A group of “animal rights activists” in Vadodara, Gujarat decided to buy all the goats and sheep from the state animal markets in order to “save them from slaughter during Bakrid”. The group, which calls itself “Sarvadharm Jeevdaya Samiti”, had previously launched a campaign to ban the export of goats and sheep to the Middle East.
“We are not against any religion and this campaign is not against any religion. We are working to increase awareness of animal rights and want more people to voluntarily join our cause. We are animal lovers who are appalled at the inhumane treatment inflicted on these silent creatures, ”said Rajeev Shah, secretary of Shri Vadodara Panjrapole, who runs two animal shelters in the city.
According to Shah, who is also an honorary member of the All India Animal Welfare Board, the group has already purchased nearly 100 sheep and goats from an animal mandi in Surat and plans to purchase livestock from other locations as well.
“As Bakrid is still away, we were able to buy goats at very low prices. We had 94 goats for around Rs 1.5 lakh. As Bakrid gets closer, a goat will cost around 15,000 to 20,000 rupees. At the moment, traders are ready to sell cheaply.
The group’s next stop will be the weekly animal market in Goghamba in the Panchmahal district.
“From Goghamba we will go to other parts of Gujarat where there is some distress among the farmers due to a drought-like situation which causes them to sell their animals for slaughter even through illegal channels. We have already made it clear that our panjrapole in Vadodara has sufficient space and funds. We can accommodate as many animals as needed to prevent them from being slaughtered… We have a new facility in Darjipura, where we house all of the rescued goats. At the moment we are buying direct from breeders. Once the middlemen buy these goats for commercial sale during Bakrid, the prices will skyrocket, ”Shah added.
The group, which launched a signature campaign in the city earlier this month to urge the state’s BJP government to ban the export of goats to the Middle East, said: “We have received support from our clients to the extent that one of them issued us a check for Rs 15 lakh and told us that we should use the money to buy as many goats as possible to stop the senseless slaughter during Bakrid.
When asked if buying goats seemed like the best option to curb slaughter, Shah said, “We are doing our best. At least we can save as many as possible, if not all of them. “
“We are a group made up mostly of Jain trusts. There are others as well. There is a principle in Jainism that if you kill a living being, it is like killing several. And the corollary – if we save even one, we gain blessings. We follow this principle, ”said Rajendra Shah, Director, Animal Welfare Board, Government of Gujarat. He is also honorary secretary of the Jeevdaya group in Rajkot, which had asked the state government to ban the export of cattle from Gujarat ports to the Middle East for slaughter. His organization was also behind the order to close animal shelters three years ago.
Muslim community leaders said while animal activists have consistently expressed opposition to Bakri Eid, the decision to buy goats and sheep from markets will only hamper their availability in parts of the country. State.
“As a result of some incidents in the past and also constant opposition from animal rights groups around the world to the practice of sacrifice at Bakri Eid, community leaders and even Darool Uloom have published last year circulars advising members of the community to refrain from sharing videos. sacrifice on social networks or make a show of it. The ritual of sacrifice is meant to be an inherent practice, but extremely private, and restraint is necessary to ensure that the sentiment of other communities is not hurt in the process, ”said Zuber Goplani, a Muslim social activist.
Meanwhile, local herders have said Muslims prefer to buy goats for sacrifice on breeding farms rather than mandis. “For Bakri Eid, special breeds of goats are raised for a few years before being sold. Muslim families who can afford it reserve their goats on farms where the animals are fed a healthy diet. It also allows buyers to choose popular goat breeds such as Jamnapari, Boer, Osmanabadi and even Beetal, which are not from Gujarat, ”a private breeder from Vadodara district said on condition of anonymity.