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On 28th July, the ritual killing of hundreds of thousands of animals STOPPED!
In future, the Gadhimai Festival in Nepal
will use peaceful worship in celebration of the goddess Gadhimai, instead of killing and violence.
Animal Voice spoke to South African activist Nikki Botha who played a role in bringing down the nightmare of butchery...
Animal Voice: Nikki, how did you find out that the animal sacrifice at Gadhimai had been banned?
Nikki: I found out about it the moment one of the activists who is at the forefront of this fight, posted the news on social media. The Gadhimai Temple Trust had just announced that the time had come to change this tradition in favour of a bloodless sacrifice.
Animal Voice: You say you were ‘pretty much hysterical with joy.’ What were your first words after being told of this victory?
Nikki: I can't repeat it in polite company unfortunately, but suffice to say it was colourful. I couldn't find anything coherent to say - the shock was just that great.
Animal Voice: In essence, what this ban means is that hundreds of thousands of water buffalo, goats and other farmed animals will be spared the nightmare of being rounded up into an arena, and being hacked to death as part of the Nepalese festival in the name of the goddess Gadhimai.
You travelled to Nepal to witness this terrible atrocity last November and put your photographs out there for all the world to see. You played a role in the global exposure of the Gadhimai Festival. With hindsight, do you think that what you witnessed will have a lasting effect on you? If so, can you try and describe your feelings?
Nikki: You don't witness something like that without it having a lasting impression on you for life. It was traumatic and incomprehensible. What your eyes see and how your brain reacts do not compute. I couldn't make sense of it or logically process it for months afterwards. But this victory has gone a long way in healing those scars and although I will never, ever forget the suffering and carnage I witnessed at the festival, I am at peace for the first time since then.
Animal Voice: The Zulu nation has a word that applies to you. Bayete! Animal Voice salutes you.
Nikki: I salute Animal Voice for covering this issue and I salute the public who stand by us in the fight for our non-human brothers and sisters.
This powerful statement was issued by the Gadhimai’s Temple Trust chairman Ram Chandra Shah on 28th July 2015:
For generations, pilgrims have sacrificed animals to the Goddess Gadhimai,
in the hope of a better life. For every life taken, our heart is heavy. The time has come to transform an old tradition. The time has come to replace killing and violence with peaceful worship and celebration.
Image source: Nikki Botha