Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

‘Tradition Is Not an Excuse for Cruelty’

Written by PETA | November 6, 2009
timeslive / CC
Ukweshwama

In Spain, the bullfight is on its way out. In Britain, it was fox hunting, which is now illegal. In the U.S., we have our own shameful traditions, including slavery, to dwell on. And in South Africa, apartheid may be a thing of the past, but another cruel custom persists.

Sadly, during the festival of Ukweshwama, a group of youths torment and slaughter a terrified bull with their bare hands. They rip out the bull’s tongue, shove handfuls of dirt into his mouth, tear out his eyes, and mutilate his genitals. This horrible murder has been excused from compliance with laws against animal cruelty under the country’s “cultural liberty” exemption.

Abusing animals does not bring honor to any culture. Indian humanitarian, journalist, government minister, and advocate for animals Maneka Gandhi knows that and has sent a letter on behalf of PETA Asia to South African President Jacob Zuma urging him to modernize this cruel ritual. She writes:

While I respect culture, this bull-killing ritual causes extreme suffering to an innocent creature and has no place in the modern world. Tradition is not an excuse for cruelty, and many societies have ended or are working to end ‘traditional’ practices—such as slavery, cannibalism, infanticide, female circumcision, foot-binding, bullfighting, and fox hunting—that cause animals or humans to suffer.

As Maneka Gandhi points out in her letter, it’s impossible to deny the link between violence toward animals and violence toward people. We hope that President Zuma and other world leaders who care about making their countries less violent will put an end to horrific practices such as this.

Written by Heather Drennan

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  • Anuradha Singh says:

    I agree with Maneka Gandhi.This torture and killing of Bull is not a cultural heritage.They are just like has and has right to live as we are living.We are not living in primitive age.This barbaric cruelty should be stopped.

  • Annie Zhang says:

    I would like to post my opinion on this matter. As you can tell I am not a vegetarian. However I do oppose acts of animal cruelty if it is absolutely baseless and done for entertainment. The ukweshwama is a ritual in which young men kill a castrated bull they do not as you say mutilate its nonexistant genitals. I doubt you have attended this ceremony and seen it of course I am always open for argument and corrections I am not necessarily right. I would also like to reply to the other comments that were made. Firstly if the people had made the other responses to this post are avid PETA fans why are they supporting violence to humans? As quoted from mooly “how would they like it if there eyeballs were ripped out of their SKULLS!!! and if their tounges were mutilated out of their mouths and than having dirt shoved in!!!! I HATE CRULITY IT IS STUPIED SICK AND NASTY!! who ever started this crulity crap then THEY R A COMPLETE RETARDED FREAK.” Second of all the ritual is not held for entertainment. It is a sign of courage and strength as written in a blog from a person who had witnessed as you say this act of cruelty and horrific practice. The “children” who take part in this ritual are coming into adulthood and must attain it by proving that they are strong enough to kill the bull. I apologize but I have to laugh at the comments made. “Savagely killed?” Why don’t you think about the animals that are slaughtered around the world to be consumed by people? “Terrible and coward” you say? As said before the idea of the ritual was that the strength of the killed bull. One response from Brandon reads “slaughtering a bull with your bare hands?????? how the hell even is that tradition????? it’s like people get together and brainstorm all the possible cruel things you could do!!” How Brandon do you know that they got together and “brainstormed” ways to kill animals? Do you believe that all tribal peoples are idiots who will only pass the time by killing animals? How can you say that it isn’t a tradition? Have you actually taken time to research the ritual before commenting on an extremely biased opinion? Another comment which makes me laugh at the things people write in their blind anger is the following “this makes me feel savage and able to kill.all the people who do these things are worth less than nothing.i am a peacefulgentlecaring soul.but i am also feeling complete hatred towards any person who abuses those weaker than themselves.BULLIESPATHETIC LIMPWEAK BULLIES.your reward waits for you in hell!” Michelle Betts The tone of voice in your comment is quite condescending and incredibly ignorant to say the least. She is implying that large adult bulls are weaker than 15 year old young men and that the said young men are weak and pathetic bullies. The only thing weak I see here is her comment which has been made with bad punctuation and judgment. And it makes her able to kill? Kill what flowers? And this quote does not make sense at all “wow.. sick and discusting..Nice way to bring more civil humans into this already sick world!!!!!!!!!” I am guessing that the writer of this comment meant the opposite of what had been written. ” Okay back to the point why kill bulls for fun!!! that is grossanimal murder and crulity why o why would u pull out a animals tounge shouve dirt into its mouth and then yank its eyeballs OUT!!…” Again taken from mooly’s comment and again the bulls are not killed for fun. Linda from Oz writes “Can the organizing committee please advise us as to whether or not they are still going forward with this barbaric act?? There are plenty of people who have not yet bought their tickets to Africa who are seriously weighing up their plans. After all youngsters are taught it’s okay to kill bulls what’s the difference between torturing bulls and attacking tourists??? Do tourists seriously wish to be in the company of a nation that sees fit to train it’s youth to inflict violent torture on innocent animals??? No respect for life…. I suggest World Cup be moved to a “civilized” country….and boycott Africa.. Disgusted Aussie ashamed to be an ex South African ” Pardon my language but where the f did you get the idea that the ritual was open for tourists to see? And a quick reply to Sammy girl sensibalism is not a word people back then did not survive solely on bulls bison and buffalo though that is a nice alliteration props to that the bull are not taken from the wild nor will this annual ritual which only requires one bull deplete the ever growing population of bulls and the bulls are not “being killed as we speak” or type for that matter. Also they do not eat the bull. I would write more but I doubt you would read it. I am also not a professor or antiPETA I am merely but a highschooler coming across an article of some controversy. Hopefully you do read it. I would appreciate it greatly. Hear a meateater’s opinions. Thank you.

