Ruling on killing of bull delayed

ANIMAL Rights Africa (ARA) was "heartened" at the Pietermaritzburg high court's decision to postpone until today a ruling on the barehanded ritual killing of a bull at the Zulu first fruits festival.

ANIMAL Rights Africa (ARA) was "heartened" at the Pietermaritzburg high court's decision to postpone until today a ruling on the barehanded ritual killing of a bull at the Zulu first fruits festival.

While it had hoped for a decision on the matter on Tuesday, the delay indicated that the court was "giving serious consideration to the cruelty aspects of the killing", ARA's Steve Smit said yesterday.

A bull is killed during the ukweshwama ceremony as a symbolic way of thanking God for the first crops of the season. The ceremony is to take place on Saturday.

Judge Nic van der Reyden said on Tuesday that it was difficult for him to rule on the matter since the ritual went to the heart of Zulu tradition. He likened halting the tradition to ordering Catholics to stop taking Holy Communion.

The ritual was not carried out by crazy people and needed to be looked at in its proper context, he said.

His understanding was that by killing the bull Zulus believed they were transferring power to their king.

ARA has brought legal action against Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize, arguing that the killing of the bull was cruel and protracted.

Smit said ARA was optimistic that its application would succeed, but should this not be the case it would seek other legal options. - Sapa

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