Temple Ends Centuries-Old Mass Slaughter of Animals

Hundreds of thousands were killed at festival every 5 years
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2015 2:21 PM CDT
Temple Ends Centuries-Old Mass Slaughter of Animals
A buffalo is brought to be the first sacrifice during the Gadhimai Festival in Bara, Nepal, in 2014. Note: some of the pictures are graphic.   (Kuni Takahashi/AP Images for Humane Society International)

The killing of Cecil the lion made this a depressing week for animal-rights supporters. Here's a counter-punch: A Hindu temple in Nepal has ended a centuries-old mass slaughter of animals that takes place every five years, reports the Wall Street Journal. Twice a decade for nearly 250 years, pilgrims would descend on the village of Bariyarpur and kill hundreds of thousands of buffaloes, goats, chickens, and other animals, offering them up to the goddess Gadhimai in the hope of a better life.

"We have decided to completely stop the practice of animal sacrifice," an official with festival organizer Gadhimai Temple Trust tells AFP. "I realized that animals are so much like us—they have the same organs as us … and feel the same pain we do." Animal-rights activists had been stepping up their campaign to stop the sacrifices in recent years, with the estimated number of animals slaughtered dropping from 500,000 in 2009 to 200,000 last year. When the next festival rolls around in 2019, it should be a bloodless affair. (The worshipers believed that eating the dead animals will keep evil at bay.)

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