  • Nanci Dagragnano says:

    Pathetic!! Never heard of such cruelty been regarded as tradition before. Influencing locals should do something about it. Thansk God Peta has been involved in it now

  • Lynda from Oz says:

    Can the organizing committee please advise us as to whether or not they are still going forward with this barbaric act?? There are plenty of people who have not yet bought their tickets to Africa who are seriously weighing up their plans. After all youngsters are taught it’s okay to kill bulls what’s the difference between torturing bulls and attacking tourists??? Do tourists seriously wish to be in the company of a nation that sees fit to train it’s youth to inflict violent torture on innocent animals??? No respect for life…. I suggest World Cup be moved to a “civilized” country….and boycott Africa.. Disgusted Aussie ashamed to be an ex South African

  • mooly says:

    JUST SO U KNOW I’M FRIENDS WITH SAMMY GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Okay back to the point why kill bulls for fun!!! that is grossanimal murder and crulity why o why would u pull out a animals tounge shouve dirt into its mouth and then yank its eyeballs OUT!! i think that this is gross why cant people have sense?! i mean really what did the bull do 2 them?!! heres the answer NOTHING!!! how would they like it if there eyeballs were ripped out of their SKULLS!!! and if their tounges were mutilated out of their mouths and than having dirt shoved in!!!! I HATE CRULITY IT IS STUPIED SICK AND NASTY!! who ever started this crulity crap then THEY R A COMPLETE RETARDED FREAK

  • Sammy Girl says:

    I agree with Maneka on the behalf of sensibalisam in this culture however this was not right even BEFORE modern day. Those bullls are r being killed as we speak! WILL SOMEONE PLEASE STOP THIS MADNESS?!?! How would u like it if someone put u in a pen and then RIPPED OUT UR EYES AND TOUNG?….. With their bare hands too! I absolutley despise this insignificant stupid ignorant and uncaring african cultre!!!! How is the bull suposed to reproduce that will eventually lead to mass extinction of these wonderful strong and magnificant creatures!!! there was a time when the human population was sustained entirely on bulls buffalos and bison. Back then is when we NEEDED to kill animals TO STAY ALIVE!! Now we have a little something called the super market!!! ooohh ahhhh it’s sooo amazing right? SOMEONE please do SOMETHING!!!

