Sacrificing animals

Tim Worstall says

The Gadhimai festival seems to be the latest thing to get the animal rights activist's panties in a twist.

Yes, tens of thousands of animals are being sacrificed in this once every five years festival honouring Gadhimai. But so what?

They're all animals that have been raised to be killed to be eaten, the carcases will all be taken home and eaten.

All that's happened is that the animals have all been killed in one place rather than back in hte home villages. And as to the argument that the methods are cruel: well, yes, they tend to be in poor rural areas.

Your point is what?

Three points: 1) Does he *know* that on net no more animals will be killed? Perhaps this festival leads some families to kill more than usual -- after all it is a huge festival that sacrifices animals to a goddess. Why not bring a couple more and please her? Maybe even some families eat no or little meat but think it's OK to sacrifice once every five years. Without knowing much about the festival or the people, I find it weak to say there will be no net effect on animals.

2) A collection of people together killing animals is in fact more valuable to activists than people killing them alone, for the simple reason that one can protest to all of them at once. If you have the choice to go to each of thousands of houses to try to make a statement or just one festival with thousands of people there, obviously you would go to the festival. At this time (during the festival) is the best time to speak up.

3) The festival is not just about animals, but the culture of killing animals. The festival implicitly affirms and reinforces their culture. It seems very similar to Thanksgiving. Consider two possible worlds, one in which the US has Thanksgiving and one in which it doesn't. It seems likely that it would be easier to convert everyone to vegetarianism in the one without Thanksgiving than the one with. Think on the margin. This is also reflected by the question that many new vegetarians get: "What are you going to eat on Thanksgiving?" Traditions are important to people.