The ancient Egyptians were crazy about animals…or at least, animal sacrifices.
Animal Mummies & Animal Sacrifices?
In ancient Egypt, a whole breeding industry existed just to provide citizens with the requisite number of sacrificial victims. Some animals, like the sacred ibis and the baboon, were possibly even driven to regional extinction by this frenzied activity, leading to the rise of a false mummy market. Here’s more on the ancient animal sacrifice market from Discovery News:
Millions of animals were ritually slaughtered in ancient Egypt to foster a huge mummification industry that even drove some species extinct.
As an exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. shows, almost no animals escaped the carnage.
Although pets died of natural causes before their mummification, and sacred beasts were pampered by adoring priests, most animals in ancient Egypt had miserable, short lives. Many were simply bred to become votive mummies — offered to the gods in the same way that people light up candles in churches today…
(See Discovery News for the rest)