Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dog weddings called off on grounds of cruelty.

A Hindu wedding ceremony of 18 dogs has been called off in India after hardline religious groups and animal rights activists said it was a mockery of the religion and cruel to the canines, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

The marriage of nine dogs to nine bitches to promote canine culture was expected to take place on Sunday in the northwestern town of Jaipur, the Times of India reported.

But the wedding which, according to Hindu rituals involves sitting in front of a sacred fire and exchanging flower garlands, was canceled after groups including People for Animals (PFA) criticized the event.

The marriage would also have included a procession and a huge feast with a special dance party. Event management company B Positive and the Pink City Canine Club were organizing the spectacle.

"In my opinion, marriage of dogs is cruelty on animals," the newspaper quoted the PFA's chairman Naresh Kadyan as saying.

"People hold the front legs of the dogs against their will and force them to dance, which is cruel. The lights, noise, sound used in these kinds of events also hurt them."

The organizers said they were sorry for hurting people's sentiments but added they still planned to go ahead with the other events, including a beauty pageant for "unmarried dogs."

Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited.

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