The Hindu American Foundation (HAF), whose mission statement is “Promoting Understanding, Tolerance and Pluralism” – described the mass slaughter of animals at the Gadhimai Temple in Nepal, which began on November 24, 2009, as grotesque and nearly unrecognizable in the practice of mainstream Hinduism today.
The ritual proceeded despite the protests of several animal rights activists in Nepal and India and was attended by the local Maoist politician representing the district.
“These marginal practices of animal slaughter are a relic of a violent and superstitious past that continue today largely because they are encouraged by a nexus of underworld gangs, bootleggers and politicians prospering by the selling of meat and animal hide to tanneries,” said Ramesh Rao, PhD, the Foundation’s human rights coordinator. “We add our voices to the outrage and anguish that so many animals suffered in a dark ritual that also hoodwinked the local poor to sacrifice their livestock for cheap.”
While yagna, the ritual of sacrifice in which oblations are offered to the Divine Agni (fire), is acknowledged by Hindus, and there are allusions in Hindu texts to the sacrifice of animals in ancient texts, Hinduism also unequivocally advocates the protection of all living beings, seeing divinity in them. Modern Hindus, making up the largest numbers of vegetarians in the world, therefore perform the fire sacrifice symbolically, using grains, fruits, butter, etc., to propitiate various deities.
“It is unfortunate that the temple in Nepal still allows this feudal, anachronistic and bloody animal sacrifice whatever the local and religious lore,” added Prof. Rao. “Remembering that forty-five million turkeys were sacrificed for Thanksgiving alone, we hope that the world will join us in condemning the sanitized butchering of billions of animals for food with the same zeal that we condemn the orgiastic killings in Nepal in the name of religion.”
QCA has contacted HAF to compliment them on their stance and has permission to extract from the article on their site.
We consider the sentiment about western slaughter of turkeys, expressed in the last paragraph, a point well made.
We are very happy to be in touch with HAF – thanks to Sheetal Shah for your positive response.