Bakr-Eid: what happens to the goat?

This is one of the goats that would be sacrificed during this Bakr-EId. This photo was clicked while walking through the narrow bylanes of Chawri Bazaar in Old Delhi (Photo credit: Jaagruti)

Before you begin reading this, please allow us a moment to introduce Meera Ahmad (the contributor of the below post) to all of you.

Meera is a Ph.D student at University of Delhi and lives with her mother, brother Kabir and her canine companions in Nizamuddin. Meera is secular by birth, born to a Hindu mother and a Muslim father, her home is lovingly referred to as ‘Chintu Ghar’, the first time I visited her, I thought Chintu was the name of their first pet, but infact as Meera’s mother amusingly shared Chintu was their stuffed toy ‘Elephant’ whom they cuddled and cared for and were even willing to risk their lives for! (yes! yes! that is what Meera’s brother Kabir tried to do, when he jumped from the auto-rikshaw thinking that Chintu was in the bag that had fallen from her mother’s lap on the road). Perhaps it was Chintu, the elephant toy that made them realise that before they realised that their heart was filled with love for animals. Meera and her family look after and feed the many street dogs in Nizamuddin and at Lajpat Nagar as well, besides taking the responsibility of getting them sterilized and vaccinated at nearby animal hospitals.

When she saw a man taking his sick goat to an animal hospital yesterday, she was prompted to reflect over her thoughts on Bakr-Eid. Read on…

Bakr-Eid: what happens to the goat?

By Meera Ahmad

Yesterday, a man from my colony in Nizamuddin West took a sick goat to the nearby Friendicoes Animal Hospital

He said to the doctor: ” Please treat my goat so that it becomes well quickly. I have to cut it day after tomorrow.”

Animal sacrifice is the biggest farce and misplaced superstitious belief in the name of religion.

Today (17th November, 2010) is the first day of three days of Bakr-Eid or Eid al-Adha or Eid-e-Qurban. For Muslims it is a day to celebrate how Prophet Ibraham willingly almost sacrificed his own son Isma’il as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened and gave him a ram to sacrifice instead. To commemorate it Muslim families blindly sacrifice many animals (goat, cow, sheep, camel) on this day often after days of feeding and caring for them extremely well. The act of sacrifice carried out in Muslim homes is extremely cruel as the goats are killed slowly in front of each other by the very people who fed and nurtured them and whom they came to trust deeply. Children too are encouraged to cut them on these days from a very young age so that they become conditioned to it.

In my colony a few weeks before the festival it is common to see children roaming about with healthy and well nurtured goats and grazing them in the parks and bylanes. After the sacrifice I have spoken to them and they comfortably and eagerly narrate gory details of how they carried out halal (religiously permissible form of sacrifice in which the animal’s throat is slit to slowly bleed it death so that it is drained of all the blood before being skinned and cut) of the goats.

So deeply engrained becomes the notion of halal in them that they even practice it on toys and stuffed animals. In an extreme case I remember hearing that a child slit the throat of his pet rabbit. When his mother came running on hearing the wails of the poor animal and asked the child why he did it he said proudly that he had done halal. My neighbor’s young daughter who studies in class 2 was last year wailing uncontrollably outside her house on Bakr-Eid for she wanted to cajole her father to let her keep the baby goat that he had brought for sacrifice and not let it be killed. When her father asked her the reason for it she said she wanted to play with it and make it her pet. However, her tantrums didn’t have any effect. A few ays back when I saw her roaming in the park with a goat on leash I could not resist asking her what she would do with it. She said that she would do it halal. Her father had convinced her that the goats that are done halal on these days are fortunate as they go straight to God (Allah).

That the animals are alive and moving for quite sometime after their throats are cut and while they are being skinned was pointed out to me by children who have witnessed and participated in the sacrifice.The goats that are to be cut on the following days are kept in the same place where their fellows were cut, skinned and hung in front of their eyes. They kick and cry loudly for days and nights before the sacrifice, but once the killing begins they go eeringly quiet. It is as if the face of imminent death makes them mum. A look at their faces and in their eyes chills the soul. I have always felt it is a look of resignation, dullness and deep gloom.

“The mullah finishes the prayer. Ameen. He picks up the kichen knife with the long blade. The custom is to not let the sheep see the kinife. Ali feeds the animal a cube of sugar – another custom, to make eath sweeter. The sheep kicks, but not much. The mullah grabs it under its jaw and places the blade on its neck. Just a second before he slices the throat in one expert motion, I see the sheep’s eyes. It is alook that will haunt my dreams for weeks. I don’t know why I watchj this yearly ritual in ou backyard; my nightmares persist long after the blood stains on the grass have faded. But I always watch. I watch because of that look of acceptance in the animal’s eyes. Absurdly, I imagine tha animal understands. I imagine the animal sees that its imminent demise is for a higher purpose. This is the look……..” -Khaled Hosseni, The Kiterunner.

