Bull killing can go ahead

2009-12-04 14:33

Pietermaritzburg - Zulus will be able to restore their king's power with the bare-handed killing of a bull on Saturday following a court ruling dismissing an application to stop the ritual.

Judge Nic van der Reyden on Friday dismissed the application by Animal Rights Africa (ARA) in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court.

He was satisfied with the evidence of cultural expert Professor Jabulani Mapalala that the ARA's objection to the ritual was based on untrue information and hearsay.

A bull is killed during the Ukweshwama ceremony as a symbolic way of thanking God for the first crops of the season.

The ARA took Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize and three government departments to court, arguing that the manner in which bulls were killed during the ritual was cruel and protracted.

It cited witnesses' claims that the killing took 40 minutes, during which dozens of men trampled the bellowing, groaning bull, and wrenched its head around by the horns to tried to break its neck.

The witnesses claimed they also pulled out the animal's tongue, stuffed sand in its mouth and tried to tie its penis in a knot. They raised their arms in triumph and sang when the bull finally succumbed.

However, in his affidavit Mapalala said the animal's death was quick, non-painful and that no blood was shed.

The ARA said earlier in the week that if its application did not succeed, it would be guided by its counsel on the legal options available to it.