For nearly a millennium, individuals from Kathmandu Valley in Nepal have hosted an annual festival dedicated to the slaughter of a live goat. As part of the Deopokhari festival, the ritual first came into being when Khokana villagers began drowning the animal as a sacrifice to the gods.
The ritualistic process has remained largely unchanged to this day, though many people now consider the act “uniquely savage” and “cruel.” The ritual begins with villagers selecting a baby goat and throwing it into the revered Deu pond, which sits adjacent to Rudrayani temple. Several men then jump into the water and proceed to tear the goat to pieces with their hands and mouths while other villagers watch. Whoever finally kills the goat earns the right to lead the festival procession that year.
Deopokhari festival has caused worldwide controversy and elicited public outcry from numerous animal rights organizations. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has partnered with Animal Welfare Network Nepal (AWNN) to create a global campaign against the festival. Among numerous online petitions vilifying the festival, one asking the Nepali Congress Central Office to stop the annual slaughter received over 57,000 signatures.