On our site, we try to be as positive as possible, believing that such an approach encourages us all to keep working for the animals.

However, we feel we have to make an exception in the case of this ritual slaughter and are posting brief details of what happened this week in Nepal, with three photos, chosen from among many which surely would appal the vast majority of people of all faiths and none.

How did this mela come about?

It originated in the 18th century  in Bariyarpur, a village in the south of Nepal bordering the state of Bihar in India. In this region, the community is devoted to the worship of the goddess Gadhimai. A feudal landlord dreamed that all his problems would be solved if he made a blood sacrifice to Gadhimai. The mela takes place every 5 years.

Lucia de Vries, Volunteer Director of Animal Nepal, who witnessed the event,  writes:

– An estimated 16,000 water buffaloes were killed in total. Many were publicly beheaded by 250 licensed butchers in an arena. Visitors were allowed to enter by paying an entrance charge. The animals were not tethered and not held by anyone. The remaining buffaloes were killed individually, somewhere in a 3 km radius around the temple by anyone wanting to do so.

– Over 50,000 goats were killed by individual devotees at any place and by any means in the vicinity of the temple.

– Unknown other kinds of animals such as sheep, pigs, rats, pigeons, chicken were killed similarly.

– The animals had not been given food or water for 2/3 days. Some had already died before the killings started; their bodies were simply left with the living

-The killings were promoted and presented as a spectacle – many butchers and onlookers were actually laughing during it all. One butcher is quoted as saying: ‘The more animals I kill, the more satisfied I feel. I am helping an ancient tradition to survive.’

Unless otherwise stated, photos by courtesy of Animal Welfare Network Nepal

If you would like to partner us in our upcoming 5-year grassroots campaign, feel free to contact us.


We can only hope that images such as these will ensure that the Gadhimai killings will never ever happen again.


Lone calf still standing - photo by Bibi Funyal

Lone calf still standing – photo by Bibi Funyal




Lucia de Vries (Volunteer Director of Animal Nepal) is a Dutch journalist and social worker who has lived in Nepal since 1992. She devotes a big chunk of her life to animals and disadvantaged children. Lucia has rescued countless dogs and cats as well as the occasional cow and donkey. At present she lives with two rescued strays, Putali and Beta.

Her animal adventure blog can be read on www.animalnepal.blogspot.com

www.gadimai.blogspot.com         www.awnnepal.blogspot.com