Help Us End Animal Sacrifice at the Gadhimai Festival

Animal Equality is once again working to end animal sacrifice at the Gadhimai festival, an event where thousands of animals are in danger of being brutally slaughtered by festival attendees. The festival, taking place in Southern Nepal with violent animal sacrifice as the main component, happens every 5 years and has been subject to intense backlash from animal protection organizations like Animal Equality.

ANIMAL SACRIFICE MUST END: Today we are launching an international campaign calling for a ban on all animal sacrifice at the Gadhimai festival, which begins December 3rd. We will also be conducting an investigation documenting the various horrific and illegal practices taking place in the name of animal sacrifice at the festival. The campaign includes an online petition urging the Government of Nepal to:

  • Direct all agencies to prevent and stop animal sacrifice at the Gadhimai Mela (festival).
  • Introduce a strong law banning animal sacrifice in Nepal.
  • Encourage devotees to donate blood or have attendees symbolically sacrifice white pumpkins, gourds, etc., instead of sacrificing animals.

WHAT WE’RE SAYING: “It is undisputed that the ritual of animal sacrifice is part of our human history. However, it should definitely not be a part of our present or future. As we evolve, we must discontinue traditions which involve the senseless torture to sentient beings,” says Amruta Ubale, Executive Director of Animal Equality India.

OUR WORK IN 2014: Thanks to our tireless campaigning and collaborative efforts during the last festival in 2014, there was an estimated 70 percent reduction in the number of animals sacrificed compared to 2009, where approximately 200,000 animals were sacrificed. According to some reports, the total number of animals sacrificed at the festival in 2014 was around 30,000. Many measures were taken to lessen the violence. For example, our work reduced the normally two-day long buffalo slaughter to half of a day. This resulted in the number of buffalo killings being reduced by at least 80 percent (less than 2,000 in 2014, as opposed to the planned 10,000).

THE FESTIVAL’S HISTORY: The Gadhimai festival dates back to about 260 years ago when Bhagwan Chaudhary, a Nepalese farmer, dreamt that his problems would be solved if he made a blood sacrifice to the Hindu goddess Gadhimai. To make the sacrifice, he used drops of his own blood from five parts of his body. Believing the sacrifice was a success, the ritual of blood sacrifice to Gadhimai was born. Ever since the farmer’s initial blood sacrifice, hundreds of thousands of animals have been violently slaughtered by devotees taking place in the ritual. The festival now takes place every 5 years in the Bariyarpur, Bara District of southern Nepal.

THE PATH FOR CHANGE: In an effort to discourage animal sacrifice and introduce a meaningful way for devotees observe the ritual peacefully, Animal Equality is collaborating with the Red Cross Society of Nepal to organize a blood donation drive. Here, the devotees can give their own blood to take part in the ceremony honoring Gadhimai. Giving blood in this way will end the need for killing animals at the festival and remove the negativity that surrounds it. The act will also help other people by increasing the reserves of the blood bank.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: The violence of the Gadhimai festival is undeniable, but thanks to our combined efforts, the number of animals sacrificed is exponentially decreasing. There is still much work to be done, as thousands of animals are in danger of being killed. Please sign our petition calling for a ban to animal sacrifice and share this post with your networks. You can change the future for these animals.

YES, I WANT TO END ANIMAL SACRIFICE AT THE GADHIMAI FESTIVAL