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.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Links to newspaper write ups
Maneka Gandhi in The Kathmandu Post: Abandon Gadhimai killing
Himalayan Times: Buddha boy to fight for animal rights
Sindh Today: Stop world’s largest animal killing fair in Nepal: Activists
Kathmandu Post: The Devi’s call
Republica: ‘Pharsi ko Bali’ (Pumpkin's Sacrifice). Guna Raj Luitel argues against animal sacrifice from various perspectives.
Hindustan Times: Unmoved by protests, Nepal set to host animal sacrifice fair
Nepal’s ‘Laurel-Hardy’ join protests against animal massacre
Religious groups against violence during Gadhimai festival
ARUN GUPTO: Innocence, sacrifice & brutality
Best Friends: Nepal - Fighting to stop the sacrifices of Gadhimai Mela
Republica: Despite protests, Gadhimai prepares for mass sacrifice

Indian border force alerted to stop animal movement to Gadhimai

According to a Times of India report, SBB, the Indian border guarding force in Bihar has alerted border posts to stop the movement of animals to Gadhimai festival. Animal rights campaigners welcome the decision, saying it will greatly help to reduce the numbers of animals being smuggled into Nepal and diminish the grave health risks involved in the mass sacrifice.

The three main entry points which is used by Indian visitors to the fair are Raxaul (East Champaran), Sikta (West Champaran) and Barginia (Sitamarhi district). SSB has a total of 54 BOPs functional in these three districts.

"This has been done to prevent transportation of animals and birds, particularly fowls, from India to Nepal during the fair," SSB IG (frontier headquarters) Shyam Singh told TOI here on Wednesday.

Singh said though BOPs keep vigil even on normal days as transportation of animals and birds was an act of smuggling, yet keeping the Gadhimai fair in mind, an extra vigil would be maintained. "Law breakers will be dealt with sternly," the IG said.

Nepalese campaigners on November 10 handed over a petition at the Indian Embassy in Nepal requesting the curtailing of animal movement. Over the past weeks Indian groups including Beauty Without Cruelty, PETA and People for Animals have actively campaigned for a ban.

The TOI article can be read at

Nepal's Laurel-Hardy speak out against Gadhimai sacrifice

'A pious man offers flowers, a sinner offers animals.' This slogan by Nepal's popular comedians and social reformers Hari Bansha and Madan Krishna was displayed at a sit in demonstration at Patan Durbar Square on November 13.

Despite a Maoist blockade, the Gadhimai darna, organised by Animal Welfare Network Nepal and Anti-Animal Sacrifice Alliance, drew a large croud. Seven campaigners sat in front of the makeshift stage with their mouths covered with black tape, to illustrate the fact that animals cannot speak for themselves. A play by the Shilpee Theatre Group interacted with the appreciative audience. Some one hundred people added their signature on a piece of white cotton, supporting the banning of animal sacrifice.

Speakers Pramada Shah, Dr Govinda Tandon, Ram Bamjon, Hari Bansha and Madan Krishna emphasized the suffering of animals by the hand of men, and the need for social and cultural reforms. Hari Bansha recalled the custom of feeding live animals to wild tigers in Chitwan National Park. 'When a tourist requested to feed corrupt politicians to the tigers instead of innocent animals, the custom was quickly abolished,' Bansha said.
At the end of the programme oil lamps were lighted by the chief guests and members from the audience, to honour the animals that will be sacrificed.

Fact finding mission: organisers not ready to compromise

Despite mounting pressure from Nepalese and international campaigners, organizers of Gadhimai Jatra are all set to kill half a million animals in just two days. The government till now has failed to introduce any measures to address the health risks and grave animal suffering involved. These are the findings of a fact finding mission that returned last night to the capital.

The Animal Welfare Network Nepal (AWNN) and Anti-Animal Sacrifice Alliance send a fact finding mission to Bara district earlier this week. ‘The festival organisers have no intention to compromise. Instead the sacrifice is promoted as a competition aiming at killing the highest number of animals in the span of only two days. Poor people are pressurized to invest their much needed resources. The only people who truly benefit are the organizers and business community,’ says Pramada Shah, President of AWNN.

