I know a while back ago, the Supreme court decided that it is unconstitutional for states to make animal sacrifice illegal.

Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. Hialeah, 508 U.S. 520 (1993), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that an ordinance passed in Hialeah, Florida, forbidding the "unnecessar[y]" killing of "an animal in a public or private ritual or ceremony not for the primary purpose of food consumption", was unconstitutional.


But is it constitutional for states to require a permit to practice animal sacrifice? If so, does Massachusetts require my church to get a permit for animal sacrifice?

1 Answer 1


The same principles as articulated in Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye also prohibit requiring a permit, since a permit implies the possibility of denying permission, and they cannot deny permission to practice your religion. See Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York, Inc. v. Village of Stratton, 536 U.S. 150. In general, the practice of religion cannot be regulated, though of course human sacrifice can be because it follows directly from statutes against murder (there are no separate laws against human sacrifice for religious purposes).

  • Animal cruelty laws?
    – Dale M
    Mar 3, 2019 at 19:57
  • 1
    Not applicable to humane animal sacrifice. We will have to see what happens, if there's a religious case where animal torture is required. Animal sacrifice is not illegal under cruelty laws.
    – user6726
    Mar 3, 2019 at 20:10

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