Animal rights activists in Nepal and elsewhere have begun a campaign to end mass sacrifice of animals and birds at Gadhimai Mela to be held next month in the southern plains of the country.
Billed as the biggest animal sacrifice fair in the world, the fair is held every five years and nearly 500,000 goats, male buffaloes, pigs, chickens, pigeons, ducks and white mice are sacrificed within two days.
On Saturday, animal rights activists held a rally in Kathmandu to protest against this practice to be held on November 28 and 29 at Gadhimai Temple located in Bariyarpur of Bara district close to the Indian border. Hundreds gathered outside the Bhadrakali temple and marched till Basantapur Darbar Square where they formed a lotus — the symbol to end animal sacrifice.
“Our intention was to attract attention of the government and judicial authorities who don’t seem interested in the issue,” said Manoj Gautam, president of Animal Welfare Network Nepal.
Rallies were also taken out in Pokhara and Bara. A protest rally was also held outside the Nepal embassy in London.
Activists in Nepal are also encouraged by a letter issued by the Indian home ministry to all the four states bordering Nepal to ensure no animals are taken illegally from India to Nepal for the sacrificial ritual.
It is estimated nearly 70% of the animals sacrificed at Gadhimai are brought from India. According to home ministry estimates, nearly 90,000 buffaloes could be illegally transported to Nepal this time.