Bakrid sans Bakri appeal sparks riot


Goats on Kolkata roads
Goats on Kolkata roads

A PETA India staff member sustained facial and other wounds after a riot broke out in Bhopal by a group of men upset at an appeal – in which a woman wore a burqa adorned with vegetables– for people to celebrate a cruelty-free Id-ul-Zuha, or Bakr-Eid.

For the holiday, in which alms are given to the poor, a goat is traditionally sacrificed. The PETA India staff members and some local volunteers had gathered outside the Tajul Masajid, considered the largest mosque in India, to inform others that some Muslims celebrate by giving clothing, money or fruit, pulses and other food offerings to the poor at Eid rather than slitting a goat’s throat and offering the animal’s meat.

They carried signs that read, “Make Eid Happy for All: Try Vegan”.

Another PETA staff member had her trousers ripped as she tried to get away as the growing mob called for the women to be stripped and stoned, whilst throwing stones at their faces. The volunteers who had come to hold signs pleading for compassion in the run-up to Eid, had to run for their lives.

According to one report, the mob, which had gathered to await the arrival of the women, numbered in hundreds of men. Three police vans were reportedly smashed, and several police officers were beaten as they tried to get the women out of the area and regain control of the situation.

“The beautiful religion of Islam has always viewed animals as a special part of God’s creation”, said PETA India Lettuce Lady Benazir Suraiya, who also works for the organisation as its media and celebrity projects specialist. “We simply wanted to encourage everyone to help make the world a kinder place by taking the opportunity that Bakrid affords to give alms such as vegetables, fruits, breads or pulses to people and animals in need and choosing delicious, healthy meals that no one has to die for.”

The consumption of meat and dairy products causes suffering on a massive scale. In India, goats – as well as cows, buffalo and sheep – are crammed into vehicles for slaughter in such high numbers that many sustain broken bones, suffocate or die in other ways en route. In Indian abattoirs, workers often hack at animals’ throats with dull blades.

In the UK, as in India, chickens on factory farms are crowded by the thousands into dark sheds that reek of ammonia from the accumulated waste in which the animals are forced to stand. Fish are often crushed and mutilated while still alive. Male calves, considered useless on dairy farms, are typically taken from their mothers and abandoned to starve or sold for slaughter.