‘Ban this bloody bull-killing Zulu ritual’

2009-11-04 00:00

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the world’s largest animal welfare organisation, has launched a petition against the annual First Fruits bull slaughtering ritual that is to take place in KwaZulu-Natal next month.

Peta asks South Africans to urge their government “to ban this bloody First Fruits Festival tradition”.

With this petition Peta adds its voice to that of the Kenyan Animal-Voice organisation.

The First Fruits Festival is an ancient Zulu tradition held on the first Saturday in December each year in which teenagers kill a bull with their bare hands to symbolise their transition to manhood.

Peta said in a statement that “a bull is scheduled to be tortured to death (again) this year” and the event must be stopped.

Reports apparently submitted to Peta by South African observers say about 40 boys, some as young as 14, attack the bull, cram sand and mud down its throat, gouge out its eyes and twist its genitals off before “kicking and beating the animal to death” and “tearing its flesh apart with their bare hands”.

“Traditional rules reportedly dictate that no tools, not even a knife, be used during this event.”

The petition that people will be asked to sign will be sent to President Jacob Zuma, Water Affairs and Forestry Minister Buyelwa Sonjica and DA spokesman for environmental affairs Gareth Morgan, among others.

The petition reads in part: “I am horrified by the inexplicably cruel way in which young men are allowed to torture and kill a bull … Bulls are sentient beings who, like humans, experience pain and fear. Please stop allowing these animals to be tortured in this sadistic and archaic ritual. Please ban the sacrifice of bulls during the First Fruits Festival or, at the very least, ensure that the bull is killed humanely.”

In its petition, which has been signed by people all over the world, including 10 African countries, Animal-Voice asks the SA Parliament to intervene, saying the ritual is not the modern face of Africa.

“At the end of the first-ever pan-African conference on animal welfare, held in Nairobi … delegates unanimously called for the recognition of animals as ‘sentient’, deserving of care, respect and protection,” Animal-Voice said.

For Peta’s campaign, visit http://peta.org, and for Animal-Voice, www.anaw.org




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