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Did Nepal temple ban animal sacrifices at Gadhimai festival?
31 July 2015
- From the section Asia
News was reported around the world on Tuesday that one of the world’s bloodiest religious ceremonies was being ended.
The festival at the Hindu temple in Bariyarpur in Nepal sees tens of thousands of animals sacrificed to the goddess Gadhimai, and always provokes international outrage.
The announcement that sacrifices were now banned was greeted with delight by animal activists – but then the temple’s chairman said it was not true. So what happened?
What happens at the Gadhimai festival?
Every five years, Hindu pilgrims from Nepal and India buy animals ranging from buffalo to rats, and bring them to be sacrificed at the temple in Bara district.
Over several days of gore, thousands of buffalo and tens of thousands of smaller animals are killed, either by priests in the temple or by others in the surrounding fields.
The tradition dates back to a priest who was told about 250 years ago in a dream that spilled blood would encourage Gadhimai, the Hindu goddess of power, to free him from prison.
What did the charities say?
“Victory! Animal sacrifice banned at Nepal’s Gadhimai festival, half a million animals saved,” said the press release from Humane Society International (HSI) and Animal Welfare Network Nepal (AWNN).
After “rigorous negotiations”, the temple agreed to “cancel all future animal sacrifice” and would “[urge] devotees not to bring animals to the festival”, they said.
They quoted the chairman of the Gadhimai Temple Management and Development Committee, Ram Chandra Shah, as saying: “The time has come to replace killing and violence with peaceful worship and celebration.”
The charities held news conferences in Delhi and in Bihar – where most of the sacrificial animals originate – with four key members of the temple committee, including the chief priest, though not Mr Shah.
Motilal Prasad, secretary of the temple trust, confirmed to AFP news agency: “We have decided to completely stop the practice of animal sacrifice,” he said. “I realised that animals are so much like us… and feel the same pain we do.” …. read more…
Image: Agnes Souchal
A group of animal welfare organizations have reached their fundraising goal to care for dozens of research chimps abandoned on an island in Liberia. But the more than $150,000 raised is still only enough to ensure the care of the chimps for a few months at best, according to the groups involved.
“I’m not calling it the finish line,” said Kathleen Conlee, the vice president of animal research issues at the Humane Society of the United States, which created the online fundraising campaign. “Thankfully we have enough to be able to ensure the chimps’ care in the near future, but we can’t sustain this over the long run.” …
This is an essay by the science writer and broadcaster Geoff Watts who argues that irrational panic about radiation can cause more harm than radiation itself. It was first published in the terrific online science magazine Mosaic.
Bad Gastein in the Austrian Alps. It’s 10am on a Wednesday in early March, cold and snowy – but not in the entrance to the main gallery of what was once a gold mine. Togged out in swimming trunks, flip-flops and a bath robe, I have just squeezed into one of the carriages of a narrow-gauge railway that’s about to carry me 2 km into the heart of the Radhausberg mountain.
Fifteen minutes later we’re there and I’m ready to enjoy what the brochures insist will be a health-enhancing environment. Enjoyment, of course, is a subjective term. The temperature inside the mountain’s dimly lit tunnels is around 40°C, and the humidity is…
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Northern California Native Plant Society Chapter August Field Trips:
(check chapter websites for more information on trips and late trip listings)
Bristlecone (Mono, Inyo and NE Kern counties) http://bristleconecnps.org/index.php
August 8, Saturday, Bristlecone Chapter Field Trip: Mono Pass (north)
East Bay CNPS http://www.ebcnps.org/
Marin CNPS http://www.marin.edu/cnps/
Milo Baker (Sonoma county) http://milobaker.cnps.org/index.php/events/field-trips
August 22, 2015, Saturday, 10 a.m. – noon Pat Sesser’s Home Garden
Napa Valley http://www.napavalleycnps.org/
North Coast http://northcoastcnps.org
August 9, Sunday. Pine Ridge Prairies Day Hike.
Santa Clara Valley http://www.cnps-scv.org/
Sun-Thu July 13th – 17th Mt. Lassen Carcamp
Santa Cruz http://www.cruzcnps.org/field_trips.php
Yerba Buena (San Francisco/Northern San Mateo) http://www.cnps-yerbabuena.org/
If you are interested in information on other chapters go to: http://www.cnps.org/cnps/chapters/