Animal Sacrifices and Political Concerns…

“Councillor Maurice Brenner hasn’t the faintest idea of how this came about, as he wasn’t there, yet he blindly assumes that animal sacrifice wasn’t the motive because ‘religious groups that slaughter animals for food do not waste a body, and would not leave it lying on a beach’. I think we can safely rule out ‘food’ as a motive in this case… As sounds of drumming have been reported in the area, and as Santeria is described as an ‘Afro-American religion of Caribbean origin’, I perceive a distinct possibility that we could be in for a rough ride in the near future on the matter of animal rights. We definitely have a say in where these activities can be carried out, but we might not be able to prevent them.”

The above consists of extracts from a letter I just sent in to my local paper Oshawa This Week, following their publishing an article on the reaction of the local Councillor to the discovery of a beheaded goat and “numerous chickens” on a beach at Frenchman’s Bay in Pickering (1).

The remainder of the letter refers to a successful appeal by a Santerian to the courts to prevent the city of Euless in Texas from applying its by-laws to restrict “his religious practices relating to the use of animals”. Hopefully, that precedent will not carry any persuasive influence in Ontario or Canada…

I find it strange that Councillor Brennan would feel compelled to endeavour to divert attention away from any possible third-world cultural or religous origins this incident may have.

I am not aware of any religion which “sacrifices” animals purely for food, but I am aware of religions which cheerfully sacrifice animals for “good luck”, and six years ago, two men scored press for sacrificing a sheep in a North York park for that very reason.

As the Toronto Sun story tells us (2), “they told officers that they had sacrificed a sheep, which they bought for about $150 from a farm near Hwy. 27 in York Region, and slaughtered it for good luck… Stunned officers found the sheep, the bloodied rock where the slaughter occurred and a ceramic bowl used in some sort of religious rite to ensure good fortune, along with two bloodied knives and a meat cleaver”.

The police were last heard of seeking advice from the Crown regarding the criminal code provisions pertaining to the killing of livestock versus the killing of “pets”…

And finally, here is an extract from a 2015 news item regarding animal sacrifices outside the Miami-Dade County courthouse (3):

“It’s become a common occurrence at the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building. Lawyers and employees on their way to work stumble upon bags and cardboard boxes filled with dead animals… ‘For people who are in need for a good (i.e. favourable legal -JG) judgement, they are going to turn to rituals that they believe hold some sort of power,’ Barry University assistant professor of practical theology Marc Lavallee told Local 10.”

Ah, the joys of diversity!

It will be interesting to see how this Pickering story works out.

Jeff Goodall.

(1) – See “Pickering councillor does not believe animal decapitation was result of religious slaughter” here.

(2) – See “Sheep slaughtered in city park” here.

(3) – See “Animal remains routinely found at Miami-Dade County courthouse” here.

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