Thursday, October 7, 2010

Goddess leads devotees in vegetarian sacrifice

Kathmandu, October 7, 2010 – Today the goddess Kali demonstrated a group of fifty devotees how to sacrifice in a Symbolic Puja at Dakchhinkali Temple. “I do not need animal blood. I am happy with fruits and vegetables so please offer me vegetarian sacrifices,” the blue-tongued goddess said before slashing a pumpkin into half.

The devotees followed the fierce looking goddess Kali (played by actor Durga from Shilpee Theater) in sacrificing kubindos and coconuts, in a ritual that according to the campaigners has a firm basis in the country’s ancient traditions.

The puja was organized by AWNN as part of a novel campaign against animal sacrifices that take place during Dasain festival.

Earlier this year AWNN launched a 5-year campaign against animal sacrifice and cruel sports. The homegrown movement was born during Gadhimai festival which saw the killing of some 200,000 animals in the span of 24 hours in November 2009. The campaign is supported by a growing number of spiritual and society leaders, including the well known comedian duo MAHA.

The network is requesting the President, Prime Minister, army and police to cancel state funded animal sacrifices during Dasain. “Nepal is the world’s key implementers of animal sacrifice, a practice that promotes superstition and violence, drains the poor and prevents Nepal from becoming a truly advanced country. Decapitating a bleating buffalo or goat should not be the symbol of the Nepali civilization,” AWNN urges.

AWNN also argues that a vegetarian diet improves people’s health and helps to save the planet. It is believed that 90% of random meat samples in Kathmandu are contaminated with bacteria such as salmonella. As a result, the majority of typhoid cases in city dwellers are caused by infected meat.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gadhimai in the media
Last minute appeal against Gadhimai slaughter
20.000 buffaloes slaughtered on first day of Gadhimai
Biswas Baral : Final thoughts on Gadhimai
Nepal Temple Conducts Biggest Sacrifice Of Animals
Nepal sacrifices in pictures
Hindu sacrifice of 250,000 animals begins
Sacrifices of another kind at Gadhimai ‘killing field’
The Gadhimai sacrifice is grotesque
Devotees seek blessing in the blood of 250,000 animals
Thousands take part in world's largest ritual animal slaughter
Slaughter of the innocents (200,000 of them)
Festival of mass animal sacrifice begins in Nepal

Campaigners ‘deeply disturbed’ by Gadhimai killings

Birgunj/Kathmandu, November 26, 2009 – Animal campaigners are ‘deeply upset and traumatized’ by the mass sacrifices that took place at Gadhimai temple on Tuesday and Wednesday. ‘The organizers have violated every single code of animal welfare. Despite worldwide protests they have not introduced a single measure to alleviate the tremendous suffering of the thousands of animals involved’, says spokesperson Manoj Gautam.

A team of campaigners from the Animal Welfare Network Nepal and Anti-Animal Sacrifice Alliance returned to the capital last night. According to the team the public beheading of some 16.000 water buffaloes ranks ‘among the worst examples of animal cruelty in the world’.

The Gadhimai committee, despite countless promises, failed to provide a space where animals could be left for jeevandhan, giving the animals a new leash of life.

The team notes that none of the suggestions made by the Department of Livestock or animal welfare groups have been taken seriously by the organizers. Most animals were imported illegally from India; none was checked by quarantine officers. The animals were transported in haphazard conditions and they were not fed or watered before the sacrifice. During the killing the animals were left untethered and the organization did not issue instructions for the sharpening of knives, leading to even more unnecessary suffering. The animals were forced to witness the killing of countless other animals before their turn came, including the killing of mother animals in front of their siblings. Also, there were no facilities for the drainage of blood or the timely removal of dead bodies.

Manoj Gautam: ‘The animals were not provided with any water and food in the days before the sacrifice. Many young animals had in fact already died from stress, exhaustion and dehydration before the killings started. Their bodies were left among the live animals.’

The organizers failed to issue rules for the general sacrifices that were carried out randomly in a radius of 3 kilometer of the temple. ‘Everyone could kill anything, with whatever knife or sword. Many animals died an unbearable slow and violent death because the knives were not sharpened properly and the butchers were inexperienced.’

Up to an hour before the public killings of buffaloes started, campaigners tried to convince the organizers to cancel the public killing of water buffaloes and instead pierce their ears to let some blood flow.

