Barbaric Cultural Killing of Goats in Nepal

This past week was terrible in the news that interests animal rights advocates because of the heartless killing of the now well-known dog Lennox in Belfast, Northern Ireland (United Kingdom). Lennox was ripped from his family in 2010 by officials of the Belfast City Council (BCC) who took it to court with the label that it was dangerous. Being subject to repeated trials and appeals, all in Belfast courts, the judicial system proved a key ally of BCC in victimizing the dog that had no history of aggression. Lennox wasn’t even a pit bull, which is declared a dangerous dog type by law in that part of the world. But all voices of protest were simply ignored by the Belfast authorities until they finally put Lennox to death on July 11, 2012. Protests following the killing continue to date, both online and on ground, in various parts of the world.

The senseless killing of Lennox is now believed by some activists knowing about the history of the place to be more than hatred for a dog; they believe that it was a planned two-year long torture to the owner family and supporters of the dog. Supporters of Lennox are now asking for an investigation so that the facts about this outrage might be brought to the surface. Can anything be more horrible than this kind of victimization? Unfortunately, yes, and it’s coming up next month in the name of culture.

Many of us know Hinduism for some of its animal-friendly doctrines – like the respect held for a number of animals including cattle, monkeys, snakes, and elephants. A number of Indian states have also banned cow slaughter for the reason that cow is a sacred animal akin to one’s mother that nourishes a child with her milk. Yet, in Nepal – the only Hindu state in the world – one local culture has a horrible ceremonial killing practice observed each year in Khokana village. The Khokana Festival is celebrated by the locals in August each year and part of this celebration includes tearing apart a live young goat!

Khokana Festival in Nepal

Khokana Festival in Nepal. Source: Causes.com

A number of blogs advocating prevention of cruelty to animals describe it as a kind of ritual in which a young goat of up to 6 months is thrown into a pond near a temple in Khokana. Nine young guys, apparently teenagers, enter the pond and attack the goat, tearing its organs apart and the one who makes the fatal move, killing the goat, is titled as the hero at the traditional dance that follows this show of barbarianism. Those familiar with the tradition tell that the killing practice gets its origin from fear of gods which held people in medieval times when a number of children drowned in the pond. Killing a goat then emerged as a kind of sacrifice to appease the gods.

Whether or not the gods are appeased by this show of gory killing, the animal rights supporters surely are outraged at the continuation of cruel killing of a harmless, helpless creature in the name of culture. They are currently demanding the authorities in Nepal to move against the horror and prohibit it legally. A petition has also been launched online to put an end to it and thousands of people have signed already to help end this cultural nightmare in Khokana.