We are encouraged to hear that Nepal has acknowledged for the first time that the Gadhimai festival poses risks for the welfare of animals and the spreading of diseases.
The government have stated that they will focus on better management and regulation of the slaughter festival which is due to take place on the 28th and 29th November 2014.
Gadhimai is the world’s largest animal slaughter festival and Joanna Lumley has joined us in urging the government to stop the slaughter taking place.
Risk to animal welfare
Nepal’s Senior Veterinary Officer at the Department of Livestock Umesh Dahal reportedly said: “Earlier, not much intervention was sought as Gadhimai was viewed as a cultural event. But it poses a lot risks so we have to take precautions—both for the welfare of animals and to stop the outbreak of diseases.”
Our partner, Animal Welfare Network Nepal has worked tirelessly raising awareness of the disease risks inherent in both transporting and slaughtering hundreds of thousands of animals. Nepal has committed to an action plan that includes inspection posts to check the animals brought for slaughter and the mobilisation of a rapid response team to control the spread of disease and pollution after the festival.
Umesh Dahal continued: “Diseases such as the goat plague have spread in the aftermath of the Gadhimai as carcass is left to rot and this could be repeated if proper measures aren’t taken.”
Animal Welfare Network Nepal will remain vigilant throughout the festival to ensure the new action plan is implemented.
India to stop transporting animals to be slaughtered at Gadhimai
India has reportedly committed to ensure no animals are transported across the border into Nepal for the festival. The Indian Supreme Court passed an interim order, restricting the movement of animals being transported from India to Nepal. It is thought that the majority of animals slaughtered at the festival come from India, so the implementation of this order could have a significant impact on the number of animals slaughtered.
These positive steps come after a huge level of international pressure – we co-ordinated lobbying from animal welfare groups in 22 counties around the world, all calling for implementation of existing disease control legislation in Nepal. However, it’s always hard to tell how these announcements will translate to real government action.
Whilst we are pleased that positive actions are being taken there is still work to be done to stop the Nepalese government funding the festival and ultimately for it to be stopped.
UK Nepalese Embassy takes action
We are thrilled that after holding a protest in London, the UK Nepalese Embassy has agreed to a meet with us. We hope that they will take positive steps towards stopping the slaughter festival from taking place.