The world’s largest animal sacrifice, the “Gadhimai festival,” has now come to an end.
It is a move that will save the lives of millions of animals.
The Gadhimai festival is held every five years at Bariyapur in southern Nepal. For the last 300 years, hundreds of thousands of Hindu devotees have come to the festival, where animals are sacrificed in the hope of pleasing the Hindu goddess of power, Gadhimai.
“The Gadhimai Temple Trust hereby declares our formal decision to end animal sacrifice. With your help, we can ensure Gadhimai 2019 is free from bloodshed. Moreover, we can ensure Gadhimai 2019 is a momentous celebration of life,” the chairman of the trust, Ram Chandra Shah, said in a statement.
“For generations, pilgrims have sacrificed animals to the Goddess Gadhimai, in the hope of a better life. For every life taken, our heart is heavy; the time has come to transform an old tradition. The time has come to replace killing and violence with peaceful worship and celebration,” he added.
It has been estimated that more than 500,000 buffalo, goats, chickens, and other animals had been decapitated at the festival in 2009, but the numbers had reduced by 70 percent in 2014.
“This achievement is no small feat. We take our hats off to the extraordinary efforts of the Humane Society International/India, Animal Welfare Network Nepal (AWNN), and countless animal protection groups and individuals around the world who have helped inspire this victory of kindness over cruelty,” wrote Animals Australia.
Manoj Gautam, the founding member of AWNN who campaigned against the Gadhimai festival, said: “We applaud the temple committee’s decision to end this mass slaughter of innocent animals and hope that they will continue to support us in our future endeavors for protecting animals in the country.”
“The AWNN’s progressive move to work directly with the temple committee, with Humane Society International/India’s support has been the key that changed the whole face of the campaign and is the reason for the achievement we have now,” Gautam added.
Shri Ram Chandra Shah said in a statement: “Our concern has been this: How do we convince the people, so desperate for the favor of Gadhimai, that there is another way? How do we bring them on our journey?”
“Thankfully, the dedicated efforts of the Animal Welfare Network Nepal (and Humane Society International) has shown us the path and provided the motivation to make this transformation a reality,” Shri Ram Chandra Shah added.
End the Sacrifice at the Gadhimai Festival (video contains extreme violence):
“According to legend, the first sacrifices in Bariyapur were conducted several centuries ago when Gadhimai appeared to a prisoner in a dream and asked him to establish a temple to her. When he awoke, his shackles had fallen open and he was able to leave the prison and build the temple, where he sacrificed animals to give thanks,” according to The Guardian.
It is a win for animals, and hopefully other countries/tradition can see what is best for animals.