By Runjhun Sharma

Nepal: In a break from tradition, Nepalese temple authorities on Tuesday announced an indefinite ban on a centuries-old Hindu tradition of mass animal slaughter that attracts hundreds of thousands of worshippers. The 300 year old Gadhimai festival will go bloodless in its next edition in 2019. More than five lakh animals get slaughtered during the festival.

gadhimai-festival

The 300 year old Gadhimai festival will go bloodless in its next edition in 2019. More than five lakh animals get slaughtered during the festival.

The festival, held once every five years, sees hordes of devotees from Nepal and India flock to a temple in the Himalayan nation's southern plains to sacrifice thousands of animals in the hope of appeasing the Hindu goddess of power, Gadhimai.

In the last Gadhimai festival in 2014, despite a police presence and a SC order to check the illegal smuggling of animals from Indian borders, people continued to cross the Bihar border with live cattle. 70% animals are technically smuggled from India.

"We have decided to completely stop the practice of animal sacrifice," said Motilal Prasad, secretary of the Gadhimai Temple Trust, which organises the celebrations.

Animal rights activists applauded the decision, which came after years spent lobbying temple authorities and the Nepal government in a campaign that attracted support from celebrities including British actress Joanna Lumley and French movie legend Brigitte Bardot.  "It has been a long effort. We took a firm stand and it has finally worked," said Manoj Gautam, president of Animal Nepal Welfare Network.

Source: IBN Live      Dated: July 29, 2015