Buffalos, goats, pigeons, pigs, ducks, rats and chickens have been slaughtered during the Gadhimai festival in Nepal. Hundreds of thousands of people attended the festival, bringing their own animals to sacrifice. The two-day event started on Tuesday.
Participants believe that animal sacrifices to the Hindu goddess Gadhimai will end evil and bring prosperity. People also offer coconuts, sweets and red color clothes. The festival has been held every five years for the past 250 years. In 2009 around 250 thousand animals were killed.
This year around 200 butchers with sharpened swords and knives went on a murder spree in an area bigger than a football field where all the animals are brought to. Excited visitors climbed trees to get a glimpse of the killing.
Animal welfare organizations and animal lovers have condemned the cruel killing of animals. In 2015 victory seemed there when Animal Welfare Network Nepal and Humane Society International announced that animal sacrifice was banned at the festival.
But the chairman then of the Gadhimai Temple, Ram Chandra Shah, told the BBC: “Devout Hindus could be requested not to offer an animal sacrifice to the goddess, but they could not be forced not to do so.”
Feel the same pain we do
His colleague Motilal Prasad, then secretary of the temple, said something else to AFP news agency: “We have decided to completely stop the practice of animal sacrifice. I realized that animals are so much like us… and feel the same pain we do.” But in the end, thousands of animals were still slaughtered this year.
Saving animals at the border
A lot of the animals that are being sacrificed come from India. Humane Society International tried rescuing animals at the border between India and Nepal. They were able to save hundreds of animals from beheading.
Most violent bloodied event on earth
Richard ‘Kudo’ Couto from Animal Recovery Mission is at the festival: “Gadhimai is a great mix of a family orientated carnival-like setting and the most violent bloodied event on earth….all in one! Being the most seasoned undercover animal cruelty investigator, even for me, it was almost too much to bare.”
In May, the heavy metal band Underside from Nepal released a song about the festival. They strongly condemned the killing or abuse of any kind or any manner in the name of God.