Today is the first of the two day mass slaughter: the Gadhimai Festival. In Nepal, it is considered to be a celebration.
How an event where thousands of animals will be beheaded, is referred to as a celebrative festival, bemuses and disturbs me. It is appallingly cruel and utterly unnecessary to the point of beggaring belief. The Nepalese government should hang its head in shame for letting this atrocity go ahead.
For months, my team and I have worked tirelessly in an attempt to stop this inhumane and frankly, barbaric slaughter. One of our investigators is documenting what we believe to be one of the world's biggest single-location animal slaughter festival, as we speak. Here is a harrowing account of what he is seeing: "The scale of the suffering is vast -the bodies of thousands of buffalo are staining the earth red. What I've seen can only be described as a massacre. These animals have suffered great pain at the hands of an army of unskilled men and this is just the start of this 48 hour killing frenzy."
Joanna Lumley joined us on the streets of London earlier this year, calling on people to help us stop this slaughter. She said: "I love Nepal - both the land and its people. The Gadhimai animal sacrifice festival entails horrendous animal suffering and is a complete anomaly in this wonderful country. I urge the Nepalese Government to end it as a matter of urgency."
Today, there is a sense of defeat and incredulity. And yet - there is also hope. The Indian Government has committed to stop animals from crossing the border into Nepal. In addition, we have pushed hard for enforcement of relevant legislation designed to protect animals and people within Nepal. As a result, I am hopeful that fewer animals will be involved in the festival this time around.
At the last festival, which happens every five years, an estimated 250,000 animals were brutally slaughtered. Gadhimai is a Hindu festival but is widely opposed by the global Hindu community with support from Compassion's campaign coming from the Hindu Council UK.
Surya Upadhya, Chairman of the Nepalese Hindu Forum in the UK, said: "The Nepalese Hindu Forum in the UK completely opposes animal sacrifice as Hinduism does not sanction the killing of living beings.
"There should not be any place for this inhumane, barbaric sacrifice of innocent animals in the name of any religion".
Compassion along with a host of international animal welfare groups, has been campaigning to stop the festival and called on the Nepalese government to cease all funding of it.
Compassion's investigator continued, saying: "After documenting the horror, I shut my eyes for a few minutes to escape the bloodshed. But the air is heavy with a sickening smell of death and I know I'll never be able to forget this."
Today and tomorrow, the world will be watching as the Nepalese Government stands by and allows thousands of animals to be brutally slaughtered, in a giant open air pen where their heads are hacked off in full view of each other. Please, join me in telling the Nepalese Government: never again.Suggest a correction