I am so sad to hear that another Gadhimai Festival will be held in Nepal this November. The festival, which is only about 250 years old, takes place every five years. At the last festival, in 2009, it is estimated that around 500,000 water buffaloes, goats and chickens were slaughtered, having their heads severed in a mass sacrificial killing. Families, including young children, came to watch the bloody spectacle. The sacrificial killing is held to please the goddess Gadhimai, to avert evil and bring prosperity. Animal sacrifice is banned in many Indian states, but people travel from northern India to Nepal with their animals to sacrifice them at the festival.
The idea that a hemline or heel height should be held accountable is offensive to men and women alike. Rape victims are not Sirens who lure in unsuspecting attackers, and rapists should never be treated as if they are merely people with a lower threshold to withstand desires of the flesh than others.
I love clothes. As many of you will suspect I love dressing up and going out. I am sure that I am as guilty as the next person for hoarding and thinking 'oh I will get another year out of that item". Then it sits at the back of the closet alone for another year. I think I will be lonesome if I throw out my old coat or jumper. This new Shwopping campaign is helping me with these little daily dramas. So just what is this Shwopping idea and why am I so interested in all your old shirts, shorts, bras and underwear?
As a species we have so much to answer for in the way we treat animals, but the largest single cause of animal suffering must be the way we factory farm, transport and slaughter billions of animals around the globe - year after year. I find it hard to understand how anyone can countenance keeping hens in cages or pregnant sows in narrow stalls, unable to turn round. Thankfully more and more people are rejecting the products from animals kept in these grossly unjust ways. The free range market is growing fast.