Gadhimai Sacrifice – Latest News from Animal Nepal

Gadhimai 1

Update: November 20:

Most of the animal sacrifices are due to take place on the 4th and 5th
of December.

The Government of Nepal has issued an appeal to discourage animal
sacrifice at the festival, as have the Mahagadhimai municipality.
Pilgrims are being encouraged to make alternative offerings to the
Goddess such as fruits, money and precious metals. A large number of
the devotees come from India and it is encouraging that the Indian
government has disallowed the transportation of live animals into Nepal
for the purpose of the festival, which may reduce the number of animals

In recent days, the Gadhimai temple committee have also taken some steps
to discourage animal sacrifice:

1. Pigeon sacrifice will not be allowed
2. Pilgrims are being encouraged to make monetary donations to the
temple instead
3. The temple committee have agreed to support any kind of awareness
programs led by animal welfare groups
4. Religious ceremonies will be held at the temple to discourage animal
5. Animals will be categorized according to their age and animals below
the age of 2 years will not be sacrificed

It remains to be seen how much of this will be put into practice. Nepali
Animal Welfare organizations and activists have been working
relentlessly and will continue to do so to discourage this practice by
working closely with the local communities, through advocacy and

There will be more news to come soon from Animal Nepal.

Gadhimai Sacrifice – Starts Today


The Gadhimai festival in Nepal, which is the largest animal sacrifice in
the world, is a Hindu rite which takes place every 5 years.

QCA and AIA have supported the Federation of Animal Welfare Nepal
(FAWN)’s campaigns on the occasion of the past two of these rites, which
are not supported, but not banned, by the government of Nepal. The
Supreme Court discourages religious animal sacrifice in Nepal.

Water buffalo, male goats, chickens, pigeons, ducks and rats are the
animals sacrificed in their thousands to honour the goddess Gadhimai.
This terrible event takes place this year from 17 November to 11
December. Most of the animal sacrifices take place on the first and last
day of the festival.

AIA has written, with the approval of Animal Nepal, an excellent member
of FAWN, to the government of Nepal and to the local authorities this
year too, asking them to refrain from sacrificing animals. We understand
from Hindu American Foundation that the vast majority of Hindus do not
partake in, nor do they condone, animal sacrificing rituals. Most
Hindus carry out their sacrifice to the Divine using foods like fruit,
grains and clarified butter, and through austerity measures such as

What can we do?

Please will you remember, pray for and hold in the Light these poor
animals on the occasion of their deaths. Please also include all those
compassionate organisations in Nepal who strive, by education and
awareness projects in schools, women’s groups and other local
organizations, to bring an end to animal sacrifice in Nepal.

Please note that the Mayor of Gadhimai has been working closely with
Animal Nepal to persuade the temple committee to end animal sacrifice.

ABTA directs members to stop advertising elephant rides


Thanks to Save the Asian Elephants’ (STAE) constant lobbying of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), ABTA now admits that all elephant rides and related activities are ‘unacceptable’ and they are directing their 5,000 corporate members to stop such advertising.

Duncan McNair of STAE welcomes this but says that more is needed.  A new UK law to ban the advertising and sale of any unethical Asian elephant related holiday is needed.

To support STAE go to

Further details in the autumn edition of Animal Spirit.