Nepal is one of the few Asian countries without proper animal welfare legislation. The Animal Nepal team has identified five of the most prevalent kinds of animal cruelty:
Stray Dog Overpopulation & Neglect
There are a large numbers of stray dogs in Kathmandu metropolitan area alone – over 25,000 within the Ring Road area (including “community dogs”). Most of urban stray dogs are discarded pets, which have become sick, pregnant or developed aggressive behavior, or the offspring of such animals. Fear of rabies has also bred short-term, misinformed responses. All these factors and more have fed a complex serious stray dog problem for Nepal, which is more than ready for a humane, efficient and long-term solution. Read more about our outreach programme here.
Inhumane Cultural Practices
Nepal’s diverse cultures include cruel practices in which animals are slowly killed, torn apart or even skinned alive. Animal sacrifice is practiced widely and in some cases subsidized by the government. One example is Gadhimai festival where every five years hundreds of thousands of animals are killed, some in an extremely cruel manner. Read about the Stop Animal Sacrifice Campaign here.
Buffalo Transportation & Slaughter
The majority of buffalo are raised in Nepal’s lowlands from where they are transported for sale to other parts of the country and abroad for meat. The over-crowding and cruel tethering leads to serious health depletion, stress, wounds and infections. All buffaloes are slaughtered without stunning and usually with large knives, creating tremendous suffering to the animals. Although the Meat Act facilitates humane transport and slaughter, it awaits enforcement.
Cattle and Unholy Practices
Cows are considered holy in Nepal. However, the treatment of many of these animals is anything but reverential. Due to a lack of enforceable legislation and public awareness, cattle (often unweaned bull calves) are abandoned on the busy and terrifying streets. Wandering cattle face many problems including malnutrition, thirst, poisoning, severe stomach problems (due to ingestion of hazardous materials), affects of pollution, injury from accidents, and torture such as hitting and burning by shopkeepers who regard them as a thieving menace.
Working Animal Plight
Nepal’s working animals are true beasts of burden. Many of them literally work themselves to death. Among them are thousands of horses, donkeys and mules that carry people and goods, both in the mountains and in Terai. No legislation applies to them, leading to untold suffering and abuse. A relatively new phenomenon is ‘brick donkeys’, which carry bricks in kilns. They are beaten, overloaded, underfed and the vast majority goes untreated. Read about Animal Nepal’s outreach programme here.