The Gadhimai festival takes place every 5 years in Bariyarpur, Bara District of southern Nepal. During the sacrificial ceremony hundreds of thousands of animals are sacrificed in the name of goddess Gadhimai. The last festival took place on 28 November 2014 and the one before that in 2009 where 200,000 animals were sacrificed.
In 2014 Animal Equality, an animal rights organization campaigned tirelessly across the globe to phase out animal sacrifice at the Gadhimai festival. As a part of the campaign, the organization documented the barbaric practice with an aim to educate the masses and debunk all the myths related to the practice of animal sacrifice. The organization also:
- Lobbied the Government of India to issue a directive to restrict movement of animals across the Indo-Nepal border during the Gadhimai festival.
- Gathered volunteers from across India who assisted the Police department and the Border Police, SSB to stop the transport of animals across the border.
Because of these efforts the number of animals sacrificed at the Gadhimai festival in 2014 witnessed a heavy dip. The temple committee planned to sacrifice 10,000 buffaloes but managed to sacrifice not more than 2000 (as per the head count done by us)and according to some reports the total number of animals sacrificed was about 30,000, whereas it was 200,000 in 2009.