DATE: Saturday 11th October 2014 – The Gadhimai Slaughter festival peace rally and petition hand in.
LOCATION: Kensington Court, London
PURPOSE: To hand in a petition asking the Nepalese government to stop the unnecessary and inhumane slaughter of thousands of animals.
In a southern region of Nepal called Bariyarpur thousands of Nepalese Hindus gather to watch and slaughter animals including water buffalo, goats, pigs, chickens and pigeons to the Hindu Goddess Gadhimai. The slaughter is carried out as a sacrificial ritual to cleanse the people of the region of any demonic spirits as oppose to sacrificing the animals for their meat. More often than not, the men carrying out the slaughter are unskilled, and use blunt tools, leaving these animals to die slow, severely painful and tragic deaths only to be left lying in piles on top of each other in a sea of blood. This blood bath is a so called “tradition” that has been carried out in this region, every 5 years since the 19th Century. In 2009 the event began to receive increasing exposure, and organisations such as Compassion in World Farming have worked extremely hard alongside grassroots organisations within Nepal itself to raise awareness and end this bloody ritual. Over 300,000 animals were barbarically slaughtered in the name of “religion”.
Let me start off by saying that slaughter is not about race or religion. This sacrifice is not an event celebrated by all Nepalese people, and many have shunned participation in this festival. The event has regional roots and was founded by a Feudal Lord in the Bariyarpur region in the 19th Century, who, whilst sitting in his jail cell came up with the idea that in order to bring prosperity and power into his life he needed to kill all the demons. His thinking led him to believe that by sacrificing the animals, he was sacrificing the animals within our human nature. Gadhimai refers to the Hindu Goddess of power, and by sacrificing the animals she will come forth and dance in the blood of these animals and end all the evil, instead bringing prosperity and power to the region.
Having attended the peaceful protest myself, I was overwhelmed with happiness to see such an international mix of faces sharing my own love for animals and the importance of giving them a voice, including both Indian Hindus and Nepalese Hindus. As I listened to the speeches of ambassadors including Joanna Lumley, and the head on the UK Hindu Society, praise was given to the beauty associated with Nepalese culture, and as a fellow Hindu myself I thought it was such a shame that this region of people participate in the slaughter in the name of “religion”. Furthermore, I was astounded by the response of one particular Nepalese journalist on Twitter who perceived the rally as an attack on Nepalese culture, and all I can say to that is how can it be an attack when much of the population in Nepal widely oppose it? The focus of the argument is on this tragedy taking place in one region of Nepal not the whole country.
As a Hindu myself, I am ashamed and embarrassed that these people have the audacity to call themselves Hindu. They claim to take part in the murderous activity in the name of Hinduism. For those that have examined Hindu texts, no where do they advocate animal slaughter. Hinduism is a faith, a belief from the heart; a belief in God, that he is there to guide us and not to dictate how we live our lives. It is a faith that encourages peace, and compassion. So where is the logic in killing animals to please a goddess in exchange for power? By killing an innocent animal for power, it would suggest that one is motivated by greed and money and therefore resulting in bad karma.
The peaceful protest in London the weekend of the 11th October 2014 is one of many that is taking place just over a month before this year’s “Gadhimai festival”. Cities such as New York, Tokyo, Berlin and Prague will be joining the march to stand up against this blood bath. Nepal’s own ‘Animal Welfare Network Nepal’ have reported that organisers of the festival plan to increase the number of animals slaughtered since the festival started to get media attention without any understanding of the social and political implications of their actions. The Animal Welfare Network Nepal have been trying to encourage organisers to find less cruel ways to celebrate the event and have been holding talks with local villagers to express and encourage them to see the futility of the slaughter. In previous years organisers have encouraged farmers to sell their animals and as a result many are taken across the border from India. Even days before the slaughter animals are treated brutally; they are not fed or watered and it has been said many of the young die from stress, dehydration and exhaustion caused by the sweltering temperatures.
Many have criticised Nepalese politicians for standing back and allowing this tragedy to take place. Some say politicians have not done anything to stop this atrocity for fear of losing their place in power. All I have to say is ‘Nepal, the world is watching you’. I think this is an opportunity for the Nepalese government to shine and gain the respect it is at a great risk of losing if they allow the ‘Gadhimai festival’ to go ahead. In the words of ‘Mahatma Gandhi’
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.
Please show your support by signing the petition below or tweeting ‘Stop the Gadhimai Slaughter #NepalSayNo’
- To sign the petition please visit (still taking signatures):
- For more information about the work of Compassion In World Farming and the “Gadhimai festival”, please visit:
- More information on the work of Animal Welfare Network Nepal in the Baiyarpur region of Nepal. Please visit: