As mentioned, both Santeria and Palo Mayombe believe that animal sacrifice is a fundamental aspect of the belief system and ritually required as offerings to the gods. Animal sacrificed is perceived as the assimilation of power harnessed through the degree of torture, pain, and blood that the victim ‘offers.’
Santeria rituals are commonly known for milder good and harmful spells. These include spells for love, acquiring money, passing tests or exams, protecting against evil, or criminal prosecution—however, rituals for evil spells of jealousy and revenge are commonly done.
Currently, religious sacrifice is legal to practice, but supreme court judges have made their opinions public many times. They have stated its practices are an abuse of the ‘necessary’ rituals and that animals used in ceremonies classify animal cruelty and abuse, as in the 1993 case against The Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye.
Following ARM’s constant flow of cases relating to animal sacrifice, in 2011, Founder Richard’ Kudo’ Couto investigated and challenged the same Santeria church and its High Priest Ernesto Pichardo for their practices and extreme cruelty and abuse of animals. It was the first time an animal welfare organization had publicly approached a Santeria Churches religion and rights to animal sacrifice and degrees of practice. The church’s High priest and its followers retaliated to ARM’s pressure by responding publicly to airwaves, radio, and TV shows to denounce ARM’s credibility. This reaction proved the vulnerability of the religion. Since the heat between ARM and The Santeria Church of Lukumi, Santos’s ceremonies took place to curse the ARM organization and its founder.
Although animal sacrifice is legal under the Santeria religion, the disposal of animal carcasses in public places is a violation of health codes, and arrests still occur and exposed through the media.