Our investigators are in Nepal documenting the mass animal slaughter at the Gadhimai festival.
The festival, which happens once every five years, has once again seen animals corralled into an open air pen, where they are beheaded. An estimated 250,000 animals met this fate at the last festival.
We will post updates from our investigators on this page as we get them.
Saturday 29th November
The slaughter continues
Our investigator said:
We went towards the stadium and the smell hit us from some distance, the whole area was absolutely stinking, people were covering their mouths with fabric to try and mask it. One man emerged from the main stadium gate and vomited as we walked in.
The entire stadium ground was littered with severed buffalo heads and entrails, some of the stomachs had burst open spilling their contents over the ground which was covered in bloodstains and flies buzzed everywhere. It was a pretty gruesome experience, stepping over heads, tails, and animal guts strewn everywhere, with the blood-soaked red scarves which the animals had been wearing during the last, stressful moments of their lives, abandoned on the ground. As we left the main arena another helpless buffalo was led in and then decapitated.
Appalling conditions for animals
I also spoke to a government official - a livestock officer posted to the festival. He showed me their preparations - bags of salt and some chemicals to prevent infection.
For him, the sacrifice is problematic because it was being carried out by people without correct training. He was concerned that animals are being kept there for three to four days without proper food and water, and weapons are blunt.
Our campaign partner Manoj Gautam, from Animal Welfare Network Nepal, has reported to us that the numbers of animals appear to be significantly reduced compared to the last Gadhimai festival five years ago.
This provides some hope that this really is the beginning of the end for this brutal festival and others like it in Nepal.
Friday 28th November
A Compassion in World Farming investigator at Gadhimai said:
The scale of the suffering is vast –the bodies of thousands of buffalo are staining the earth, and the soles of the slaughtermen’s feet, red. What I’ve seen can only be described as a massacre. These animals have suffered great pain at the hands of an army of unskilled men and this is just the start….thousands of chickens, goats and other animals are next up in this 48 hour frenzy of killing.
I know I’ll never be able to forget this event.
Shame on the Nepalese government
Philip Lymbery CEO of Compassion in World Farming says:
It is appallingly cruel and utterly unnecessary. The Nepalese government should hang its head in shame for letting this atrocity go ahead.
The global tide of outrage against this most appalling festival of slaughter must surely move the Nepalese government to ensure this year’s mass slaughter is the last.
Joanna Lumley calls for the slaughter to be stopped
Actress and Compassion patron Joanna Lumley has called for an end to the mass animal sacrifice.
At a rally outside the Nepalese embassy in London in October, the actress said:
I love Nepal – both the land and its people. The Gadhimai animal sacrifice festival entails horrendous animal suffering and is a complete anomaly in this wonderful country.
I hope that our voices of protest will curtail this year’s festival so that Hindus in Nepal and elsewhere can once again be proud of their true tradition of compassion and concern for animals.
Tell the Nepalese government: Never again
Over 138,000 supporter emails have been sent to the Nepalese Government during the festival.