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THE KILLING FIELDS: The Largest Mass Animal ‘Sacrifice’ in the World Is About to Begin

As many as 500,000 animals, ranging from buffalos, goats and chickens, to pigs, ducks, rats and pigeons, are decapitated with blunt metal swords during an alcohol-fueled bloodbath.

ARISTOS GEORGIOU: ‘At the beginning of next month, Nepal will host an event which features the largest mass animal sacrifice in the world. The Gadhimai festival—which takes place every five years in the country’s Bara district—involves a whole month of celebrations, culminating in the ritual slaughter of tens of thousands of animals. A host of creatures—ranging from buffalos, goats and chickens, to pigs, ducks, rats and pigeons—are decapitated with blunt metal swords during an alcohol-fueled bloodbath, according to non-profit Humane Society International (HSI)…

“The killing is brutal, there can be do doubt about that,” Wendy Higgins, an HSI spokesperson, told Newsweek. “The animals are decapitated using a large sword-like instrument. The animals are killed in front of each other which will add to their distress, and this includes mothers killed in front of their babies. Our HSI team has witnessed the killing first hand and reported that death for the buffalo at least is often not instant and requires several blows”…

“Devotees believe that if they don’t offer a sacrifice, they will not be able to avert future calamity and their prosperity will be affected,” Higgins said. When the killing peaked in 2009, it estimated that around 500,000 animals were ritually slaughtered at the festival. However, this figure fell dramatically to about 30,000 in 2014, largely as a result of campaigning by international and local animal rights groups.

In 2015, the Gadhimai Temple Trust announced that it was banning animal sacrifice at future festivals, following efforts by Animal Welfare Network Nepal and Humane Society International, India. However, it is now not clear whether the Trust will guarantee the ban when this year’s festival takes place on December 3 and 4. Furthermore, the ban only applied to the killing of buffalo within the temple arena itself…

This is why campaigners are now working with officials at the India-Nepal border who will be confiscating any animals passing into the country to be sacrificed. According to Humane Society International, an estimated 70 percent of the animals slaughtered at the festival have been imported across the Indian border. In 2014, the Indian Supreme Court passed a law in a bid to stop this illegal movement of animals, however, the rules are still openly flouted…

Animal rights campaigners are also trying to raise awareness among attendees, encouraging people to bring flowers and sweets to offer the goddess, instead of animals to sacrifice. However, they say that overturning centuries of tradition will be an extremely difficult task. “The Gadhimai festival is an unholy bloodbath that is not part of Hinduism and has no place whatsoever in any religion,” Tanuja Basnet, director of Humane Society International, Nepal, said in a statement’.  SOURCE…

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