We have had a huge response to our campaign against the cruel mass animal slaughter at the Gadhimai Festival in Nepal. This weekend, as the festival took place, more than 138,000 emails were sent to the Nepalese government from our supporters calling for an end to the killing.
And the international attention on the festival has had an effect, with fewer animals killed than the last time the event was staged five years ago.
The festival, which happens once every five years, sees animals corralled into an open air pen, where they are beheaded.
Campaigning to stop mass animal sacrifice
Alongside our campaign partners Animal Welfare Network Nepal (AWNN) we fought hard to stop the festival. 176,000 people signed the petition calling for an end to the slaughter and an end to government subsidies for slaughter festivals in Nepal.
We also met with the Nepalese Embassy in the UK and worked with animal protection groups in over 20 countries to create international pressure, knowing that the Nepalese Government was extremely nervous of the potential risk to tourism from the publicity.
Hope for the future
We are heartened by the progress that has been made for animals at Gadhimai:
- The Nepalese Government did not give any official funds to the festival.
- The Indian Government took action at the country’s border and thousands of animals were prevented from crossing into Nepal for the festival.
- AWNN successfully convinced many festival goers to forgo sacrifice and instead make a small cut to their animal’s ear as an alternative blood-offering, saving the lives of more than 300 buffalo.
- The number of animals involved was vastly reduced – by at least 75% in comparison to the last festival in 2009.
- Due to the reduction in buffalo numbers a contract that had been agreed with a meat-buyer was cancelled, with a huge financial impact on the festival organisers.
- Despite rumoured government attempts to ban photography, the international press widely covered the festival, applying additional pressure on the Government to make sure this sacrifice never happens again.
View the photo story from our Investigations Unit. Please note, some images may cause distress.
Tell the Nepalese government: Never again
Over 138,000 supporter emails were sent to the Nepalese Government during the festival, please email now.