Nepal's government upheld this year's Gadhimai Jatra mass animal sacrifice, despite strong global protest. On Nov. 24-25, some 250,000 animals were mutilated and beheaded in what may be the world's largest religious slaughter. We've modified our pre-festival sample letter and urge everyone to send comments. This grotesque butchery must end.
festival in Bara, Nepal. Fields fill with blood as sword-bearing butchers
casually hack apart baby buffalo and their elders. How can Nepal justify the
mutilation of hundreds of thousands of goats, buffalo, pigs, chickens, rats
and pigeons as "sacrifice" to the Hindu goddess of power, Gadhimai?
The Gadhimai alienates potential tourists, like myself, who object to the
senseless brutalization of animals. Furthermore, it desensitizes your own
children, teaching them to ignore suffering and celebrate violence.
Please ban all blood festivals. I urge the Nepalese government to enforce
stronger animal protection laws that shield animals from all forms of abuse,
including grotesque rituals such as the Gadhimai Fair.
The November 24-25, 2009 festival didn't fail to repulse any human with a
conscience. One filmmaker noted that the butchers killed in a frenzy, unable
to sever heads quickly. "Baby buffalo searched for mothers. One touched my
tripod. That was when I felt I'd pass out if I continued filming. When I
left, I had to step over bodies and heads and wade through animal blood..."
As you know, the two-day contest involves men armed with knives who vie to
slaughter the most animals. Contestants are awarded a fee for each kill.
Death does not come quickly. Based on the "panchhbali" (five offerings),
competitors slit the throats of five different species. Buffalo take so long
to die that men cut them apart, starting with their back legs.
I am shocked that Nepalese officials not only allow this festival, but also
pay to confine animals before it begins. Religious leaders themselves have
proposed fruits and vegetables in place of animal sacrifice. I respectfully
ask you to embrace this nonviolent option and/or do everything within your
power to permanently cancel the Gadhimai festival.
Different cultures may not understand each other's customs, but all humans
comprehend cruelty. The world recognizes the Gadhimai Jatra as outright
animal torture. It's time that Nepal's government does too.