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Sacrifice and slaughter: ancient and modern understanding
  1. Bruce Vivash Jones
  1. Ermin Way House, 34-36 Dollar Street, Cirencester GL7 2AN; e-mail:

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TWO recent items in Veterinary Record serve to illustrate very differing approaches to animal welfare around the time of slaughter, one ancient, and one very much more modern.

The first of these items described the celebration of British livestock conducted outside St Paul's Cathedral, and contained a photograph of a clergyman blessing two shorthorn cattle adorned with decorative girth bands (VR, December 17, 2016, vol 179, p 615). The photograph duplicates, with surprising accuracy, an image printed in an earlier issue of Veterinary Record (Jones 2011). This showed the Roman ceremony of suovetauralia, with a bull dressed with a ceremonial girth band before being blessed and sprinkled with water and then sacrificed.

Roman religious …

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