5,000 buffalo sacrificed is a lot of animals to slaughter at one time in one place. This occurred at a religious tradition that happens every five years in Nepal. Graphic images from the massive killings are being released from the Hindu Gadhimai festival, which is the largest animal ritual ceremony in the world.
According to Al Jazeera, despite global protests from animal rights activists, the sacrifices took place in a remote area of Nepal in Bariyarpu, near the Indian border. In 2009, about 250,000 animals were slaughtered by the Hindus. The ceremony is meant to please the goddess of power — Gadhimai. Sword-wielding individuals cut the heads off animals or slit their throats as part of the two-day ritual. The ceremony began on Friday, with religious Hindus slaughtering not just buffalo, but other animals. They include rats, chickens, goats, pigs, and pigeons. In fact, at midnight Friday, the festivities kicked off with the sacrifice of each of those animals.
Mangal Chaudhary, the head priest at the slaughter, raves about the animal killings.
“It is very festive here, everyone is excited. All the morning rituals have gone smoothly and now we have begun the sacrifices.”
On the first day of killing, it was to be only buffalo religious followers would kill. 5,000 buffalo were sacrificed in holding pens surrounding it. Carcasses and chopped-off heads were spread over the expansive holding pen. From horizon-to-horizon, all that can be seen are bodies of buffalo, blood, and entrails.
On the second day, thousands of birds, goats, and pigs were killed.
The Daily Mail has a number of photographs taken of the scene, but they are extremely graphic. The images can be seen here.
PETA has aggressively spoken out against the slaughter of so many animals over a sacrifice ceremony. Organizers of the ceremonious slaughter disregard opponents of this practice, and attempt making the sacrifices larger each time.
Shristi Singh Shrestha is an animal rights activist with Animal Welfare Network Nepal. She says that she feels “sad” and “defeated” since the organization was unable to end the slaughter.
Shrestha hopes it will be a different story when the next five-year Hindu Gadhimai festival arrives.
“However, the positive thing is that the number of animals killed has come down… we hope there will be no killing of any animal at the next festival.”
5,000 buffalo being sacrificed, as well as various other species of animals all in one place, is a controversial ritual that will continue drawing fierce opposition.
[Image via Al Jazeera]