Animals rescued from slaughter
You may recall that there recently was a huge outcry and global condemnation following the Gadhimai Hindu festival in Nepal which saw the slaughter of thousands of animals that included more than 5000 buffaloes and other farm animals like chickens, goats and pigs. This is thought to be the world’s largest animal sacrifice ritual, with devotees believing the event brings good luck and encourages Gadhimai, the Hindu goddess of power, to answer their wishes.
The sights and sounds at the festival, as you can imagine, are said to be are haunting. Witnesses report pools of blood, animals bellowing in pain and panic, wide-eyed children looking on, devotees covered in animal blood, and some people even drinking blood from the headless but still warm carcasses!
Several charities and animal welfare groups have worked hard to stop this slaughter that occurs every five years. It is estimated that in 2009, 200,000 animals and birds were slaughtered, and this year, the number killed is estimated to be 500,000! The only success that these groups had recently achieved was in pressuring the Indian Government into stopping animals being transported across the border, as a sizable number of animals are bought from there; this in spite several Hindu leaders arguing that the ritual goes against core religious beliefs.
There however is some good news as, in a victory for activists, Nepalese temple authorities have recently announced that they will end this centuries-old tradition of mass animal slaughter that attracts hundreds of thousands of worshippers.
The issue of saving animals from slaughter strikes a chord with us as we recently rescued some cattle from an abattoir. These cattle will be provided with a safe and peaceful environment where they can remain for the rest of their lives. Veterinary care and medication will be provided and the animals will be monitored to ensure their good health and wellbeing.
Picking up the animals from the abattoir was a very sad experience, as upon offloading them the trucks, it seemed as though they were aware of the fate that awaited them; one of the animals knelt on its front legs and twisted its neck as if succumbing to defeat- except of course, they were the lucky ones, the chosen ones, that alas, will live out the rest of their days enjoying green pastures.