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Legal Loophole Threatens Animal Sacrifice?

Wed, Dec 17, 2008

News, Traditional Afrikan

Legal Loophole Threatens Animal Sacrifice?

It seems that across the country law enforcement are ignoring a Supreme Court judgement that protects the religious right to perform animal sacrifice. They are seeking to charge individuals with animal cruelty if the remains of animals are found in public areas. Is this the legal loop hole that Americans will use to practice their long held intolerance for religions outside of Christianity? Only time will tell. Here is a recent news story.

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BY JOHN VALENTI / December 16, 2008

The body of a baby goat and its severed head were found near the side of a road in Islip Terrace on Monday and police said they believe the incident may have ties to the syncretic religion Santeria, whose rituals include animal sacrifices.

Officials said the discovery was made near the side of Spur Drive North between Manhattan Boulevard and East Farmingdale Street at 2:20 p.m.

The headless body was found inside a brown bag, while the goat’s decapitated head was found a few feet away, according to the Suffolk County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

A police spokesman said the case was being treated as an animal cruelty investigation.

Both police and the SPCA are investigating the incident, which the SPCA characterized as “a gruesome find.”

Suffolk SPCA Chief Roy Gross said “other animal parts” also were found inside the bag — though he declined to say what type of animal those parts came from, citing the ongoing investigation. He said the goat was not one that was kidnapped from Kings Park during the summer. In that case, two goats were taken — and one, just nine months old, was found strangled with a belt.

The other is still missing.

“It’s the first thing that went through my mind,” Gross said. “Is it the same goat? But the description doesn’t match.”

Gross said the case could involve Santeria. “It is possible,” he said. But Gross said that still doesn’t answer why the carcass was “tossed by the side of the road” — and, he said, it remains possible the case is not related to Santeria and may be an animal cruelty case.

American animal rights activists have long taken issue with the practice of Santeria.

The phrase roughly means “The Way of the Saints,” according to scholarly accounts, and originated amongst the Yoruba tribe in an area that later became Nigeria.

Opponents who claimed animal cruelty amongst the sacrifice rituals associated with Santeria even took the issue to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1992.

And, in the decision of the Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah the court ruled on June 11, 1993, that animal cruelty laws targeted specifically at such religious practices were unconstitutional.

But, as Gross said: “No matter what, you can’t dump animals out on the side of the road . . . If it was humanely killed, why is it out on the side of the road? We have no idea how it got there . . . I’m not going to dismiss that it could be an animal cruelty case.”

Source: Newsday / Long Island & New York

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