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Nepal’s mass animal slaughter begins despite outcry

BARIYARPUR, Nepal  – Hindu worshippers began killing thousands of buffalo on Tuesday (Dec 3) in reputedly the world’s biggest animal sacrifice, held every five years in a remote corner of Nepal, despite efforts to end the bloodshed.

The Gadhimai Festival kicked off in the early hours amid tight security, with the ceremonial slaughter of a goat, rat, chicken, pig and a pigeon. A local shaman then offered blood from five points of his body.

Some 200 butchers with sharpened swords and knives then walked into a walled arena bigger than a football field that held several thousand buffalo as excited pilgrims climbed trees to catch a glimpse.

“The sacrifices have begun today… We had tried not to support it but people have faith in the tradition and have come here with their offerings,” Birendra Prasad Yadav from the festival organising committee told AFP.

Thousands of worshippers from Nepal and neighbouring India have spent days sleeping out in the open and offering prayers ahead of the event in Bariyarpur village, close to the Indian border.

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