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Animal Sacrifice in Pagan and Polytheist Religion

By Conor O’Bryan Warren

My dad swung the chicken over his head and in one swift fluid motion its life was ended. It twitched and convulsed for a few seconds longer but the hen did not linger; after the body was still my mother began the process of removing the feathers, feeding the non-food organs to our dog, and eventually cooking the bird. I was four years old. At four I realized that the food I ate was once alive. The hen once clucked and scratched the ground, searching for bugs whose lives she could end to sustain her own. Now her life was over so we could sustain ours.

This was not my first or last time witnessing the death of a chicken, it was the first time I understood. In coming years I witnessed the deaths of many other livestock animals; goats, cows, and pigs mostly. Not every death I witnessed was to put food on my plate but it was to put food on someone else’s. It was drilled into me over and over again; for one thing to live another must die.

Now I’m 21 and in a peculiar place in the world. I received baleful glances from my fellow students in my Anthropology of Religion class when I came out in favor of the practice of animal sacrifice. People laughed at me and looked at me oddly as I explained the basics. “If you are against animal sacrifice and eat meat, you are a hypocrite flat-out. Have you seen the factory farm videos? They are treated horribly.”

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