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Sunday, 28 January 2007


Clive Simpkins

Wayne. You need to separate me calling for a respect for cultural tradition from a) Me agreeing with it b) Endorsing it c) Approving of it. The fact that people disagree with it is NOT going to stop it happening.


I tend to agree with many of the points you make, Clive.

We must note that the SPCA is mandated to investigate allegations of animal cruelty. It cannot be selective about which allegations it looks into, just as an organisation tasked with child welfare cannot decide to look into some cases but not into others.

However, it seems that the clamour being raised around the slaughter of an ox at a traditional ceremony, comes mainly from a certain quarter, and not necessarily from the SPCA itself. On perusing the letters pages of some newspapers it is apparent that the purpose of this clamour is not so much to protest the alleged maltreatment of the ox, but rather to further demonize Tony Yengeni and to pour scorn upon traditional African cultural practices.

Rather than seeking to understand why animal sacrifice is necessary in many traditional ceremonies, there is a section of mainly white people who defame the practitioners of this culture as 'barbaric', 'primitive' and 'savage' and pontificate about the backwardness of people who do such things. This is but thinly disguised racism. Attempts to cloak it in the garb of righteousness cannot conceal this fact.

I have been fortunate enough to have attended a number of traditional ceremonies over the years, and not once have I witnessed acts of wanton cruelty. While it may be distressing to see an animal being slaughtered in front of you, this is little different from what happens in the abbatoir. Indeed, one could argue that it is somewhat more humane than an abbatoir, where animals are herded along a chute, the smell of death in their nostrils, waiting for the blow of the bolt gun.

Perhaps there is the need to regulate the practice to ensure that the slaughter of animals for traditional purposes is carried out in a manner that reduces the pain and suffering of the animal as much as possible. But this cannot be done without the involvement of the practitioners of this culture themselves. A case in point is the regulation of circumcision. By engaging the practitioners of this tradition, it has been possible to decrease the health risks which initiates face.

Regarding Mr. Bone above - resorting to ad hominem attacks on Clive Simpkins, does not make your rather garbled argument any stronger. This somewhat futile tactic gives the impression that you are a rather intemperate, childish and crass person. In isiXhosa, this type of behaviour is called ubunja -which basically means that you are behaving not like a person, but like a dog.

Clive Simpkins

Lev, agree on all points.

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