Animal burial with Buddhist rituals in Bihar

By Surya Pratap Singh, ANI, Sept 13, 2007

Bodh Gaya, Bihar (India) -- Maitri, a non-Government Organisation, has made arrangements to give special medical care to pet animals, and if they die, give them a dignified burial.

Being run by an Italian lady in Bodh Gaya, the NGO Maitri tends to stray and pet animals in a way that is rarely heard in other parts of the country, even abroad.

The animals brought to the Maitri are rendered all possible medical care such as immunisation and anti-rabbies treatment. In case of death, these animals are given a dignified burial at the organisation's specially maintained graveyard as per Buddhist rituals.

Adriana Ferranti, the Italian director of Maitri, says: "I do what one does when a human being dies. We circumambulate the dead remains, be it a dog or any other animal, around a Stupa to seek Buddha's blessings for the dead being. Thereafter, we bury the animal with due rituals. It is done to ensure a better rebirth for the animal."

Many volunteers, including some workers of Maitri, consider it their social duty to tend to all uncared animals including cattle, cats, rats and goats.

The dead animal is wrapped in a clean white cloth and a Buddhist or Hindu priest performs all the required rituals.

Remains of more than 150 animals, mostly dogs, have been buried here with their epitaphs carrying names, possible date of birth and death and in some cases even their pedigree.

"When an animal dies, madam (Adriana) ensures that it is buried or cremated with honour," said Jumman, an employee of Maitri.

These last rite services are offered free of cost.

The service is also availed by many poor owners for their livestock or pets to avail the veterinary services from the NGO.

Maitri animal burial ground is probably the first of its kind in Bihar and Jharkhand.