simply because a new value system was introduced by invaders and followed by later occupants? Is it correct for later cultures to use neo-liberal slogans and new colonial pressure points to suppress the original values systems that prevailed throughout the country? Has this not shown that while the Sinhale Buddhists have been accommodating of others the later cultures are keen to wipe out the Buddhist ethos altogether?

What needs to be reiterated is that no one can argue against the noble declaration to treat all living beings including sentient beings with compassion. It was the realization of this that led to King Devanampiyatissa taking up the trusteeship to protect animals, birds and other living beings and it was this same King who brought Buddhism to the Sinhale Nation by royal invitation thus sealing the State patronage to Buddhism. Even South Indian King Elara followed the Buddhist royal decree and punished his own son for harming a cow.

The MAAGHAATA (do not kill) proclamations prevailed from 1st to 8th century.

King Vijayabahu 1 proclamation in the 11th c was to protect wildlife and fishes in the forests and lakes.

King Buddhadasa (341 AD) was a reputed medical/veterinary surgeon

King Kirti Sri Nissankamalla issued an astounding decree forbidding killing of all living beings in 6 famous inscriptions which every citizen, non-citizen including traders and visitors had to follow without objection. No one could really object to such a high moral and ethical decree.

What religions can argue against the Buddhist call to treat animals with compassion?

It was these royal decrees of the Sinhala Buddhist kings that highlighted the social and legal history of Sri Lanka.

The high moral and ethical governance changed ONLY after foreign invasion.

It was ONLY after foreign invasion that animal killing was legalized and liquor and other vices were introduced.

Sadly the fine for illegal transportation of cattle is just Rs.100, the amount set in 1893 and puts to shame the royal decrees that prevailed under Sinhale Buddhist kings. Mass slaughter is taking place at Munneshwaram Hindu kovil where ritual slaughter takes place of goats and chickens.

There is also home slaughter for which the Colombo Municipal Council and Veterinary officers grant licenses. On what basis do these authorities issue permits to ordinary, unskilled citizens to slaughter in their homes? Does Section 4 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance No. 13 of 1907 not apply in this instance in view of the unnecessary cruelty taking place? Section 12 states that No private residence should be allowed by law to be used as a place of slaughter for whatever may be the reason. People exercise their right of choice to live as far as possible from a legally designated abattoir for the simple reason that they do not wish to be tormented by the agonized cries of innocent animals and threatened by the poor standards of public hygiene usually found in such places.” How can authorities allow a house to be turned into a slaughterhouse? When UK banned home slaughter in 1999 what is the reason for inaction in a country which for thousands of years completely prohibited killing of animals?

 People need to realize that there is no blessing in killing a life. Those that argue that animal sacrifice is a charity to provide protein need to be reminded that this argument was true during times when money did not exist, today money can provide all the proteins one needs instead of taking away a life. Where does it say that God has asked man to kill an animal to satisfy Him?

If the colonials took away the high moral and ethical value system that prevailed it is for indigenous leaders of post-independence to restore what was removed by force.

Petitions, appeals and other forms of lobbies have been addressed to those we call leaders. Why has it fallen on deaf ears?

If the Buddha Sasana Ministry’s function is to not displease countries and their religious beliefs there is no requirement for such a ministry to exist. The Buddha Sasana Ministry is meant to protect the doctrines of Buddhism and not to please other religions and their beliefs.


The question we continue to ask is – Just because colonial govts changed the values that existed for over 2500 years must we continue values that were enforced by force?

The argument placed before the judiciary is that the practice of animal slaughter and home slaughter existed and thus should not be banned. What needs to be reminded is that the practice of animal slaughter or home slaughter existed only after foreign invasion and occupation. That legal provision is just 199 years old whereas for over 2500 years by royal decree killing of animals was banned and Muslims too followed these royal edicts without fuss.

Therefore, there is a greater need to take cognizance of the value systems that prevailed and which everyone followed and would have followed if not for foreign invasion and forced occupation than the value systems that were forcefully introduced and implemented while continuing to demonise and remove the indigenous Buddhist value system of the Sinhale Buddhist nation.

 Every one fears death, every one fears punishment, everyone loves his or her own life, take you yourself as an example and do not kill, do not hurt (Dhammapada)

 Shenali D Waduge

These videos are extremely disturbing:

12 Responses to “Public appeal to the Judiciary: Animal Sacrifice and Buddhist values”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Buddhism betrayed in SL.

    Supreme Court (MOST SC judges are non-Buddhists) has ALLOWED slaughtering animals in Hindu shrines for sacrifice.