Nature provides food to goats, cows, sheep so they can live well. Humans provide food to them so they can kill and cut them. Nature provides food to goats, cows, sheep so they can live well. Humans provide food to them so they can kill and cut them. If we really love our earth and want it to be a comfortable place for future generations, we all need to start reflecting on our daily decisions. How we live. What we eat. What we buy. How and where it is made. How we travel. Everything we habitually do has an impact and also sets an example. One of the most important among these is our relationship with the animals of this planet that should be of compassion and protection. This change may not always be easy or comfortable, but it is certainly better than doing nothing and lamenting later. Let us start by raising our voice against animal sacrifice and slaughter.


Other posts by Meera Ahmad:

Abandoning one’s pet: Could there be a crime bigger than that?

8 Comments on “Bakr-Eid: what happens to the goat?

  1. There can be no bigger crime than abandoning a pet.If one had to go through books written by James Herriot one will know that animals too have the same sort of feelings ,sorrows etc etc whatever human beings have,only thing is that they have been made dumb by God.I have face the problem with people abandoning pets.I have adopted the nos of which I cannot recall.I stay at Manipal where they have a large set up of educational institutions.Students keep dogs as their pets and when they finish their course,leave them on the streets and go away.I have been saving n number of them and have given them for adoption,in fact I still have two of them in my house as my own pets.I have been doing this from 1992 0nwards.It is only now slowly the trust I have formed is slowly taking shape,but then as far as contributions for animals are concerned people are very hesitant,whereas for unnecessary things people are prepared to spend money.
    I wish people here would realise the value of life for animals,if one imagines what would have to one,s own child who was brought up in a luxurious surrounding and and then one day would be left on the roads to suffer.I have been around the world for 24 years and I have seen how the care for animal life there.I hope slowly it will happen in our country too.I wish they will organizations like SPCA etc who have powers to punish people who hurt animals and nature.
    Capt Krishna Kumar


  2. Hi,
    A well written post but I would like to highlight a few things here that you may have overlooked. I am a devout Muslim but not an extremist. One look at me and you would wonder whether I practice the religion at all but my religion is practiced from the heart. Anyways the reason I am telling you this is so you can understand that the following statements are coming from a modern educated mind and not from an orthodox Muslim trying to defend her religion. Everything in Islam has a scientific and humanitarian basis. And so does the concept of halal. When u slit the throat of the goat or animal, like the way it is done in Islam, it renders the animal unconscious after a few seconds. From that point onwards, the animal feels no pain. The reason its body kicks and fights are coz of muscle spasms due to lack of oxygen. The animal is made to bleed out so as to get rid of the bacteria in its intestines so that any kind of infection is contained and does not affect the humans. So we have established that the halal method is the most humane and hygienic method to cut meat. Now, it is not compulsory for all Muslims to sacrifice an animal every year, but if u have the economic means it is permissible for you carry out the sacrifice and give one third of it to the poor, giving the people another opportunity to give alms. If all of us decide to become vegans or vegetarians, can you imagine the pressure it would put on our agricultural lands? Respecting mother earth was a point you made, you don’t think all the meat eaters turning vegetarians would destroy the fragile balance our earth is dealing with? With booming population, money hungry industrialists the last thing we need is pressure on our already scant agricultural lands. Now would you rather have people eating meat or people starving to death? Leading to more crimes? Leading to another cause of unrest in society?


    • We thank you for your views and comment on this post. If you could please google and research facts on how much agricultural produce is fed to ‘fatten’ factory farmed animals (animals bred and killed for their meat), you would answers to all your queries posted in the latter half of the comment you had posted.


  3. Dear Imrana,

    Appreciate your scientific points, but you seem to be unmindful of the facts when you argue about food security of the human population.
    Google “Environmental Vegetarianism” and you will get the right facts about how using farmland to feed animals and then eating those animals is 10 times less efficient at feeding people. The farmland needed to feed one non-vegetarian his meat is enough to feed 10 vegetarians people with their food.

    See the section on “Natural Resources Argument” on this page.

    you may also research this page…

    Hope you realise the truth of the matter and become a compassionate animal lover.

    If as they say, “Islam is Peace”, then let it not be so only for humans. Let the peace extend to all living creatures of this earth. Let them live peacefully and share the planet with us. Let all muslims see the light of compassion and abandon the global mass slaughter of dumb animals on their auspicious day of Eid.

    Amen, Insha Allah, Hari Om

    – Gajendra


  4. Please do not make it religion based. If that is the case then what about animal sacrifices that happens in some hindu communities as well. Why is that not being questioned?


    • All sacrifices and the purpose of doing so needs to be questioned. The article above is written by a girl who is part Hindu-part Muslim


  5. I have converted to a vegetarian but still feel that we should not question sacrifice which relates to religious sentiments. Instead we should question regular slaughter of animals for food, scientifically. Once slaughter reduces, sacrifice would also reduce.


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