  • Innocent Eyes says:

    This is truely disgusting. Just to let you know .In the UK fox hunting ban maybe abolished because of the snobby twats we have aka the tories . If i had my way Greenpeace would be the government and there would be a bettercleaner place for our generation and future generations. Hopefully Its not too late to save the world and the future children.

  • marea says:

    You have to be joking? I have never heard of this disgusting practice.. What in gods name are these children like? I cannot imagine anything like this and i hope that Peta Asia is able to stop this … Horrible mean cruel heartless little whimps…tht is what u ALL are…!! Disgusted Aussie…

  • carla says:

    wow.. sick and discusting..Nice way to bring more civil humans into this already sick world!!!!!!!!!

  • michelle betts says:

    this makes me feel savage and able to kill.all the people who do these things are worth less than nothing.i am a peacefulgentlecaring soul.but i am also feeling complete hatred towards any person who abuses those weaker than themselves.BULLIESPATHETIC LIMPWEAK BULLIES.your reward waits for you in hell!

  • Pamrita says:

    Animal cruelty like this repulses me and it would be justice if this was done back to the people who do this to animals. A punishment needs to be made so that these people will want to tear out their own eyes before they dream of doing any harm to an animal. We need to stick together and make a difference now.

  • roxanne says:

    what sort of kids do such cruel acts? horrible.

  • Mary Ellen says:

    Seriously! What the f!k is wrong with people!!!??????

  • Lisa Moran says:

    Is there an address or email to write to so we can contact these leaders and ask them to stop this brutal practice? This is deplorable and insane.

  • Gopal says:

    This is one of the most brutal ways of living in the guise of tradition. Probably those traditions were created when beasts were transforming into humans. Now that we have been completely transformed into human form this is the time to avoid such traditions.

  • M says:

    I’m a South African but I almost feel too embarrassed to say it. South Africa is tormented by violence. Murder armed robbery torture gangsterism rape child rape sexual abuse and violence towards women and children are everyday occurrences here. It doesn’t even appear on the front pages of the newspapers anymore. This ritual teaches these boys from a young age that violence towards the defenceless is acceptable behavior. In a society where crime and abuse is the order of the day this is the last thing that the youth of this counrty should be taught. Please PETA make a big deal of this. This is not the only cruel custom towards animals that are takes place here. Plans are being made to sacrifice cows in each of the stadiums that will be used in the 2010 Soccor World Cup which is to be hosted by South Africa. The only way that this can be stopped is if there is an international outcry. If the international community refuses to endorse and support South Africa in the soccer maybe the powers that be who by the way all support these cruel practices will make changes. There is an Animal Protection Act in South Africa it’s just not being enforced.

  • Toby Saunders says:

    Tradition isn’t a good reason to do anything whatsoever.

  • Tamra says:

    This is one that I have never heard of before. Amazing I thought I already knew of all the horrible things humans do to animals…..and it was enough!!!

  • lynda downie says:

    Thank you Maneka Ghandi and Peta Asia. I hope that President Zuma is moved to end this abusive senseless tradition.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    Animal abuse in Africa is horrific and widespread but I guess it’s “Politically incorrect” to critize a violent Continent wherein monkeys bonobos and gorillas are savagely killed and then eaten as a gourmet food. It’s people are brutalized by vicious Dictators and tribes too ! The great Nelson Mandela was and is a great role model but it seems like very few African leaders want to embrace his peaceful and nonviolent worldview.

  • Brandon says:

    slaughtering a bull with your bare hands?????? how the hell even is that tradition????? it’s like people get together and brainstorm all the possible cruel things you could do!!

  • Claudia Martin says:

    It’s time to become enlightened all creatures must be treated compassionately humanly and stop living in ignorance.

  • Marilena Rosa says:

    Unfortunately in Santa Catarina State in Brazilwe have the same practice in Easter even if it is ilegalsome people and autorities encourage it.It is terrible and coward.

  • Shari says:

    Teaching children to be cruel to animals is wrong. “Tradition” is not a reason to comment acts of violence against animals. Its “ignorance” that makes this violence a “tradition” GO TEAM PETA! This tragic “tradition” will come to a end soon!