Nepal may end mass animal sacrifice

2015-07-29 19:32


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Kathmandu - The next mass slaughter of cattle in a Nepalese religious ceremony could be called off, Hindu priests in charge of it said on Wednesday.

The five-yearly Gadhimai festival in Bara district, next scheduled for 2019, sees hundreds of thousands of animals killed, 70% brought from across the border in India.

The sacrifices are for prosperity and the fulfillment of other wishes, and the festival is mostly popular with northern Indian Hindu devotees who travel to Nepal for the event.

"We have sent a team to Delhi," Ram Chandra Sah, the chairperson of the Gadhimai Trust told dpa over the phone from Bara. "They are holding press conferences with the help of animal rights organisations there, so that we can campaign against the next event of Gadhimai in 2019."

"The sacrifices are mostly offered by Indian citizens," he said. Religious sentiment had to be taken into consideration, he said.

Around 200 000 animals, mostly buffalo calves, were sacrificed at the most recent festival in November 2014. Animal welfare activists have campaigned for years against the event.

Animal Nepal, another leading campaigner, welcomed Wednesday's announcement, but pointed out that even if there is no official ceremony or sacrifice, "people can still do their own".

"The committee needs support from all of us to ban the sacrifice effectively," executive director Uttam Kafle said.

Devotees hoping to improve their fortune should also bear in mind the money they would save by refraining from sacrificing valuable livestock, he said.

Last year, the Indian Supreme Court banned the movement of animals across the border from its side, which brought down the number of sacrifices at the temple in Nepal.

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