In the United States, one estimate pegs the number of animals killed for food production at about 10 billion annually (most being chickens). The methods are hidden from view, seldom filmed, and far from humane. That fact is important to bear in mind when contemplating this picture I took at a temple in Nepal called Dakshinkali. This is a sacred Hindu site where animals (goats, cocks) are slaughtered in sacrifice to the Hindu god Kali. Nepalese bring their farm animals for ritualistic sacrifice, with methods similar to the quick and mostly painless halal and kosher styles of killing of certain animals for consumption. I remember seeing this man kill many goats and cockerels in September 1989. Blood was everywhere. It was all very calm, if not serene. Large crowds of Nepalese stood patiently in long lines waiting for the swift act. I had never seen anything like this before. I realized at that moment that people live their lives in such totally different ways than I do, and in ways that make perfect sense to them, but may seem outright cruel to outsiders (again, remember the dead billions of factory killed chickens in our country). That is a moment I recall ever so clearly, when my perception of reality had measurably changed. That is still why I like to travel.
My archive of photos dates back now more than 25 years. I scanned (remember that technology?) photos from numerous projects I have worked on since 1989. Lately, I’ve been converting some old color scans into black and white. Here’s one of my old favorites, of the Karva Chauth festival, taken in Varanasi, India, in October 1989. You can compare it against my color version on my India photo gallery.