To offer one’s life to the creator of the same life doesn’t make sense nor does it justify something so insane. Call it superstition, call it ignorance, yet the trend continues even amongst the most elite and the most educated sects. Animal sacrifices are done in the name of pleasing a particular God. Worse is this Gadhimai festival in Bara District, from Southern Nepal where hundreds of living beings are killed in horrible ways to please a particular god.
Is animal sacrifice justified in the Vedas?
This is again a big misconception that the Vedas supports Animal Sacrifice in Yajnas. The main reason for this misconception is a wrong interpretation of the Vedas. In the middle ages, a class of ignorant pundits arise in the scenario which was fond of meat eating. To support their sinful acts they started wrong interpretation of the Vedas. This unjustified act leads to the killing of many of innocent animals in the name of Vedas. More than that it brought shame to the name of Vedas as Holy Texts.
There are many pieces of evidence from the Vedas which proves that Vedas never supports any violence in the form of Animal Sacrifice.
Look on all (Humans as well as Animals) with the eye of a friend. (Yajur Veda).
Friend to all should the Arya be! Friend to all! Sure he cannot destroy the life of any. Therefore he is ordered in the sacred scriptures. (Yajur 42-49).”
Thou shalt not kill the horse; thou shalt not kill the cow; thou shalt not kill the sheep or goat; thou shalt not kill the bipeds;oh man! Protect the gregarious deer; kill not the milch or otherwise useful animals.”Elsewhere the scripture says: “They that trouble others for the sake of their own good are Rakshas (monsters) and they that eat the flesh of birds and beasts are Pishachas (devils) (Yajur 34-51).
For flesh-eating, drinking, gambling and adultery, all, destroy and mar the mental faculties of a man (Atharva VI.7-70-71)
They are sinners as eat raw or cooked flesh, or eggs go to destruction. (Atharva VIII.2-26-23).
The Veda considers the protection of animals to be a very sacred act—so, so very sacred that it lays down that a husband should solemnly ask his wife on the occasion of marriage “to be kind to animals and to try to protect the happiness of all bipeds and quadrupeds.” In return, the husband promises to do the same.(Rig I.16-114)
In Mahabharata, Krishna was discussing food habits with Yudhishtra. He adds that “cooked food should be consumed within one hour. Otherwise, the food loses its value. While coming to the non-vegetarian food, the meat is not eaten live like fresh fruits/vegetables, and the animal/bird has to be killed. So at the time of cooking, the meat loses its nutritional value while the animal/bird is dead already. So consuming non-vegetarian food is like dumping waste in our body, rather than gaining nutrition. Hence, even for Kshatriya, I don’t recommend having non-vegetarian food.”
So no the Vedas do not allow such acts in the name of religion but, the cycle does not end here. Why? Because of every day, in any country, developed or developing, millions of innocent lives are taken in various meat industries.They are treated inhumanly; they don’t have a proper living space, no hygienic environment. They are not treated as a living being, one who can feel pain, feel emotions, hunger, tiredness, sadness, love. And this must be changed.