“Stop Owl Sacrifices In India” – Who Are WE To Say That?

Here, we have another one of those online petitions, that I have been so fond of in previous entry’s (Note: this is sarcasm, since no such button is yet available 🙂 ). This one is asking for the India Ministry of Environment and Forests to ban the Sacrifice of Owls in India. I will give the full text of the petition below.

An increase in illegal owl trade and sacrifices around Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, threatens the future of owls in India.

Superstitions and false beliefs have created a demand for owls and their body parts in ceremonial rituals during the festival. The owl body parts used  include the skull, feathers, claws, heart, liver, kidney, blood, eyes, fat, beak, tears, eggshells, meat and bones. Ear tufts are considered to have the greatest magical properties.

Hundreds of owls are trapped and traded every year, even though hunting and trade in all Indian owl species is banned under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. Owls or their body parts are used in black magic, street performances, taxidermy, consumption, occult medicines, for capturing other birds and even their eggs used for gambling, according to TRAFFIC’s Abrar Ahmed, an expert on the Indian bird trade.

“Owls play an extremely useful ecological role by controlling the population of rats and large insects. In an agrarian country, where 60% of the population is dependent on agriculture, the role of owls should be recognized and strict protection should be given to these magnificent nocturnal birds,” said Ahmed.

We ask the government of India to listen to, and work with the the experts on the Indian bird trade from TRAFFIC by conducting regular raids and take legal action against poachers. Additionally, provide more rehabiliation centers for siezed owls so they may be release back to the wild. More protection is needed for owls if they are to have a future in India.

I can agree with the premise of the petition. Not only are owls beautiful animals, but they (like every other species native to a certain geographical area) have a purpose in the local environment.

But at the same time, who are WE to tell India, how to behave, in regards to this chosen species?

Though we westerners see no beauty in the  Bos taurus species, they are considered so sacred in some areas of India, that there slaughter is illegal ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cattle_in_religion ) . Despite this, I have yet to see any sort of protest against the way we use and consume such animals. Granted, much of India likley does not have the internet access saturation that westerners are used to. But the point still stands.   

It is for this reason, that I will not sign this petition. 

If I go back a few years, I may well have signed it thoughtlessly, like most people. But knowing the way we westerners are with some of our species, I can’t play the hypocrite card any longer.

I know that most people don’t put much thought in before signing these things. Its an unfortunate thing, as it undermines the credibility of the whole system. But I am curious . . .

If people knew about the seeming hypocrisy of signing such petitions, would they still sign them?   

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One Response to Stop Owl Sacrifices In India

  1. Pingback: Curious how big a young birds beak at hundred islands? | Blog Ni Clifford

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