According to the mission the organizers expect to earn 40 crore rupees (US$ 530.000) from tenders and fees. Bara VDCs are pressurized to provide one thousand animals each for the mass sacrifice. One thousand men have been given a license to kill animals; they receive a fee for each animal killed. In the meantime the price of animals in Bara and Parsa district increases steadily; families pay up to two months of salary to buy a goat. ‘The devotees are deeply superstitious and their sentiments are exploited by local religious and business leaders,’ says Shah.

The government has not taken any visible action to address the health risks and animal suffering, say the mission members. ‘In fact during the two days we were in Bara and Parsa all quarantine offices were closed,’ says Shah. The government has provided 5,2 lakh (US$ 70,000) to the organizers to build an enclosure for the 20.000 buffaloes that are scheduled to be killed. ‘We are greatly concerned about the killing of buffaloes. Until now these gentle animals were killed randomly by young men carrying khukuri knives who hack the animals to death. It is a barbaric custom of which even local residents disprove. It is most important that the government sets rules to ensure that the animals are killed as humanely as possible,’ says Shah.

Hundreds rally against sacrifice in Bara district

While preparations for Gadhimai are in full swing, religious organizations took out a rally in Kalyan, Bara on Thursday November 12 urging devotees to offer fruits and vegetables to the deity during the Gadhimai festival, instead of sacrificing animals.

Hundreds of people participated in the rally that was organized by a Buddhist group campaigning for non-violence. Animal Welfare Campaigners, Hindus, Buddhists, and members of Krishnapranami, Om Shanti and Baishnav religious groups participated in the rally.

Addressing the meeting, religious leaders said that bad practices in tradition must be discontinued. They clarified that they are not against religious tradition, but want protection of the lives of innocent animals.

A number of local people who had already purchased goats to be sacrificed pledged that they would not have them killed.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Peaceful demonstrations in Bara and Kathmandu

Do you live in Bara or Kathmandu Valley and want to help stop the world's largest animal sacrifice at Gadhimai? Then join one of the two peaceful demonstrations that will be held on 12 and 13 November.

Campaigners are invited to join a peaceful demonstration in Kalyan, Bara district, on Thursday 12 November. The 'Ahimsa dharna' is organised by a local organisation, the Nepal Non-Violence Buddhist Association for World Peace, which opposes animal sacrifice.

On Friday November 13 a sit in demonstration will be organised at Patan Durbar Square, from 4-6 pm. Actors, celebs and social activists will join the event. Bring a candle and playcard.

For more information call Krishna Singh at 9841-334537.

3200 signatures handed over to State Minister

November 6, 2009 – Today representatives of the Animal Welfare Network Nepal and Anti-Animal Sacrifice Alliance handed over a petition signed by 3200 individuals from all over the world to Karima Bagam, State Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives. Pramada Shah, Manoj Gautam and Lucia de Vries urged the minister to ensure that all animals brought to Gadhimai to be sacrificed carry a certificate from an Indian or Nepali quarantine office.

Ms Begam promised to discuss the suggestion with her officers. She explained that Gadhimai is a very sensitive issue and that due to a limited number of quarantine offices and resources ensuring the wellbeing and health of the animals is difficult. She invited the representatives to join a meeting to finalise the long awaited Animal Welfare Act at her Ministry.

According to the campaigners the festival is not only cruel and inhumane but also dangerous. ‘Due to the fact that the transport, killing, disposal and preparation of the animals and their meat goes unmonitored and the close proximity between humans and animals, Gadhimai can result in widespread food poisoning (Salmonella, E coli, Campylobacter, etc), Tuberculosis, as well as bird and swine flu,’ the campaigners argue.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Maneka Gandhi: Stop the Killing

'As a friend and neighbour of Nepal , as one who knows and respects her people , I beg all of you to abandon the killing of animals at the Gadhimai festival later this month.'

That is how Indian politician, animal rights activist, environmentalist and former journalist Maneka Gandhi in an article published in The Kathmandu Post on November 3, 2009, appeals to the Nepalese to stop the killing of animals at Gadhimail.

The newspaper on November 4 published an Editorial saying 'Stop It':

Indian and Nepalese campaigners join hands

Nepal government under mounting pressure

Kathmandu, November 1 2009 - The Nepalese government is under mounting pressure from Nepalese and international campaigners, including India's noted activist Maneka Gandhi, to stop the centuries old animal sacrifice at Gadhimai Festival in Bara district.Today during a press meet in the Reporters' Club animal welfare campaigners, religious scholars and government representatives discussed the 'world's largest animal sacrifice'.

