1000 people rally against animal sacrifice

The thing that give us hope. Last Saturday over one thousand people rallied against animal sacrifice. They walked from Badrakali temple (notorious for sacrifice) to the Mandala at Maitighar, carrying playcard and banners saying ‘Stop Animal Sacrifice’ and ‘Animals look up to you, don’t let them down’. Animal Nepal participated with banners showing the sad looking goddess Kali carrying a beheaded goat, questioning ‘Do worship and cruelty go together?’

There was talk of cancellation, and for good reasons. After Finance Minister Bhatterai announced the government would no longer spend millions on animal sacrifice thousands of angry Newars hit the street. The city came to a standstill and cars and buses were vandalised in what are now known as the ‘buffalo riots’.

The Newars, the original inhabitants of the Kathmandu Valley, did not want to give up their ‘right’ to publicly sacrifice innocent animals, with State support. Two days later the Minister gave in. This Dasain again hundreds of buffaloes, goats, chicken, and other creatures will be publicly beheaded, and the nation will be watching it live on TV.

The anti-sacrifice rally incluced many Newars and representatives of the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Christian religion. They wonder what kind of State the New Nepal will be. If animal sacrifice is paid for, then what about other religious rituals? Will we soon have ‘ramadan riots’, ‘lhosar riots’ and ‘Christmas riots’?

But on Saturday the protestors looked happy and relaxed. They celebrated community, vegetarianism, religion without cruelty, and respect for animals. I wish every day was rally day.

Mangal and the crime that cannot be forgotten

Animal rescue can be a depressing thing. Yesterday we were called by a young woman from Mangal Bazaar, Patan. A dog needed to be rescued. When we arrived in the alleyway where the dog was kept we were greeted by a dreadful smell. The smell of a suffering, dying dog. A shivering dog was lying in a dark corner, a part of its flank cut off and the underlying flesh and bone parts exposed. Someone must have attacked it with a sharp knife. It barely looked at us, but allowed us to stroke its sad, wet face.

At first people were willing to help. A taxi was called and we were informed that it was no good calling the owners, since they couldn’t care less. But when it came to lifting the dog unto a plastic sheet only a drunk neighbour came forward.

At the Mobile Vet Clinic the dog was immediately provided with anesthesia. Soon it became apparent that the dog also suffered injuries on one of its legs and on its back. We decided to put it to sleep.

We did not want the dog to die nameless. We called the dog Mangal, after the location where we found him. Mangal will remain a symbol for the level of cruelty that is inflicted on animals in Nepal.

Rescues such as these make us feel intensily sad. But they also remind us of how important our work is. Until recently no one knew what to do when dogs were tortured. Now people know whom to call. They are angry and upset; the lady who called us said the dog was one of her favourites, who often visited her shop. Mangal went through tremendous suffering but at least he died a painless death.

The next step is to get the Animal Welfare Act passed and functioning and bring the perpetrators to book.

I hope Mangal did not die in vain.

Donkey misery once more (this time in Terai)

‘Ke garne’, What can we do? That was the reaction of brick killn owners in Nepalgunj when Pranaj Rai asked why so many working donkeys are wounded or sick.

Pranaj witnessed countless ‘over work type of abuses’, including nylon rope friction wounds, lacerations and malnutrition. His photographs are a testament to the terrible forms of neglect working donkeys face in Nepal.
The owners say they are poor and illiterate and that animal rights are a far cry…
We heard similar answers a few months ago when we visited a brick factory in Siddhipur, Lalitpur. Here, so close to the capital, children and donkeys toil to carry bricks to and from the killn. They do not receive medical care. None of the donkeys are happy or healthy.

Something must be done! Who will take the first step to change the miserable lives of kids and donkeys in exploitative brick killns?