In September 2018, the majority Buddhist government of Sri Lanka approved draft legislation banning animal sacrifice at Hindu Temples. The Cabinet referred to these sacrifices as a “primitive” practice that can cause physical and mental harm to society. Similarly, the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil is presently evaluating the constitutionality of a proposed bill banning animal sacrifice in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Proponents of this bill argue that animal rights supersede the religious freedom of the adherents of Afro-Brazilian faiths who perform these sacrifices. They further contend that the practice of animal sacrifice poses a threat to public health. Through the evaluation of these cases, this article will consider the relationship between animal sacrifice and religious freedom in the Global South. Using Brazil and Sri Lanka as examples, it will explore how laws and litigation protecting animal welfare can often be a guise for racial discrimination and religious intolerance.
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