Drector General Dr Prabhakar Pathap of the Department of Livestock Services said he does not have the mandate to address the issue of Gadhimai but frankly admitted that the festival is a major cause for health concerns.

Dr Pathak said there is only one quarantaine office in Bara district but not a single animal traveling to Gadhimai passes through this office. 'The border is porous and we would need major resources to make sure no sick animal ends up in Bara.'

Animal welfare campaigners point out that Gadhimai might actually cause human deaths due to a complete lack of effective monitoring.

Nepalese campaigners have joined hands in the Stop Animal Sacrifice Alliance and Animal Welfare Network Nepal. In a petition signed by over 2500 people the network calls for an end to the ‘extreme cruelty’ taking place at ‘the world’s largest animal sacrifice’. The petition is addressed to the President, Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, as well as the Minister of Agriculture.

The network says at Gadhimai ‘innocent creatures are killed en masse in an unorganized und unregulated manner. The buffaloes are in fact killed by drunken devotees who enter the temple area with khukuri knives to cut off the heads of frightened animals.’According to the network, ‘[n]o one can adequately explain why these practices are carried out year after year – except to say they are ‘traditional’. This however is not a valuable argument to commence these practices; Nepal, realizing the adverse effects, has abolished a number of ‘traditions’ in the past, including human sacrifice and widow burning. ‘

The campaigners formed an international coalition including Indian groups such as People for Animals, Beauty without Cruelty and Peta India. International groups such as World Society for the Protection of Animals, Animal Aid Abroad, Brigitte Bardot Foundation, etc have joined the campaign by writing letters to the Nepal government and ambassadors in Europe, Australia and the USA.

Indian concerns
One reason for the event's huge popularity is its proximity to India, where some states have now banned sacrificial slaughter. The campaigners question if ‘the New Nepal want to cater to superstitious devotees who cross the border to do what is illegal in their own country?’

Animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi has mailed a letter to Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal asking for his intervention. According to Gandhi, ‘[m]any people in Nepal and the subcontinent are concerned about this sacrifice. Your government has taken so many humane steps – banning the export of monkeys for instance. Since you have introduced the Meat Act which makes the humane killing of animals mandatory, these acts during the Gadhimai festival would be illegal.’

The Gadhimai Jatra festival takes place every five years. According to the organizers some 700.000 people, more than half of them from bordering Indian states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, visited the Gadhimai Temple in 2004. This year the organizers plan to sacrifice 500.000 animals including 20,000 buffaloes. The festival starts on Mangsir 9, November 24. According to the rules of the festival all animals must be killed in the first two days. Religious leader Palden Dorje a.k.a Ram Bahadur Bomjan plans to protest the sacrifice by making an appearance and bless the devotees ahead of the festival.

Take a minute to stop The World's Largest Animal Sacrifice

Can you picture 20,000 young buffaloes being rounded up and killed by a thousand drunk men carrying large knives? A festival where 500,000 animals are killed to please a goddess?

This is exactly what -if nothing is done- will happen on November 24 and 25, 2009, in Nepal. The Gadimai Festivalin Bariyarpur, Bara District, is held each five years. The mass sacrifice turns the entire area into a marshy land of blood. Some 70% of the devotees come from Bihar, India. We have formed a coalition with Indian animals rights groups to end this bloody, cruel practice.

Go to to sign a petition addressed to the Ministers of Tourism, Agriculture, Peace and Law and Justice.

For more information about the festival go to A number of religious groups in Nepal are opposing the mass sacrifice.

Palden Dorje or Buddha Boy, a young religious leader, plans to bless the devotees ahead of the event with the aim to stop animal sacrifice:

For those who can stomach, a documentary can be watched here:

Please spread to message!

Who are we?

The Stop The World's Largest Animal Killing Fields campaign is coordinated by Animal Welfare Network Nepal ( and the Anti-Animal Sacrife Alliance.

Contact details:

c/o Animal Nepal
@ Saathi
PO Boc 7770
Ekantakuna, Patan
Mobile ++ 977 9841-334537

Anti-Animal Sacrifice Alliance
c/o Sarvokrishta Jeevan Shashwot
Mandeva Marg 271
Mali Gaun
Tel. ++ 977 9721-458848