    What a joke SL is. Where is the SUPREME PLACE for Buddhism as per article 9 of the CON-STITUTION?

    Even the SL flag is a shame. It give MASSIVE stripes for Hindus and Muslims but only 4 TINY BO LEAVES for Buddhism!!

    Looks like there is a RANKING of gods in SL.
    Highest rank is Allah, Kali next, Satan next, Jesus next, Buddha last. This is disgusting.

    SLs should ask the supreme court for an INTERPRETATION of article 9. What the hell does it mean or is it a SHAM.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    Did Allah visit SL? NO.
    Did Mohomad vvisit SL? NO.
    Did Krishna visit SL? NO.
    Did Jesus visit SL? NO.
    Did Abraham visit SL? NO.

    Did Buddha visit SL? YES. THREE TIMES!

    Was the Geetha written in SL? NO.
    Was the Bible written in SL? NO.
    Was the Koran written in SL? NO.
    Was the Tora written in SL? NO.

    Was the Tripitaka written in SL? YES.

    SL is a Buddhist country. A VERY SPECIAL Buddhist country. But what is happening today?

  3. AnuD Says:

    Sinhala Buddhists should organize politically.

    See how the system works in Western-Christian countries.

  4. Lorenzo Says:


    This cursed system cannot save Buddhism, the economy, law and order, good Tamils, good Muslims, Sinhalese or SL.

    We have to change this. Only a MILITARY TAKE OVER can save SL. If you have a better plan come out with it.

    Mark my word. MR’s war crimes investigation panel will find SL ARMY did war crimes and punish the HEROES who sacrificed so much for SL. Then my plan will also NOT work. We have to stop the govt. and the opposition NOW.

  5. AnuD Says:

    One Galaboda…Ghanasara is not enough for Sri Lanka.

  6. Amarasiri Says:

    Shenali D Waduge

    RE:Public appeal to the Judiciary: Animal Sacrifice and Buddhist values.

    Hindu Values and Hunter-Gatherer Values?

    In nature the carnivore/prey ratio is usually pretty consistent at 1:9

    Are Humans Carnivores or Herbivores? Are human beings anatomically more similar to natural carnivores or to natural herbivores? Let’s find out….

    But aren’t humans anatomically suited to be omnivores?

    Nope. We don’t anatomically match up with omnivorous animals anymore than we do with carnivorous ones. Omnivores are more similar to carnivores than they are to herbivores. For a more detailed summary table that compares the properties of carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores side by side, see this page:

    However, when humans became hunters, they ate meat, high energy density and fat, and their brain developed, and their intelligence as well, a new study found.

    Religions, Hinduism and Buddhism came much later.


    With nearly 46 billion slaughtered in 2003, chickens accounted for 93% all types of farmed animals included in the FAO database. Following chickens, more ducks were slaughtered for their flesh than any other animal; approximately 2.3 billion ducks were slaughtered in 2003. Not considering birds, the slaughter of pigs was highest with more than 1.2 billion pigs slaughtered in 2003, followed by more than 850 million rabbits slaughtered last year. See below for a summary of the minimum 2003 worldwide slaughter estimates, by type of animal.

    — 45,895 million (45.9 billion) chickens
    — 2,262 million (2.3 billion) ducks
    — 1,244 million (1.2 billion) pigs
    — 857 million rabbits
    — 691 million turkeys
    — 533 million geese
    — 515 million sheep
    — 345 million goats
    — 292 million cows and calves (for beef and veal)
    — 65 million other rodents (not including rabbits)
    — 63 million pigeons and other birds
    — 23 million buffalo
    — 4 million horses
    — 3 million donkeys and mules
    — 2 million camels (and other camelids)

    By country Animal Numbers, Cattle Total Slaughter by Country in 1000 HEAD

    Rank Country Total Slaughter (1000 HEAD)
    1 Brazil 42,255.00
    2 China 42,100.00
    3 India 40,000.00
    4 United States 31,779.00
    5 EU-27 26,850.00
    6 Argentina 13,200.00
    7 Australia 8,475.00
    8 Russian Federation 6,830.00
    9 Mexico 6,225.00
    10 New Zealand 4,360.00
    11 Colombia 4,300.00
    12 Canada 3,010.00
    13 Ukraine 2,500.00
    14 Uruguay 2,300.00
    15 Venezuela 1,425.00
    16 Belarus 1,375.00
    17 Egypt 1,355.00
    18 Japan 1,167.00
    19 Korea, Republic Of 1,037.00
    Year of Estimate: 201

  7. douglas Says:

    To me, in this debate, are two matters to be considered: (1) Animal Sacrifice in “Religious Places and (2) Animal Killings for Human Consumption.

