On September 28 the goddess Durga failed to stop the sacrifice of five buffalo calves by the Nepal Army in Kathmandu. Her appeal to release the calves fell on deaf ears. The actress goddess appeared at Badrakali Temple, urging devotees to replace blood sacrifices with vegetarian offerings.

The 'goddess' Durga

“I do not need animal blood. Please offer me vegetarian sacrifices,” the goddess said before breaking a coconut in front of the Badrakali image.

The ‘goddess’ visited five buffalo calves brought to the temple for sacrifice. She urged the army representatives to release the animals and offered them a pumpkin and coconut as an alternative offering.

“All animals are my family. You have no authority to kill them,” the ‘goddess’ argued.

According to campaign coordinator, Santosh Khatiwada, the calves were malnourished while one of them was suffering from an infection.

A gathering of campaigners supported the goddess Durga (played by an actress from Shilpee Theater) by handing out leaflets and stickers. They also sacrificed kubindos and coconuts, in a ritual that, according to the campaigners, has a firm basis in the country’s
ancient traditions.

The puja is part of novel campaign against animal sacrifices in Nepal launched by Animal Welfare Network Nepal (AWNN) in 2009, on the eve of Gadhimai festival. The campaign is supported by a growing number of  spiritual and society leaders.

The network members are requesting the political leaders, army and police to cancel state funded animal sacrifices during Dasain. “Nepal is the world’s key implementers of animal sacrifice, a practice that promotes superstition and violence, drains the poor and prevents Nepal from becoming a truly advanced country. Decapitating a bleating buffalo or goat should not be the symbol of the Nepali civilization,” AWNN urges.

According to the campaigners, animal sacrifices harm society as a whole as it signals and normalizes insensitivity in children who can become numb to the suffering of living beings. It is also known to influence certain people to commit violence on other humans. “Now that the armed conflict has ended Nepal needs peaceful practices that educate the next generation for a harmonious society,” campaign coordinator Santosh Khatiwada says.

AWNN also argues that a vegetarian diet improves people’s health and helps to save the planet. It is believed that 90% of random meat samples in Kathmandu are contaminated with bacteria such as salmonella. As a result, the majority of typhoid cases in city dwellers are caused by infected meat.

Photo credit: Animal Welfare Network Nepal

AWNN is a network of reputed organisations campaigning for the rights and well being of animals, of which QCA is an affiliate.

c/o AnimalNepal, PO Box 7770, Kathmandu.

www.awnnepal.blogspot.com       www.stopanimalsacrifice.org