September 23, 2014
Swami Agnivesh Urged Devotees to Boycott Animal Sacrifice in Gadhimai Festival
Humane Society International/India is working with Animal Welfare Network Nepal to stop the mass slaughter
President of World Council of Arya Samaj, Swami Agnivesh, urged Hindu devotees to stop the barbaric practice of sacrificing hundreds of thousands of animals on the occasion of the Gadhimai Festival in Nepal. Agnivesh joins Humane Society International and Animal Welfare Network Nepal in calling for an end to the slaughter.
In a press conference in Patna, Agnivesh, well known around the world for his work against bonded labor, decried the age old tradition of world’s largest sacrifice of animals to honor the Hindu goddess of power, Gadhimai and called for a collective support to boycott this practice:
“India was a pioneer in introducing the principle of ahimsa and non-violence to the entire world. Rituals like Gadhimai where scores of animals are mercilessly sacrificed only corrode our values of compassion. During this festival, animals are transported in appalling conditions, often with no food or water for two to three days before the sacrifice, before being forced to witness the killing of numerous others before they are slaughtered themselves. I urge the devotees to strongly oppose this cultural event which only glorifies the despicable sacrifice of countless animals.”
N. G Jayasimha, managing director for Humane Society International/India said: “Article 51A (g) in the Indian Constitution makes it a fundamental duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures. We urge all the devotees to firmly engage and take a tough stand against this gruesome tradition of mass sacrifice that causes immense animal suffering.”
Scheduled once every five years, Gadhimai festival is a month-long Hindu festival held at the Gadhimai temple of Bariyarpur in southern Nepal. The festival, scheduled to take place late November, sees the slaughter of approximately 500,000 animals including water buffaloes, sheep, pigs, rats, pigeons and chicken. Thousands of animals are transported in an uncontrolled movement to this festival, posing a significant health risk through the potential transmission of animal borne diseases. Many of animals arrive illegally from across the Indian border. HSI/India in coordination with Nepalese Animal Rights Group is working to discontinue the slaughter.
Media Contact: Navamita Mukherjee, 9985472760, firstname.lastname@example.org