According to the campaigners the ‘buffalo carnage’ was a traumatizing event for any sensitive person. Manoj Gautam: ‘Thousands of buffaloes were standing in an enclosure when butchers holding swords started hacking randomly at the animals. Some heads could be severed in one cut; in other cases it took the butchers a long time to kill the buffalo. No one was holding the animals – many tried to escape. Baby buffaloes were bleating and searching for their mothers. Soon they were walking around in a pool of blood. They were hunted down by the butchers. Needless to say, not a single animal survived the blood bath. After witnessing the suffering inflicted on these gentle, loyal animals, I feel deeply upset and ashamed of the people of my country involved in the whole event.’

Countless children bore witness to the inhumane public sacrifices. This shows that the organizers and the State have violated Nepal’s commitments towards ensuring Child Rights.

According to the campaigners the festival is being promoted as a ‘spectacle’ and a cultural event that enriches Nepalese culture. ‘The truth is that Gadhimai legitimizes violence against the innocent. The priests make the devotees believe that their wish will only come true when offering an expensive buffalo, goat or other kind of animal. The Maoist-led organizing committee, instead of abolishing these outdated beliefs promotes them to increase voting banks and to collect even more revenues.’

According to the team not only the organizers but the government at large should be held responsible for the Gadhimai killings. ‘Not a single government leader has had the courage to speak out against the mass sacrifices. What kind of leader in this time and age wants to perpetuate rituals that promote superstition, drain the resources of the poor and destroy the image of Nepal as an attractive destination?’

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Campaigners publish heartfelt appeals in the media

Just a few days before the animal sacrifices at Gadhimai are scheduled to start, campaigners with the Anti-Sacrifice Alliance and Animal Welfare Network Nepal, have publiched personal stories and emotional pleas in the media, to influence the public and Gadhimai management.

First campaigner to publish an appeal is Avantika Regmi. In her write up titled 'Medieval madness in God's name' Regmi argues: 'If Nepal truly wants to progress on all fronts..., it also has to come out from the rut of this medieval mindset, of superstition and mindless cruelty.' Read the appeal at

Jagdish Aarohi, a veteran campaigner from Bara district, in today's Republica, recounted his first visit to Gadhimai two decades ago. When watching the panchhbali, the slow killing of five kinds of animals, Aarohi was 'stunned and nauseated'. 'I never knew that such kind of cruelty existed in this world,' writes the campaigner. Read the touching account at

Pramada Shah, President of AWNN, in The Guardian Weekly, recounts her horror as an 8-year old when she realised the goat she used to play with would be killed in the name of God. She says the involvement of the international community is crucial to ultimately stop animal sacrifice in Nepal. Read the story at

Pokhara-based campaigner Krishna Mani Baral handed over a petition addressed to the Prime Minister to Kaski CDO Devraj Dhakal. The memo appeals to the PM to stop the mass sacrifice at Gadhimai. For more info go to

Over 4000 signatures handed over to Tourism Minister

Over 4000 people from across the world signed a petition against the world's largest animal sacrifice at Gadhimai. Many expressed shock and outrage and vowed not to visit Nepal until the mass killings are stopped.

On Friday November 20 Pramada Shah, President of AWNN, handed over the petition and signatures to Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Sharad Singh Bhandari. Shah expressed her concern over the detrimental impact of the Gadhimai on tourism. 'Over the coming days Nepal will be portrayed as a backward, barbaric country, and much of the PR and goodwill created in the international community will go down the drain,' she said.

Minister Bhandari said he is very concerned about the issue but feels the government cannot call for a ban due to sensitive religious sentiments. He promised to instruct the new local tourism development committee in Bara district to bring awareness about the negative impact of animal sacrifice on tourism.

The Minister shared that his family no longer practices animal sacrifice, and instead offers eggs and fruits. He agreed to share him personal case study with the public at large to promote non-violent bali.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Brigitte Bardot pleads with President

French actress Brigitte Bardot has send a letter to President Dr Ram Baran Yadav, pleading to stop the world's largest animal sacrifice at Gadhimai.

'I have dedicated my life to protect animals and the best gift I could receive for this lifelong struggle would be the announcement of the stopping of ritual sacrifice of animals,' Bardot writes. The actress notes that she send a letter to the Prime Minister last year, but never received an answer.

Bardot asks the President how he can tolerate tradition 'that are in fact violent, cruel and inhumane? Bardot: 'I personally find it hard to imagine that your heart can withstand such cruelty, knowing that you, being the Head of the country, are ultimately responsible.'

In a letter to Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal the animal rights turned actress notes that 'hundreds of horrified tourists report their disgust at witnessing ritual sacrifices at various festivals in Nepal'.

Last year Bardot promised to support the Prime Minister in bringing animal welfare facilities to the country.

The screen goddess kept her word. Through her foundation the actress supported the construction of sanctuaries for sick and injured dogs and working donkeys, managed by Animal Nepal.