Nepal is the place where a mass animal slaughter, starting on Friday, will honor the Hindu goddess Gadhimai. The goddess is honored by a huge number of people every five years.
It is estimated that over one million people have come to honor the goddess at a remote temple in Nepal. According to Al Jazeera, the village of Bariyapur near the Indian border is the site of the animal slaughter, where anything from a buffalo to a rat will meet a bloody death from sword-wielding devotees.
The animal sacrifices last two days, and animal-rights activists believe the whole tradition has turned into a senseless slaughter and type of “extortion.”
“They are extorting money… in the name of entry fees, parking, and so on,” said Manoj Gautam, president of Animal Welfare Network Nepal.
However, Mangal Chaudhary, the head priest at the slaughter site, could only see the “excitement” of the ritual traditions and insisted everything was going as well as expected.
“All the morning rituals have gone smoothly and now we have begun the sacrifices.”
The last time the mass animal slaughter was held in Nepal, an estimated 250,000 buffalo, sheep, goats, and chickens were killed, according to the Washington Post. It is believed many of the animals are babies and brought illegally over the border from India.
Animal activists claim that not only is animal welfare a concern, but human welfare is a concern as well.
N.G. Jayasimha, director of the Humane Society International of India, claimed the area was full of “madness.”
“There are no roads, no infrastructure, not a single public bus, no sanitation and no drinking water. There are human feces everywhere. A number of people have come, and everybody is carrying an animal to be sacrificed.”
As contractors bid to buy the buffalo and animal hides, the goat and chicken meat is given to the religious devotees and villagers.
The temple grounds are covered in blood after the slaughter, and the authorities clean up by throwing buffaloes’ heads into a great pit.
The reason behind the slaughter of each animal is due to the legend of Gadhimai. The goddess appeared to a prisoner in a dream while he was shackled in Bariyapur, and asked him to build a temple to honor her.
When the prisoner awoke from his dream, he was free from the shackles that once held him and he was able to build the temple. He sacrificed animals at the temple to give thanks to the goddess Gadhimai.
Now the people continue the mass animal slaughter tradition at the same spot in Nepal to invoke prosperity from the goddess.
[Image via Reuters]