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Making Sense of Nepal’s Animal Massacre

December 4, 2014 by Leave a Comment


UPDATE: July 28th, 2015 –  Advocacy works. The Gadhimai Temple Trust has responded to the global outcry to ban the ritual slaughter of hundreds of thousands of animals that takes place every four years: “For generations, pilgrims have sacrificed animals to the Goddess Gadhimai, in the hope of a better life. The time has come to replace killing and violence with peaceful worship and celebration.”


Every five years, Hindus from India and Nepal participate in Gadhimai, a ritual slaughter that takes place in Nepal. During the two day ritual, which took place in late November, practitioners chopped off the heads of approximately 300,000 thousand buffalo calves, goats and other animals as a sacrifice to the goddess of power, Gadhimai.

Global efforts to prevent the 2014 Gadhimai failed, but the media and activists shined an international spotlight on the massacre before it began. And, once it started, the 12,000 police officers hired to protect the killers were unable to block the cameras, raising even more public awareness. Pressure is mounting on Nepal to outlaw the ritual.

Actress Joanna Lumley at Gadhimai Protest in London (photo: CIWF)

Actress Joanna Lumley at Gadhimai Protest at Nepal Embassy in London (photo: CIWF)

Because Gadhimai is so violent, one would think that just a small number of people would participate, but, in 2014, the animal holocaust attracted 5 million Hindus.

gadhimai participants2

We can, and should, point a finger at the Nepalese and Indians who participate and expose their crimes, but we should also acknowledge that they are no worse than the millions of people who torture and kill animals in other countries around the world.

Denmark whaling

Annual Pilot Whale Hunt in the Faroe Islands (Photo: Sea Shepherd)

We could, and should, point a finger at Hindus, but we must also acknowledge that people from other religions torture and kill animals in the name of God.

Slaughter in the streets of Brooklyn

Observant Jews swing and sacrifice hundreds of thousands of chickens before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement

What is it about the human species that makes us kill gratuitously – for reasons that have nothing to do with our survival? How is it possible that the most intelligent species is the one that is destroying the planet? How did we become so violent?

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Activists Around the World Protest Hindu, Muslim & Jewish Animal Sacrifice

October 13, 2014 by Leave a Comment

The News

Tis the season to sacrifice animals for God, and activists around the world are rallying on behalf of the victims. Their protests are peaceful, and their message is simple: “Scripture doesn’t mandate sacrifice. Please use an alternative to animals.”

During the Gadhimai festival in Nepal, which takes place once every five years, Hindus slaughter about 500,000 animals, including buffalo, pigs, goats, chickens and pigeons. The sacrifice is made in honor of Gadhimai, the goddess of power, who “brings prosperity” to those who participate.

Gadhimai Festival (photo: Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Gadhimai Festival (photo: Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Animal Welfare Network Nepal, which staged a 50 person protest in Kathmandu on Sunday in advance of the mass animal slaughter, said, “We want to show that religious activities can be carried out without causing harm to animals.” According to the group, activists protested the festival in 24 countries. In the following video, one practitioner says, “I am praying to Gadhimai that my name becomes big in the engineering field.”

During Bakra Eid (Festival of the Sacrifice) on October 4th and 5th, Muslims slaughtered cows, camels, goats, sheep and rams  to honor Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his only son to God.

In India, a Muslim woman from PETA, who promoted vegetarianism near the site of the slaughter, was mobbed by angry worshippers and arrested for “outraging religious feelings.” Dozens of media outlets reported on the incident, which brought her message of peace into millions of homes around the world.

Peaceful protester attacked for promoting vegetarianism

Peaceful protester attacked for promoting vegetarianism

Before Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, some sects of ultra-orthodox Jews transfer their sins to chickens by swinging them around their heads and slaughtering them. Protests in Brooklyn, where over 70,000 of hungry, dehydrated and weak chickens are killed each year, received international media attention.

In all three religions, practitioners invoke the name of God while killing her creatures. Attempting to counter “God said we should do this” with messages about compassion feels like a losing battle, but raising awareness, lobbying decision makers and shining an international spotlight on the abuse will slowly chip away at these barbaric religious rituals.

Your Turn

Please sign the following petitions:

1. Petition to stop animal sacrifice at the Gadhimai festival in Nepal

2. Petition to urge enforcement of laws being broken by Kaporos (chicken swinging) practitioners in New York


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