Religion & animals

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 1996:

Santerian priest Rigoberto Zamora, 59, of
Miami––whose credentials are disputed by some other prominent
Santerians––on July 30 accepted a plea bargain in settlement
of four counts of cruelty filed against him for animal sacrifices
performed to celebrate the 1993 Supreme Court ruling
that although the conditions of such sacrifice may be regulated,
forbidding animal sacrifice itself violates the constitutional
guarantee of freedom of religion. “During the two-hour ceremony
before TV cameras,” Raju Cebium of Associated Press
reported, “Zamora killed five roosters, three goats, two hens,
two pigeons, two guinea hens, and a lamb. Zamora switched
knives midway through the slaughter of one goat, ripped the
head off a pigeon, and slammed a guinea hen against the floor.”
Pleading no contest to one cruelty count, and pledging to
appeal, Zamora was sentenced by Dade County judge Victoria
Sigler to do 400 hours of community service at a Catholic home
for the aged. Objected Zamora, “To send me to a center run by
the Catholic Church,” which regards Santeria as heresy, “is to
violate my freedom of religion, and to force me to do hard
labor is an assault on my health.” Zamora said he is a diabetic,
and has heart disease.

Southeastern Cherokee Confederacy members
Diane and Timothy Horen, of Crimora, Virginia, on August
27 announced they would sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service for refusing to give them a permit for possession of owl
feathers. The permit was refused because the Horens were
fined $100 each in November 1995 for allegedly offering to sell
an undercover agent objects decorated with the feathers of protected
species––which they deny doing. Commented ANIMAL
PEOPLE newswire monitor Cathy Young Czapla, a member
of the Abenaki tribe, “In every tribe I know of, owl feathers
are used only for witchcraft, evil spells, etcetera, as Owl is a
harbinger of death.”
Managers of the state-owned Longwan cement
w o r k s in Guangdong province, China, in May ordered their
whole crew to watch the May 18 sacrifice of a black dog,
intended to bring the plant renewed prosperity after it lost
almost $1 million in 1995. Just after the ceremony, the plant
power generator burned out, insuring continued losses.
Oxford University professor of physiology Colin
Blakemore, a longtime target of antivivisection protest and the
recipient of a pipe bomb on Christmas Day, 1994, has joined
Les Ward of Advocates for Animals and the Rev. Kenneth
Boyd, director of the Institute of Medical Ethics at Edinburgh
University, to form the Boyd Group, a think-tank whose goal,
Blakemore says, is “working toward the possible elimination of
animals in experiments” by cutting through polarization to put
resources to work in practical development of alternatives.
Still preaching and teaching in a variety of forums,
retired United Church of Christ pastor Frederick Oscar Olson of
Twinsburg, Ohio, uses himself as an example of what he
means when he says, “We’ll have to watch things die until we
combine spirituality with environmental awareness.” Olson,
69, is deaf in both ears from “too much shotgunning, before I
realized shooting birds was the wrong thing to do.”
Fifty-one Brahmin priests on August 13 performed
a mass funeral in the Lord Pashupatinath Temple, Nepal’s holiest,
for 30 monkeys who died earlier in the day after touching a
high-voltage wire. About 1,000 monkeys inhabit the temple
area. Additional ceremonies were held a day later. “Monkeys
are gods,” explained spokesperson Chetunath Gautam.
Two hundred saffron-robed Buddhist monks,
apparently from London, in mid-August bought every lobster at
the Isle of Wight fish market in Sandown, England, hired a
boat, and returned the lot to the sea.
Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaratunga on
August 3 ordered police to find at least seven missing elephants,
supposed to reside at Buddhist temples but allegedly taken by
secular temple trustees because they are believed to bring good
luck. The missing elephants became a national crisis when the
custodians of the Temple of the Tooth, which keeps a tooth of
the Lord Buddha, complained that they couldn’t find enough
elephants to fill their annual parade, highlight of a two-week
festival. Over 100 elephants eventually turned out.
Zoologist Rick Dutko of the New Jersey
Department of Environmental Protection is seeking ways of
faciliating the demolition of the former Atco Assembly of God
Church in Waterford, unused by humans in 15 years, without
either sending hordes of displaced rats into the neighborhood or
harming a huge belfry congregation of legally protected little
brown and big brown bats.

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