Horrific Aftermath Of World’s Biggest Ritual Animal Slaughter Pictured
Heads, guts and rotting flesh cover the baron land, turned into a bloodbath as a result of Nepal’s Gadhimai Festival – the world’s biggest animal sacrifice.
Launched on Tuesday, December 3, by a priest – after a goat, rat, chicken, pig and pigeon were killed – the festival takes place every five years, with hopes it will bring good luck and encourage Gadhimai, the Hindu goddess of power, to answer their wishes.
As baby buffaloes watched on as their mothers’ heads were chopped off, pictures taken by The Humane Society of the United States show the horrific toll this ritual has on innocent creatures.
Authorities previously announced the festival would be banned, with Nepal’s supreme court directing the government to reduce animal sacrifice in 2016. However, it took place anyway (bosses deny any plans to ban the festival were in motion), with thousands of Hindu worshippers from across the country travelling to watch the massacre – including small children.
Arkaprava Bhar of Human Society International (HSI) in India, who witnessed the sacrifice first-hand, said:
When the killing started, I could hardly believe my eyes. It was surreal and appalling and devastating all at once. I felt heart broken and furious and faint. Young buffaloes were stumbling over the dead bodies of others, babies watched as others were butchered, some attempted to flee the sword but were caught by the back leg and held down.
I just wanted it to be over, for them and for me, but the killing went on for hours. It was a shameful, protracted, bloody enterprise that I hope to never see again. The horrors of Gadhimai will haunt me probably for the rest of my life, but I am more determined than ever to end this bloodshed.
Alokparna Sengupta, managing director of HSI in India, described witnessing the heinous event as ‘one of the most depressing and challenging experiences of my life’.
Animal after animal had their heads lopped off, butchers hacking away at their necks and the corpses twitching away afterwards.
As I watched terrified baby buffalo being dragged to their death, I was filled with anger. Our team went back to visit the aftermath today and the air was thick with the stench of blood, rotting flesh, animal and human faeces, and garbage.
In the main temple arena where the majority of buffalo are slaughtered, the ground is littered with the animals’ severed heads, skin and entrails.
The festival can be traced back to 265 years ago, when a farmer was told in a dream that spilled blood would liken the chance of Gadhimai solving his problems.
Back in 2009, around 500,000 buffaloes, goats, pigeons and other animals were brutally killed at the height of the festival’s popularity. This number was reduced to 30,000 at the 2014 event following mass protests.
Sengupta said that normalising this violence for children is ‘very troubling’, adding: ‘These children are being taught that abusing animals in this way is normal.’ The charity hopes the horrendous images will unite animal lovers to campaign for the Nepalese government to enforce a ban.
It is crucial that the scale and the horror of this massacre is seen so that we can bring pressure to bear to end it.
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