In November, the five-year Gadhimai festival takes place in Nepal again. During this “party” hundreds of thousands of animals such as buffalo, pigs, goats, rabbits, and chickens are slaughtered in an inhumane, cruel way. These sacrifices honor the Hindu goddess of power.
The festival is always organized in the Bara region of Nepal, south of Kathmandu. During the festival in 2009, tens of thousands of buffaloes and other farm animals were brought together in an enclosed meadow. Then 200 men with giant swords entered the site and the animals were decapitated one by one. Without anesthetic. Extra sad is that decapitating a buffalo is not easy. Sometimes the animal dies after dozens of attempts. Another part is called “panchhbali” (five offerings), in which the throats of five animals (buffalo, goats, pigs, roosters, and rats) are cut. The animals die a painful, slow death.
Protest is Growing
Gadhimai has been able to take place undisturbed for 250 years, but the brutal massacre has finally become internationally known and people are revolting. How could this have happened for so long? The festival has grown through a grant from the Nepalese government. In 2009, the government paid nearly € 40,000 to sacrifice animals; that is almost 50 times the minimum wage per year in Nepal. The Nepalese government relies on “tradition”, but the festival also generates a lot of money. The local hotels and restaurants benefit from the many visitors and meat, bones and skins of the sacrificed animals are sold to Nepalese and Indian companies.
“The goddess needs blood,” said a priest from the Gadhimai temple. “If someone has a problem, I cut an animal’s throat in the temple and that solves that person’s problems.”
Boycott Festival November 2014
Despite the protests against the festival in 2009, the slaughtering continued. Around 5 million people attended the festival. To ensure that the festival is boycotted this time, Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), together with Animal Welfare Network Nepal (AWNN) and other concerned companies like Thedogsnobs took action. They support action groups in Nepal to evoke as much resistance as possible from the local population.