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VICTORY: The Gadhimai Festival  The World's Largest Animal Sacrifice Comes to an End!

Gadhimai Festival comes to an endOn July 29, 2015, Nepal’s Gadhimai Temple Trust announced its decision to end animal sacrifice at The Gadhimai Festival.  This is a tremendous victory for the animals. The Gadhimai temple trust agrees to cancel all future animal sacrifice and urges devotees not to bring animals to the festival.

Manoj Gautam, a founding member of Animal Welfare Network Nepal (AWNN) and campaigner against the Gadhimai festival, said, “We applaud the temple committee’s decision to end this mass slaughter of innocent animals and hope that they will continue to support us in our future endeavors for protecting animals in the country. AWNN’s progressive move to work directly with the temple committee, with Humane Society International/India’s support has been the key that changed the whole face of the campaign and is the reason for the achievement we have now.”

In 2014, LCA and other organizations and activists campaigned tirelessly across the globe to put an end to animal sacrifice at the Gadhimai festival. A massive public outcry to this atrocity was heard around the globe many hearing of the killings at the festival for the first time. The numbers of animals killed at the 2014 festival was estimated to be down 70% from 2009.

Every five years, countless innocent animals would die in the largest religious sacrifice in the world: the Gadhimai Festival in Bariyarpur, Nepal. Water buffalo, goats, lambs and pigeons were all targets for execution — in fact, any animal in the vicinity was likely to be hacked and slashed to death by the violent mob.

The month-long festival honored the Hindu goddess Gadhimai, and some worshippers believed that slaughtering animals brought health and prosperity. One priest told The Guardian, “The goddess needs blood.”

Many animals were purchased in villages in India, and forced to march for miles to the Gadhimai temple. At the end of the difficult journey, only torture and death would await. Festival participants would consume copious amounts of alcohol and were often drunk when they brutally attacked the animals.  Tragically, small children were present and witnessed the massacres.

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Statement from Gadhimai’s Temple Trust Chairman, Shri Ram Chandra Shah

“For generations, pilgrims have sacrificed animals to the Goddess Gadhimai, in the hope of a better life. For every life taken, our heart is heavy. The time has come to transform an old tradition. The time has come to replace killing and violence with peaceful worship and celebration Our concern has been this: how do we convince the people, so desperate for the favor of Gadhimai, that there is another way? How do we bring them on our journey? Thankfully, the dedicated efforts of the Animal Welfare Network Nepal (and Humane Society International?) has shown us the path and provided the motivation to make this transformation a reality. The Gadhimai Temple Trust hereby declares our formal decision to end animal sacrifice. With your help, we can ensure Gadhimai 2019 is free from bloodshed. Moreover, we can ensure Gadhimai 2019 is a momentous celebration of life. Through mass education and local development, we can bring enlightenment and prosperity to our region. We appeal for your support to develop our local infrastructure and educate our people. There is much work to be done, but together we can develop the social fabric of the Gadhimai area and bring peace to the Gadhimai Temple.”

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