"Hindu Council UK joins forces with Compassion in World Farming to stop the Gadhimai' Festival in Nepal, where an estimated quarter of a million farm animals will be inhumanely slaughtered as part of the sacrificial festival"
Message from Joanna Lumley - Patron of Compassion in World Farming:
Dear Mr Sanjay Jagatia,
I am writing to you on behalf of the excellent animal welfare organisation Compassion in World Farming: (http://action.ciwf.org.uk/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=119&ea.campaign.id=29144&ea.tracking.id=2d57aea1)
I am a long-standing Patron of their work to achieve better lives for farm animals throughout the world.
I am personally deeply interested in spiritual matters and have a great respect for Hindu teachings, many of which encourage us to respect animals and treat them with compassion. As you may know, I also have close personal ties with Nepal.
I am aware that the influential Hindu Council UK and the global Hindu Community, have a personal interest in animal welfare and I am hopeful that you may be able to help with a distressing situation involving adherents of a particular Hindu sect, mostly based in Nepal and neighbouring regions of India. This sect organises a festival called Gadhimai every 5 years in Southern Nepal. Around half a million animals, usually buffalo, are imported from all over Nepal and from India, and they are slaughtered over one week. Many of these animals are simply slashed at with knives and die in agony on the ground, watched by sect adherents, including children. To be honest, photos from the last Ghadimai festival show that it seems to be a massive bloodbath.
I am sure you will find this as distressing as I do – and I am sure most Hindus would find this inhumane mass slaughter deeply upsetting.
The next festival is in December 2014. Compassion in World Farming – and many other animal welfare organisations throughout the world, including local groups in Nepal itself - is desperate to see this mass slaughter end, or at least to see it reduced. Might it be possible to slaughter just one symbolic animal, instead of hundreds of thousands? Could it be done under veterinary supervision or advice, to reduce the suffering?
I am hoping we may be able to enlist your active support to bring the mass slaughter to an end. I am so hopeful that you will already be in touch with other Hindu organisations and individuals and that you could encourage them to advise their followers to celebrate the festival minus the slaughter.
It is likely that if the festival goes ahead as planned, it will be filmed and the resulting footage is likely to go round the world very quickly due to social media such as Twitter, Facebook and the YouTube channel. I fear this could bring Hinduism in general into disrepute, which would be so sad.
Awareness of animal welfare is increasing, although not quickly enough. Festivals involving animal sacrifice are increasingly being seen as out of date in the modern world. With Hinduism's history of vegetarianism, so beautifully illustrated by many of the great teachers and by leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, this particular festival stands out as a cruel anachronism.
I do so hope you can help!
With respect and my deepest hopes and good wishes.
Patron of Compassion in World Farming
About Gadhimai Festival: "The world's biggest farm animal sacrifice festival"
The world's biggest animal sacrifice festival, Gadhimai (a Hindu festival), is held every 5 years in Southern Nepal. Around half a million animals are slaughtered during the 1-week festival. The next festival is in November/December 2014. Animals are imported from all over Nepal and from India for this festival. The handling and slaughter is brutal and animals are killed without pre stunning. Millions of people from India flock to the festival to circumvent laws against animal sacrifice in their own states. Tens of thousands of buffalo are killed in large open-air pens, where they have their heads hacked off, after having their leg tendons cut to bring them to the ground.
This festival has not been documented or covered by any major animal welfare group based outside of Nepal. As the leading global farm animal welfare organization, Compassion in World Farming feels duty-bound to try to end this cruel slaughter or at least to have the festival reformed to reduce the suffering of the animals.
Tens of thousands of buffalo were corralled into a gigantic pen. Then, 200 slaughter men wielding swords were let loose into the enclosure. The buffalo were beheaded, one by one. It's no easy task to behead a buffalo – and for many it took more than one attempt.
These are the reports that came out of the 'Gadhimai' Festival in Nepal in 2009, where an estimated quarter of a million farm animals were inhumanely slaughtered as part of the sacrifice festival. 'Gadhimai', as the festival is known, is set to take place again this November 2014.
'Gadhimai' takes place every five years in the Bara District of Nepal, south of Kathmandu. For 250 years the festival has continued relatively unchallenged, but as news of the inhumane slaughter has spread internationally, animal welfare advocates have spoken out against it.
The Nepalese Government provides significant funding, which makes this festival possible at its terrifying scale. In 2009 the Government paid over £32,000 for animals to be sacrificed. That's almost 50 times the minimum Nepalese annual wage.
Please tell the Nepalese Government they must stop funding this cruelty!
Compassion in World Farming is working closely with Animal Welfare Network Nepal to fight this festival. We're supporting grass-roots work in the local community to create a groundswell of resistance but we need your help to apply international pressure on the Nepalese Government.
Please take action now... before it's too late for another 250,000 animals.
Hindu Council UK is working closely with Compassion in World Farming & Animal Welfare Network Nepal to end the inhumane treatment of animals at this festival. Compassion in World Farming is supporting grass-roots education and campaign work in the local community to create a groundswell of resistance to the slaughter festival. But we need your help to apply international pressure on the Nepalese Government.
Please Sign the petition today: WE NEED AS MANY SIGNATURES AS POSSIBLE TO SEND A CLEAR MESSAGE TO THE NEPALESE GOVERNMENT TO STOP THIS CRUELTY.
We, the undersigned, call for an end to the mass, inhumane slaughter that takes place at the Gadhimai sacrificial festival and urge the Government of Nepal to stop funding Gadhimai and all inhumane slaughter festivals:
Watch You Tube Channel of the mass slaughter of Cows:
Published on Dec 12, 2012: The Gadhimai festival is a Hindu festival held once every five years in Gadhimai temple of Bariyapur, Bara District, about 160 miles south of the capital Kathmandu, in southern Nepal. It is the time of greatest sacrifice of animals in the world (between 300 000 and 500 000) - buffalo (Bubalus bubalis, locally called "PaaDa"), pigs, goats, chickens and pigeons - in order to please Gadhimai, the goddess of power connections. This footage was recorded on 24 November 2009.
WARNING: This video contains footage that may be disturbing to some viewers.
Viewer Discretion is advised:
Hindu Council UK