Sunday, August 2, 2015

Media's Role in Containing Animal Slaughtering at Temples

Rabin Man  Shakya
Former Associate Editor, The Rising Nepal

According to a news published in The New York Times dated July 29, 2015, "a temple in southern Nepal known for the mass slaughter of animals at a festival every five years has indefinitely banned animal sacrifices, India's Humane Society International said Tuesday."

Another news story in the British newspaper The Telegraph also dated July 29, 2015 says: "The bloody mass sacrifice of animals during a Nepalese temple festival has ended after a high-profile international campaign championed by Joanna Lumley, the British actress revered in the Himalayan nation."

The Gadhimai temple has now announced that it will end the 300-year-old practice - the biggest animal sacrifice in the world - after years of protests by campaigners, went on The Telegraph story.

The decision of the temple authorities has to be welcomed and appreciated wholeheartedly. Certainly, this news sends a pretty good message that animal slaughtering at the temples is barbaric, inhumane and regressive act which should be condemned all the time. As a matter of fact, Nepal has been drawing international headlines in the past for barbaric animal killings at the temples and other religious sites.

Killing the innocent animals in a barbaric style in front of the temples publicly (with children watching it)  to please the Gods is insane and ridiculous. Yes, there is no doubt that killing the animals right in front of the Hindu temples and statues of Hindu Gods is to involve the temples and Gods themselves with the responsibility of brutal killings of innocent animals. This evil practice prevalent in Nepal in thousands of temples raises the question: Will the Gods be really happy with the barbaric offerings of innocent animals.

It is to be noted that the practice of animal sacrifices during different other Hindu occasions and at thousands of other Hindu temples is still prevalent in Nepal, even after Nepal was proclaimed a secular state. Animal sacrifice is still a common practice during the festival of Bijaya Dasami.

Today, Nepal is still notorious in the world for animal slaughtering at the temples. Republican and democratic Nepal today faces a number of issues which are related to the abolition of many religious practices and rightly so. Animal slaughtering is a highly inhumane and barbaric practice which should be banned. It should be banned not only in Nepal, it should be banned in all the countries of the world. No nation in the civilized world should entertain it.

Mass media like the newspapers, radio and TV channels have tremendous role in educating the people against such evil practices. Supporters of the animal sacrifices, however, say that age-old traditions cannot be given up.

But it is true that animal slaughtering in the name of pleasing the Gods and in the name of preserving age-old practices is outrageous and unacceptable. The animal rights activists of Nepal have been outraged by the continuous animal slaughtering at other Hindu temples and during other Hindu religious occasions. The mass media should give adequate platform to the animal rights activists to disseminate their ideas and messages. The newspapers should publish more stories, articles and editorials that can raise awareness against killing of innocent animals at temples, while the radio and TV channels should air more programs to boost the confidence and morale of the animal rights activists.

There is no doubt that the newspapers, radio and TV networks are the strongest platforms in showing the people the horrifying impact of animal slaughtering at the temples. The mass media should be able to inculcate the message on the people that this is not good from humane perspective, this is not good from environmental perspective.

It is evident that in the perspective of contemporary Nepal, in its elaborate process of new civilization and secularism, the scope and role of the Nepalese mass media to speak out against the brutal animal slaughtering at temples is getting to be vital.

Bottomline: Animal slaughtering at Hindu temples in the name of religion should be totally stopped and banned. This is going to be an uphill battle of the animal rights activists against the Hindu conservatives. The saga continues as the battle rages between the animal rights activists and Hindu conservatives. Therefore, media activism is very important to raise the awareness against the barbaric animal slaughtering at temples and religious sites.

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