Types of Offerings:
Animal Sacrifice Where the Meat is Eaten:
Most ceremonies that involve animal sacrifice also involve the participants eating the flesh of the slaughtered animal. The orishas are only interested in the blood. As such, once the blood is drained and offered, the meat is eaten. Indeed, the preparation of such a meal is an aspect of the overall ritual.
There's a variety of purposes for such a sacrifice. Initiations require blood sacrifice because the new santero or santera must be able to be possessed by the orishas and interpret their wishes.
Santeria believers do not merely approach the orishas when they want something. It is a continual reciprocal arrangement. Blood may therefore be sacrificed as a way of saying thank you after the receiving of good fortune or the resolution of a difficult matter.
Animal Sacrifice When Meat is Discarded:
The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that religious animal sacrifice cannot be made illegal, as it falls under freedom of religion. However, those that perform animal sacrifices do need to follow certain rules to limit the suffering of the animals, just as slaughterhouses have to do the same. Santeria communities do not find these rules to be burdensome, as they have no interest in making the animals suffer.
What is becoming more controversial is the discarding of purification sacrifices. The discarding of carcasses in certain locations is important to many believers, but that leaves local city workers the task of cleaning up the rotten bodies. City governments and Santeria communities need to work together to find compromises on the subject, and the Supreme Court also ruled that related ordinances should not be overly burdensome to believers.