07/29/2015, 00.00
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Animal slaughter banned at Hindu feast of Gadhimai, goddess of power

The Gadhimai Festival is held every five years and brings in millions of pilgrims from India and Nepal. In 2009, 500,000 buffaloes, goats and chickens were killed. In 2014, the number dropped after a ruling by the Indian Supreme Court banning livestock movement between the two countries.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A temple in southern Nepal known for the mass slaughter of animals at a festival that takes place every five years has indefinitely banned animal sacrifice, this according to India’s Humane Society International.

The society had complained in the past about the slaughter of tens of thousands of buffaloes, goats and chickens during the twice-in-a-decade ritual at the Gadhimai temple, which is dedicated to the goddess of power.

The event is held at a site located almost 150 kilometres south of Kathmandu and draws pilgrims from both India and Nepal.

This is not the only Hindu festival in which animals are slaughtered. The country has been repeatedly criticised by domestic and international observers for such cruel practices.

According to the Humane Society International, an estimated 500,000 buffaloes, goats, chickens and other animals were killed at the temple in 2009.

Those numbers dropped during the next festival in 2014, when India’s Supreme Court issued an order prohibiting animals from being taken across the border to Nepal for sacrifice at the festival

“Obviously we are very happy with this decision,” said Manoj Gautam, of the Animal Welfare Network Nepal, which has been campaigning for an end to the slaughter.

“But it doesn’t mean our job is done . . . We need public support and participation to make sure this ban is upheld,” he said.

Animal rights groups plan to spend the remaining three-plus years before the next festival working in the Indian states that border Nepal to spread awareness of the temple’s decision.

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