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Animal Carnage in Nepal

Story ID:5479
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Bara - Nepal
Year:2009
Person:various
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You may have read as I re the heartbreaking news that a village in the Bara
district of southern Nepal began their ritual sacrifice of hundreds of thousands
of animals and birds on November 24th. Every five years these animal and
birds are slaughtered to honor the Hindu deity Gadhimai. Sadly, this huge
ritual sacrifice draws thousands of visitors from India and Nepal. How can
anyone believe that a "deity" would condone a slaughter such as this of
innocent animals? Obviously, it was the brain child of early unthinking
people who felt that giving their animal possessions in sacrifice is a
pleasing act.

Petitions were sent to Nepal's president -Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, a Hindu, asking
him to stop the Gadhimai sacrifice. Animal advocate Brigitte Bardot sent a
letter to him pleading him to stop this ritualistic sacrifice. She wrote " I have
dedicated my life to protect animals and the best gift I could receive for this
lifelong struggle would be the announcement of the stopping of ritual sacrifice
.....I personally find it hard to imagine that your heart can withstand such
cruelty, knowing that you, being the head of the country, are ultimately
responsible."

Sadly, her compassionate pleas fell on deaf ears. She is not alone in her
compassionate hopes. Animal Nepal, an advocacy organization is organizing
protest events in Kathmandu, and they also filed a case at the Supreme
Court as well. One of their hopes for illiciting compassion was a printed
poster of a young Nepalese girl holding- which appeared to me to be a
headless white goat. Yes, this picture is worth a thousand words.

They and the Animal Welfare Network Nepal also tried at the eleventh hour
to unsucessfully convince the head priest Mangal Chaudhary and organizing
committee chaiman Shiva Chandra Kushwaha to stop the killing. They
sadly ignored the message sent them: "We beg to you on our knees to consider
our plea. You, as the main two responsible persons for the world's largest
animal sacrifice, have the ability to show wisdom, compassion and courage by
doing everything in your power to abolish the killing of innocent creatures in
the name of the God. If you do so, the world will always remember you as the
key decision-makers in stopping the killings."

The world seemed unaware of this killing of thousands of animals and birds
every five years until now as the Humane Society International wrote: "This
horrendous cruelty somehow existed without much publicity until this year.
Animal advocates and religious leaders both within Nepal and around the
world have displayed outrage and disgust and are working together to (put)
pressure on the Nepalese government to put a stop to the mass animal
sacrifice."

How different are the people of Bhutan- a tiny neighbor of only 675,000 people
who give of their small means to help the Buddhists monks and their Jangsa
Animal Trust programs. Lama Kuzang Dorjee of Bhutan-when touring the
US to raise funds for the trust seeking alms, is proud of these villagers who
walk miles to contribute baskets of corn to the monks for the animals.
Basically poor and illiterate, they are also rich in compassion. Kim Bartlett
wrote in Animal People that the entire nation is by ethic and tradition a
quasi-animal sanctuary. How beautiful for a country- no matter how small to
be designated in this manner. I have never heard it said before re any other
nation.

About 75% of The Bhutanese are Buddhists while most of the rest are Hindus.
There is some ethnic tension between the 80% of the people who practice
mostly vegetarian forms of Buddhism and Hinduism and the rest of the 20%
which comprises Tibeten refuges or their descendents and who though Buddhist,
do eat meat.

A sad fact of life here though is that aging widows who cannot care for the
bullocks when their husbands die, traditionally either donate the animals to
monasteries, sell them to local butchers or to traders who walk them down
mountains to be slaughtered in Darjeeling, India

I found inspirational the account given by Lama Kunzang Dorjee who in 2000
had a personal experience where he encountered five bulls who had come to
seek refuge in the Jangsa Dechen Choling monastery where he is the head
lama. These bulls had escaped a slaugtherhouse and were drawn toward the
lama's monastery. It seems to me that this may show that animals can smell
fear and even have good instincts when it comes to recognizing good in some
humans.

I always admired the Hindus of India who are primarily vegetarian. I hope
that despite what I am hearing re the abandonment of their vegetarian culture
by some, that most will continue to observe this compassionate lifestyle.

Many of us were pleased that the first state dinner of the Obama presidency
would be vegetarian to honor Pres. Obama's guest - the Prime Minister of India.
Guests dined on potato and eggplant salad with arulaga; roasted potato dumplings
with tomato chutney; chickpeas and okra; and green curry prawns. While some
of these flavors were not recognizable to this vegan - they seem enticing and
delicious nevertheless.

I hope and pray that one day the people of Nepal will stop their horrible display
of "religion." It is estimated that this year approximately 200,000 animals
and birds will be slaughtered to their "god." In the meantime, now that this
atrocity is recognized by the humane groups of Nepal and the world - people of
compassion will pray that these groups will continue their work of educating
and changing hearts. Of course the task is daunting. There are even so many
issues within our own borders which need humane consideration such as -
disbanding or lessoning the cruel effects of CAFOs which cause untold
misery for millions of our farm animals. Presently people of compassion are
working to give these sentient creatures just more room to move about. Yes,
we - a supposed humane and "enlightened" nation have imprisoned them, and
no living creature deserves this. So, what are WE doing to alleviate these
poor animals' suffering?

In this regard - the people of Ohio seemed ignorant or unwilling to vote no on
Issue 2 which passed and will probably give CAFO corporate owners a lot of
cachet re the continued use of cages and crates. This issue has even found a
place in the Ohio constitution were it clearly does not belong. Only issues
which affect ALL the people of Ohio belong in the Constitution. So what does that
say about how smart the people of Ohio are?

Re Nepal, I hope that all the humane groups will continue their good work in
trying to squelch this atrocity in progress in Nepal. But as it continues, I am
praying that the animals are dispatched quickly and humanely, I will also pray
that 5 years from now - we will not be reading about this animal carnage again,
and that at last it has been recognized as the horror it truly is.

Do I believe in miracles? Yes, I do. But I also believe in prayer. So I hope that
all of you who also do will add this intention to your prayer list.