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* Sri Lanka Supreme Court rules license required for religious animal sacrifice
Thu, Sep 4, 2014, 10:22 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Sept 04, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Supreme Court Wednesday ruled that a 'ritualistic' animal sacrifice is "trade" within the Butchers ordinance and therefore the religious authorities need a license if they wish to continue with the ritual of religious animal sacrifice.

The Apex Court delivered the judgment in response to an appeal filed by the trustees of the Sri Bhadrakali Amman Kovil at Munneswaram in Chilaw.

A three judge-bench comprising Chief Justice Mohan Peiris and justices Rohini Marasinghe and Sarath De Abrew dismissed the appeal by the Kovil authorities.

Delivering the verdict, the Chief Justice said the religion doesn't make an exception to the law and the Kovil authorities could only continue with the practice after they obtained a Butcher's License for animal slaughter.

In July, the Apex Court ruled that the Hindu Temple can slaughter the animals under controlled conditions with the supervision of the Public Health Department.

The court also asked the Kovil to reduce the number of animals that would be sacrificed at the annual feast.

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.

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.

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