GEORGE TOWN, July 11 – The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) has expressed concern over the treatment of animals during chariot processions, specifically highlighting an incident during the Chitra Pournami festival in Teluk Intan, Perak. A video recording captured bulls struggling to maneuver a chariot, and it was reported that the bulls were hit by the handler to force them to pull the chariot. CAP finds such treatment of animals appalling, especially in this day and age, and has called on the Malaysia Hindu Sangam (MHS) to establish guidelines for the humane treatment of animals during religious processions.

The association suggests considering the use of motorized vehicles, such as small tractors, with devotees joining in to pull the chariots instead. Respecting and revering all animals is a fundamental principle of Hinduism, and CAP believes that the practice of using bulls to pull chariots should cease immediately to prevent the infliction of unnecessary suffering on animals. Over the years, several changes have already been made regarding the use of bulls in chariot processions:

In 2016, the Penang Hindu Endowment Board (PHEB) prohibited the use of bulls to pull the Thaipusam chariot. In various parts of India, particularly the southern states, the use of bulls in temple chariot processions has been discontinued. Devotees have united to pull the chariots themselves, and tractors have been employed for this purpose. The famous 5-tonne silver chariot procession to Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur is currently drawn by a motorized vehicle.

CAP reiterates its call to the Malaysia Hindu Sangam (MHS), Hindu associations, and temple committees across the country to discontinue the use of bulls for pulling chariots during religious processions. It is crucial to prioritize the well-being and humane treatment of animals while upholding the values and traditions of Hinduism. Mohideen Abdul Kader, President of the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP), concludes the statement by urging stakeholders to take immediate action to address this issue and ensure that animals are treated with compassion and respect during religious observances.

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