    The matter in No.1, has been the ruling of the Courts announced recently. This practice of “Animal Sacrifice” to mostly to “Appease” the Gods has been in practice even before Buddha and spread of Buddhism. If you read the story of “ABRAHAM” it would reveal the origin of Three Faiths and how the “Animal Sacrifice’ came into being. Those were the “Times” when the “Sun God”; “Moon God” and host of other “Gods” and “Personal Gods” were PRAYED for SURVIVAL of the human beings.

    Thanks to Buddha’s “Teachings” this sort of PRAYING for SURVIVAL and WELL BEING of the Humans was completely rejected and along with that came the condemnation of “SUPERSTITION” which was termed “SILABBATA PARAMASA” in Buddhism. This is “Belief in a Supreme Being” or in “God” and in the efficacy of “Purificatory Rites and Ceremonies”.

    So the question NOW is: In this modern day of “Highly Developed Intelligence” of the Humans, SHOULD we consider “Animal Sacrifice” in Religious Places be RESORTED or ALLOWED.? Also, if on the other hand, if anyone resorts to propagate such practices among human beings, shouldn’t he or she be made responsible for MISLEADING the humans to commit unnecessary sacrifices of other lives for “Survival and Well-Being”?

    If the “Courts of Justice” say YES to above, we are certainly not belonging to that “Highly Developed Intelligence” class of Human Being and are still in that “SAVAGERY CLASS”. Also we are GUILTY of continuing to “keep the human beings in that savagery class.

    Next is the “Animal Killings” for human consumption. To make a long story short, it continues from time immemorial and very correctly and comprehensively chronicled by Amarasiri. But this is not the subject dealt by Shenali.

  8. douglas Says:

    PS to my earlier comment:

    I am wondering whether, with this “Justice System” verdict, someone who wants to “introduce” the Human Sacrifice called “SATI POOJA” will file a case in the very courts that gave this ruling to “Legalize” it. After all “LIFE” is “LIFE” irrespective that being a Human or Animal.

  9. Senevirath Says:



  10. Muhandiram Says:

    First twenty animal slaughtering countries are not Muslims(except one).these people are barking at wrong trees.eventually these people will be in loss.since i study comparative religion,I found no religion complete except Islam.(Islam covering all aspects of human beings,such as spiritual, economy,trade,personal law,criminal law,politics etc).I wonder there is no Buddhist,Hindu,Christian governments in the world,but Muslims do.why? because those religions are not given any laws,economy,political teachings to govern).

  11. Lorenzo Says:

    USELESS appealing to govt. or the NON BUDDHIST supreme court. People must take matter into their own hands.

    Killing cattle for meat is disgusting. It has to be stopped. Killing 2 birds with one stone.

    There are certain chemicals when eaten by bulls are not harmful to them (because of the large size of the animal). But if a human eats their meat that causes harm particularly impotency and infertility. Since most beef eaters are the FASTEST BREEDING people in the country, it will be one stone two dead birds.

    When this is done the govt. will WAKE UP (to save beef eaters’ lives). Then we can push for a total ban on beef.

    If anyone has a BETTER plan that works to take people away from beef eating please share with us.

  12. Lorenzo Says:

    Now SL ISLAM TERRORISM is exported from Beruwela/Aluthgama through Colombo! They work with other Islamic terrorists from other countries which is very dangerous.

    These JIHAD followers should be ELIMINATED the way we did with Tamil terrorists. JIHADISTS’ hate against Israel was seen even in comments here by some. They should be traced down and hunted by the Israeli secret service if they are the best in the world. That will do SL a GREAT favor. Nip this in the bud or suffer with it for 3 decades.

    “India will be informing Sri Lanka about an official working with the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo who was allegedly playing a key role in planning terror strikes at the behest of ISI on the US and Israeli consulates in the southern part of the country.

    The information will be shared with Sri Lankan authorities by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) signed between the two countries in 2010, official sources said.

    NIA had last month taken over the case which was earlier registered by Tamil Nadu Police in which a Sri Lanka national, Sakir Hussain, was arrested following a tip-off from the Intelligence Bureau (IB).

    Hussain was accused of having entered India with a mission to carry out reconnaissance of the US Consulate in Chennai and the Israeli Consulate in Bangalore.

    The information under MLAT, which has been cleared for sending to Colombo through diplomatic channels, names Amir Zubair Siddiqui, Consular (Visa) in the Pakistani Mission in Sri Lanka as the main conspirator who was involved in a conspiracy with some Lankan nationals for carrying out terror attacks on the two consulates, the sources said.”

    – PTI

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