Animal rights activists decry mass slaughtering at GadhimaiBrutal massacre of tens of thousands of animals challenges the Supreme Court order, campaigners say.
Animal rights activists have condemned the mass killings of thousands of animals at the Gadhimai Festival despite the Supreme Court order to stop the practice.
The Federation of Animal Welfare Nepal, which had campaigned extensively against the mass animal sacrifice, said on Sunday that it was saddened by the bloodbath of animals during the festival organised in Bara district amidst international protests.
“We are very much saddened to encounter this barbaric act in the 21st century where the century-old tradition of pleasing the goddess by forgoing other sentient beings surpasses the humane ideology of preventing cruelty,” said Sneha Shrestha, president of of the Federation of Animal Welfare Nepal. “The federation strictly condemns this brutal ritual massacre, which firmly challenged the Supreme Court.”
In August 2016, the Supreme Court, responding to a writ petition filed against the mass slaughter, had issued an order to the government to stop the cruel act of animal sacrifices during the Gadhimai fair.
Following the Supreme Court order, the Gadhimai Five-yearly Festival Main Committee said that it would follow the court’s orders and would not kill any pigeons since they are believed to be signs of peace.
Millions of people from across Nepal and India throng the temple site every five years in honour of Gadhimai, the goddess of power, to observe the festival which is often referred to as the world’s bloodiest. Like in the past, tens of thousands of animals were sacrificed this year as well.
“The federation was hopeful for the positive results from the campaign after considering the Supreme Court decision to discourage the ritual animal sacrifice in Nepal,” said the federation in a statement. “The court directed Nepal Government bodies to take action to curb the animal sacrifice in the Gadhimai festival by bearing in mind the cultural sensitivity of the people.”
According to the federation, slaughtering of buffaloes, including the calves, was performed by around 200 unlicenced butchers in the slaughter arena of 13,735 square metres, which is around 200m away from the main temple.
Every five years, Gadhimai, located in Bariyapur, six kilometres north of Bara’s headquarters Kalaiya, otherwise a quiet place—makes national and international headlines for its mass slaughter of animals.
This year again, the slaughter of various species of animals continued unchecked. According to the federation, the slaughtering of the animals continued for nearly five hours, and post-sacrifice head counting of dead buffaloes inside the arena was at 4,000 and tens of thousands of other small animals especially goats and chickens.
“Regardless of all the promises made by government bodies and the Festival Management Main Committee, they all decided to continue the inhumane massacre and failed to keep the promises they made including protecting the buffalo calves,” said the animal rights activists in the statement.