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Sri Lanka: Bill Prohibiting Slaughter of Cattle Introduced

(Feb. 5, 2009) On January 30, 2009, a Private Member's bill on prohibiting the slaughter of cattle was given to the Speaker of the Sri Lankan House. Acting as an independent, Wijedasa Rajapaksha, the sponsor of the bill and a ruling party member, argued that killing cattle in Sri Lanka is a breach of the precepts of Buddhism. If enacted, the legislation would criminalize the slaughter of cattle, the sale of the flesh of any cattle slaughtered in Sri Lanka, and aiding someone else in such slaughter or sale. Upon conviction of these offenses after a summary trial before a magistrate, a person would be punished with imprisonment for a term not to exceed six months, a fine not to exceed Rs50,000 (about US$438), or both. (A Bill in Sri Lanka Parliament to Prohibit Cattle Slaughter, COLOMBO PAGE, Jan. 30, 2009, available at

According to the WORLD FACTBOOK, Sri Lanka is just over 69% Buddhist; there is also a seven-percent Hindu minority that would presumably support the proposed legislation. (Central Intelligence Agency, Sri Lanka, WORLD FACTBOOK, (last visited Jan. 30, 2009).)