Every year at this time a Festival of Light is celebrated in Bangladesh. It is a Hindu tradition that is held once a year, and corresponding with the festival Diwali, paying homage to Kali, the Hindu goddess of power. As beautiful as all this sounds it is actually a ritual of slaughter and death for approximately 100,000 turtles that are sacrificed to the goddess.

The slaughter is overlooked by the authorities even though many of the turtles are critically endangered and featured on Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act. On paper the turtle is offered the same level of protection as a tiger. "Since the killing of turtles was made illegal, this mass slaughter has been carried out in the name of 'religion'," said Dr Rashid of Centre for Advanced Research in Natural Resources & Management in Bangladesh. Followers believe that by eating the turtle, they will take on its strength and longevity. It is because of these religious reasons that the authorities turn a blind eye fearing they will cause social unrest.

During the festival most of Bangladesh's Hindu population consume the turtle meat . The market streets are teeming with religious devotees who purchase and consume thousands of turtle meat, limbs and organs . When night falls and the festival in Dhaka, Bangladesh begins, the turtles are impaled upside down onto poles. The turtles are then brutally killed with knives and sticks. After the festival, even the thousands of turtle shells have some value. Some of it is processed and used as fish and chicken feed, but the majority of the dried shell is shipped to south east Asia where it is used in traditional medicine. It is believed that consuming turtle shell increases virility there.

Turtles have been on earth for over 220 million years. They even survived the disaster that wiped out the dinosaurs. But now turtles are amongst the world's most endangered animals. It is estimated that around half of their 300+ species are threatened with extinction. Two of the critically endangered species of turtles are the Northern river terrapin and the Black soft-shell turtle, both of which are sacrificed in the name of religion.

Over recent years Bangladesh has become a hot spot for the illegal turtle smuggling trade. The turtle trade also offers a source of income to up to 30,000 people. Many people have been eating turtles during the Festival for a long time and it is a tradition that they swear to continue even if the government tries to stop them. Therefore the outlook for these turtles appears to be very bleak unless the trade for them stops and the slaughter in the name of religion is regulated. If it is allowed to continue, a number of turtle species will soon be lost forever.

Before the slaughter: Turtles pictured before being savaged for their meat

Responses to "100,000 turtles sacrificed in Bangladesh in the name of religion"

  1. Patricia Mosier says:

    Are you babarians? stop this senseless killing! What kind of religion is this?God does not demand the murder of innocents!!

  2. Kim says:

    SO sad! Made me cry!

  3. adam says:

    the christian god does. in the book of genesis.abels sacrifice was in gods good faith because it was an animal but kanes was not because his was grain.

  4. Anonymous says:

    this is quite sad. @Adam, you are quite wrong, however. Abel's sacrifice found favor in God's eyes not because he sacrificed an animal, but because he sacrificed the best of what he had and gave it to God. Cane's did not find favor in God's eyes because he did not offer his best work. Furthermore, that happened in the Old Testament, which is the Old Covenant. With the New Covenant (the New Testament) the sacrificing of animals ended because Jesus, God's son, sacrificed himself. So there is no need to sacrifice animals anymore.

  5. Anonymous says:

    King English of England.Trade offers in cattles and wolf dogs more from you.Address:Mian Zaheer,Bora,NWFP,England.

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