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NEPAL TEMPLE BANS MASS ANIMAL SLAUGHTER


KATHMANDU, Nepal – Some 2.5 million worshippers sacrificed an estimated 200,000 animals during the most recent instalment of the Gadhimai festival held last November in the village of Bariyapur near the Indian border.
The festival, held once every five years, sees hordes of devotees from Nepal and India flock to a temple in the Himalayan nation’s southern plains to sacrifice thousands of animals in the hope of appeasing the Hindu goddess of power, Gadhimai.
The practice of ritual sacrifice has a long history in Nepal, with devotees offering goats and buffaloes to gods during major festivals in the hope of finding health and happiness.
However in a victory for activists, Nepalese temple authorities said Tuesday they would end a centuries-old Hindu tradition of mass animal slaughter that attracts hundreds of thousands of worshippers.
Animal rights activists applauded the decision, which came after years spent lobbying temple authorities and the Nepal government in a campaign that attracted support from celebrities including British actress Joanna Lumley and French movie legend Brigitte Bardot.
“We have decided to completely stop the practice of animal sacrifice,” said Motilal Prasad, secretary of the Gadhimai Temple Trust, which organises the celebrations.
“I realised that animals are so much like us they have the same organs as us and feel the same pain we do,” Prasad told AFP.
“It won’t be easy to end a 400-year-old custom but we have 4 years to convince people that they don’t need to sacrifice animals to please the goddess,” he 
said.

Source: AFP
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