July 23, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Supreme Court has ruled that the Hindu temples can perform animal sacrifice under controlled conditions.
The apex court on Monday hearing an appeal filed by the trustees of the Sri Bhadrakali Amman Kovil at Munneswaram in Chilaw ruled that the Hindu Temple can slaughter the animals under the supervision of the Public Health Department.
In recent years the customary ritual of sacrificing hundreds of goats and fowl in the annual feast of the Munneswaram Sri Bhadra Kali Amman Kovil in Chilaw has come under severe protest from the animal lovers, Buddhist clergy and politicians.
Giving the ruling in favor of the Hindu temple, Chief Justice Mohan Peiris asked the Kovil authorities to reduce the number of animals that would be slaughtered at the Kovil's feast next month.
The Chief Justice said he is not ready to ban the animal sacrifice since the practice was hundreds of years old.
However, he said the number of animals slaughtered normally is too high and urged the devotees to talk to each other to bring down the number of animals killed.
He ordered the Kovil authorities to slaughter one animal at a time in a specially designated enclosure away from the public view under the supervision of the Public Health Department.
Both sides have agreed to make compromises and let the ritual takes place under controlled conditions.
The counsel for the kovil trustees argued that the animal sacrifice is part of the Hindus' right to religious freedom guaranteed by Sri Lanka's constitution.
The animal rights activists and Buddhist community vehemently oppose the animal sacrifices in the largely Buddhist country.
Sri Lanka Buddhist organizations have urged the government to amend the legislation to overcome the loopholes that enable animal sacrifices in the country.