Foreign Report: Katmandu Slaughter Approved

by Mary Haight on November 20, 2009

Buddhist Monk in Sri Lanka.
Image via Wikipedia

Out of Katmandu, Nepal at around midnight comes news that the Gadhimai Festival, celebrated every five years in Bara–maybe 100 miles south of the capital–will go ahead with the ancient blood sacrifice of 500,000 goats, pigs, buffaloes, pigeons and chickens November 24 and 25, despite protests by Buddhist monks and animal rights activists like Maneka Gandhi and Brigitte Bardot.

Bardot, now 75 and a lifelong animal activist, has written to President Ram Baran Yadav citing the cruelty and inhumane treatment these animals are subject to. According to the BBC Asia , Bardot wrote:

“I have dedicated my life to protect animals and the best gift I could receive for this life-long struggle would be the announcement of the stopping of ritual sacrifice of animals.”

There has been no response from the government. Maybe it’s because already thousands of worshipers have arrived, with many more Hindus to come from the Indian State of Bihar where the practice has been outlawed in many areas, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal. People hang on to their traditions as if exercising them provides a magical promise for a better life.

The obstinate retort from the organizing committee was they will not stop the ritual no matter what. It’s their religion and tradition and, essentially, that is that. The older generation in China says something similar about eating dog meat…a refrain of “we’ve always done it, so we always will.” Willful ignorance is without geographic borders.

This animal sacrifice is meant to end evil and bring prosperity…since the animal killings are barbaric and cruel yet are inflicted every five years, and the region is not particularly prosperous, perhaps the religious leaders should take a look at the lack of results and give it up.

A report out just an hour ago from Samaylive News  points to the money that comes from the leather trade that waits to bid on the hides. It was 15 years ago that the illegal importation of animals from India for slaughter in this festival caused a deadly cattle plague they are still trying to rid themselves of. Observers worry, even beyond this heinous practice, that what they call the “killing fields” will trigger an outbreak of bird flu and other disease that affect human health.

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