Breaking News: Nepalese Organizers Announce an End to the World’s Bloodiest Animal Sacrifice Spectacle

By on July 28, 2015 with 25 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

A few months back, I wrote with burning anger and sadness about the world’s largest animal sacrifice, Nepal’s Gadhimai festival, an event held every five years that results in an orgy of killing – nearly half a million animals slaughtered in the open air. Today, I have extraordinary and unexpected news: Humane Society International/India and Animal Welfare Network Nepal announce that all animal sacrifice has been banned indefinitely at Gadhimai, and the Gadhimai Temple Trust has asked devotees not to bring animals to the next festival, in 2019!

“The time has come to transform an old tradition. The time has come to replace killing and violence with peaceful worship and celebration,” Gadhimai Temple Trust chairman Ram Chandra Shah said in a statement. “The Gadhimai Temple Trust hereby declares our formal decision to end animal sacrifice. With your help, we can ensure Gadhimai 2019 is free from bloodshed.”

This is yet another amazing development for animals this year, on top of all the big news I have shared recently on this blog, including Saturday’s announcement of a U.S. commercial trade ban on ivory, Walmart’s decision to adopt the five freedom principles for animals, Ringling Brothers’ decision to phase out elephants for circuses, endangered status for captive chimpanzees, and many more remarkable results.

The Gadhimai festival has been held in Nepal every five years for more than 250 years now, and last year, our HSI team traveled to Nepal to witness the bloody spectacle where animals, including buffaloes, goats, sheep, pigs, and chickens, were hacked to death, often with machetes. Working with Animal Welfare Network Nepal and People for Animals in India, HSI adopted a multi-pronged approach to end the animal sacrifice. Since an estimated 70 percent of the animals killed at Gadhimai are transported across the border from neighboring India into Nepal, HSI successfully obtained an order from the Supreme Court of India against transporting the animals, and then worked with India’s Ministry of Home Affairs to issue a directive to the Indo-Nepal border forces to stop and confiscate the animals. This resulted in more than 100 arrests and more than 2,500 animals being seized on their way to the festival. The Supreme Court also insisted on the establishment of SPCAs in all districts in the three Indian states adjoining Nepal, to tackle animal cruelty.

The HSI/India team and its partners met with temple officials and the Nepal government, including Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, and members of Parliament. HSI and its partners also worked to focus global media attention on the event, leading to protests worldwide against the festival.

All of those efforts have been rewarded with this startlingly great news, and it will inevitably reverberate and bring pressure upon organizers of smaller spectacles involving animal sacrifice. Earlier this year, following the global outrage stemming from the Gadhimai massacre, the temple committee decided not to sacrifice any animals during the harvest festival (Sankranti), either.

I want to applaud Animal Welfare Network Nepal and Humane Society International/India for their relentless work to convince the Gadhimai Temple Trust to end this sacrifice. They still are faced with the big job of educating devotees in India and Nepal on the temple trust’s decision not to sacrifice animals in the three-and-a-half years before the next festival. But today is a day to pause and celebrate, for the animals and for their champions across the globe.

Thank the Gadhimai Temple Trust for stopping the killing »

Humane Society International

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  1. Minka says:

    I just want to thank you for all you do.

    • Ruth weiss says:

      Amazing and wonderful news,
      Thank you to all involved in saving these animals.. Hopefully the saving of Whales will be next

  2. Io Gahan says:

    Such good news.. I’d like to hug & thank every person that made this possible.

  3. Adrienne says:

    This is wonderful news. Thanks to all the organizations that work so hard to protect animals.

  4. Cheryl says:

    Progress is sometimes a beautiful thing. More of mankind’s thinking is progressing in a humane direction.

  5. David Bernazani says:

    For a temple to celebrate life and compassion instead of death and mass butchery seems so obvious. Thanks to everyone who made it happen

  6. Siraganda says:

    This is a huge victory for animals and animal protectors all around the world – and it makes me sleep well tonight with a less bitter heart! I want to thank you and all the other animal rights groups who were fighting to end this horror – and it has become true! Successes in the animal rights movements are multiplying in the last times and this is a very good sign that there is a real change in the heart of the people around the world! Sometimes it needs two, three or more times to reach a goal – but this here is great and unique, but let’s hope that such cases shall multiply in the future on all levels and in favor of all animals because all animals matter and are precious to this world!

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. renee says:

    Awesome job!!!

  8. kezang yangzom says:

    Kudos to you all for doing away with animal sacrifice

  9. Audrey abrown says:

    Thanks and blessings to all who helped end this.

  10. tashi says:

    Hope China too band yulin dog eating festival.

  11. tashi says:

    Hope China too ban yulin dog eating festival.

  12. Tshewang Dendup says:

    Let All Mighty bless all members in HSI/India. Thank you and it was enchanting to go through the news. Let all the aims and aspirations of HSI/India be fulfilled without any obstacles.

  13. Lozy says:

    This is really blessed news for saving the living creatures who come to this world for life not for death. Thanx alot…

  14. Anne says:

    This is an amazing news, thank you so much. I do have to say though we need to move on to eliminate factory farming. In factory farms, animals suffer tremendously in the billions and end up in slaughterhouses in the billions and that’s everyday, not every five years. No difference at all between this event and the slaugtherhouses for the consumption of meat in the US and worldwide. The killing of animals for meat is also a massacre and a genocide that needs to come to an end. The cruel practice of killing animals for food is hidden in the dark not talked about since people want to eat meat….but don’t seem to understand that it is the same as this event and the same as the killing of Cecil, the famous lion in Zimbabwe. Animal is an animal. While it was not okay to kill Cecil, but billions of cows, chickens, pigs and turkeys die, somehow seems to be okay with society. Its called “Speciesism”. What about the dentist that killed Cecil, had also killed many other animals in the past, why didn’t anyone say anything about that? What about the rhino that was trophy hunted early on this year, why wasn’t any outrage about that? What about countless rhinos, elephants, tigers are poached everyday, why isn’t there any outrage about that? Why do we only protect our dogs, cats and eat cows and chickens and kill elephants? Why, why?

  15. Karen Frauman says:

    My husband and I retired in 2000. Each year my husband and I donate very small donations to approximately 40 organizations in the U.S. and around the world. At least 1/2 of the donations are for animal care, animal causes, and feral animals. If we can help by writing letters, helping to add change current animal laws, I would be glad to do that. Please send me information. Thanks for all your organization does for the care of animals both domestic and wild. They are part of our planet and deserve to live a good life while on earth.

  16. Marcela says:

    I had to read from the first to the last letter,,,,could not believe my eyes, after so much har work this worse massacre ever had ended,,,,,,Thanks so much! this broughts me to tears of joy in their name, finally God’s voice has heard and violence is changed for peace.
    Thank you to e v e r y o n e involved, because I can only imagine, how hard it was due to this so old traditions to change their minds!

  17. Krishna Singh says:

    Great achievement for animal welfare acitivst and I think we have put name of couple of organizations who support to achievement like B.B foundation(donar), AAA Australia etc

  18. Clement Harischandra Iddagoda says:

    Thanks, stop Gadimar animal scarifies.

  19. Rosie says:

    Well done !! Hopefully the tide will keep turning against animal cruelty in all forms, they are living being like us and we have NO right to decide to kill them for sport, or fun or festivals !

  20. Sonia Donnell says:


  21. Abhijeet says:

    Hope you also take up the Dolphin massacre festival in Denmark.

  22. Ricky Buckley says:

    I hope that 1day all slayers will face their slayees god for judgment

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