• Perspective Mag

Animals and South Asian Weddings, why? - By Halimah Begum

Many South Asian weddings use animals in their traditional celebrations, right? We’re all familiar with this. But, is this right?

Is this not an act of animal abuse and brutality? Is this not a crime?

South Asian wedding traditions are known to be rather extravagant. Grooms tend to arrive in a procession known as a baraat, marking the official start of the ceremony. This is when the groom is sat on a vibrantly decorated horse or an elephant, and is paraded in front of the guests. Although it may bring him a sense of momentary pride, what about the animal he’s been so generously hoisted upon? Is it fair that such traditions require the use of animals? Just for the purpose of extravagance and grandeur? Being human does not give us power over animals or the right to treat them in such an objectifying manner.

In such situations, the animals used are hired and paid for. Is that really enough? Putting a price on animals and using them like a service is a controversial matter. And what if we were made to play the same role? This would be frowned upon, should humans be treated in such a manner.

There are negative effects of such practices on the physical and psychological well-being of the animals involved. We humans aren’t the only ones who face mental health problems. Animals suffer increased anxiety. Horses and elephants carry the weight of a human for many hours, often with little or no rest. They also have the burden of wearing decorations, which can be itchy, painful, and uncomfortable.

This has to stop.

Change is needed.

We need to limit or abandon the use of animals at weddings.

If you are the one who is using animals in a procession as a consumer, it is also your responsibility to ensure that the animals being used are being taken care of.

If you must include animals in your festivities, you should also only hire from companies who take the utmost care of their animals. Such companies must have ethically compliant practices. If you come across a company that fails to do so, please do report them to the authorities. Many companies may abuse or neglect the animals in their ‘care’ in an undercover manner, which is animal cruelty at its highest form. This is where animals are in the most danger. We must act to protect animals from such harm.

We need to change the norm in South Asian wedding traditions. This has been happening for far too long. It will never be okay to use animals for entertainment purposes. Weddings can still be fun without the use of animals. We can keep the traditional aspect of South Asian weddings, but we should work to mitigate the unnecessary harm that arises because of such traditions. Because trust me, the damage is way more than the temporary enjoyment.


Twitter: @HalimahsWords

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