A cultural festival in Nepal during which a live goat is ripped apart by villagers using their bare hands and teeth has sparked outrage among animal rights campaigners.
The Deopokhari festival is held every year in August, in the village of Khokana, one of the oldest villages in the Kathmandu Valley in central Nepal.
But animal rights campaigners have branded the celebration ‘barbaric’, as part of the ceremony sees a young female goat brutally sacrificed.
The five or six-month-old goat is hurled into the Deu pond close to the Rudrayani temple at the centre of the village, followed by nine young men who jump into the pond and begin to tear at the goat with their hands and teeth.
They continue to bite, pull at and strangle the goat until it is torn apart, and the man deemed to have eventually killed it is permitted to lead the year’s procession.
Nepalese organisation Animal Welfare Network Nepal has been spear-heading a campaign against the festival for years, and has succeeded in rallying international support in its struggle.
‘Animal Welfare Network Nepal condemns the act of sacrifice in the festival and is continuously raising its voice against animal cruelty,’ said a spokesman for the AWNN campaign group.
World-renowned animals rights charity PETA has joined the AWNN in its campaign, highlighting the damage that the ‘uniquely savage and disgusting’ festival does to Nepal’s international reputation.
The charity’s UK director Mimi Bekhechi, said: ‘The Khokana festival demonstrates only obliviousness to world opinion, disrespect for life and an almost uniquely savage and disgusting display of cruelty.
‘There are few living beings as gentle and defenceless as baby goats, the victims of this barbarous act.’