Fortnightly Commentary No 72: December 19th, 2014, circ. 2000 people

Dear Members and Friends,

I read that facebook is considering adding a thumb down “dislike” option next to the “like” option below the posts. I vote yes on it, though it’s dangerous enough just trying to refrain from making the comments I am inclined to want to make. Facebook should put another icon as an option—the gorilla beating his chest and its meaning is “bragging”
Post: grateful for my awesome husband who gives me everything I could ever dream of
Fantasy comment: he’s having an affair with my neighbour
Post: I have the most amazing boss!
Fantasy comment: You meant, your boss has an amazing staff that deserves an increment.
Post: Updated profile picture: (flexed muscles, straddling motorcycle, sunglasses)
Fantasy comment: looking oily, Boss!
Post: Photo of a plate of food
Fantasy comment: zzzzzzzzz wake me when it’s over
Post: Feeling proud of the mountain of achievements my colleagues at XYZ org have accomplished for animals over the past 3 weeks (then lists them)
I would hit the gorilla button—and hard.

Fruits of Collaboration

Kerala organisations and activists are geared up for the puppy adoption camp to take place soon in Thrissur. The local federation in Jaipur is persistent with its efforts in meat shop regulation and is meeting other regulatory authorities after its successful meeting with the local corporation.
Meanwhile, education in schools continued in Varanasi on compassionate living. The activists of Varanasi have indicated a need and desire to train in first-aid, and Amit has been in Mumbai, spending time with the Welfare of Stray Dogs (WSD),  to train under them and organise a larger workshop to take place in Varanasi in January.

Living Free

As this year comes to an end, we look upon the lives saved and resolve to further our mission with vigour and zest. With this said, we end and welcome the New Year with a strong fight to save animals with the exhibition board campaign – ‘If slaughterhouses had glass walls…an exhibition tour’. Being held in 5 cities in India – Pune, Coimbatore, Chennai, Delhi and Surat the campaign brings to light how animals used for food ae treated and how people are in the dark about it!  If you want your city to be a Living Free city and organise outreach, write to priyanka@fiapo.org

Farm to Freedom

Jaipur is progressively taking the Chicken and Meat Shop campaign forward. The report on the investigation of the local meat shops is now complete, and we facilitated a meeting for the activists of Jaipur to plan next steps. As a result, discussions with the CEO of the Jaipur Municipal Corporation, Mr. Gyanaram Yadav and Commissioner of Gaushala Slaughterhouse, Mr. Ashok Swami took place  – they were made aware of the findings of the report and the ongoing criminal activities in meat shops. This ended on a positive note – JMC has assured that licensing norms will be made stricter and unhygienic meat will be seized from illegal meat shops. We are also helping organise meetings between the activists of Jaipur and the FSSAI (Food Safety and Standard Authority of India), the police department and the DCP of traffic.

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Join our campaign – If slaughterhouses had glass walls…an exhibition tour, coming to Pune, Coimbatore, Chennai, Delhi and Surat this December!

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Fighting Animal Trade

The Sonepur fair in Bihar is one of the world’s oldest animal markets, which has increasingly become a hub for illegal trade in wildlife and other live animals. It attracts animal poachers and smugglers from all over the country as well as Nepal, trading in several thousand wild birds and animals during the month long event. Determined to bring the shutters down on this ongoing saga of torture and death, FIAPO has moved the Patna High Court praying for the illegalities to be brought to an end. Along with our partners in this effort – TRAFFIC, WTI, PFA and Fauna Police, we will continue to monitor and bring about enforcement action in Sonepur and associated animal trade hotpots.

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Help us help animals! Click here to Donate!

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New Government Endangering the Welfare of Bulls

Belying expectations of the animal protection community, the new government does not seem to have brought “Achhe Din” for animals. Quite the contrary, there have been irresponsible public statements by the environment minister that the 2011 notification prohibiting the use of bulls as performing animals may be revoked. This is particularly shocking as it is also in contravention of a Supreme Court ruling. FIAPO is monitoring the situation and will mount all necessary challenges to prevent a roll back of a rare animal welfare friendly policy of the government.

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Infocus: Indian Vegan Society

Indian Vegan Society, located in the small town of Byndoor, has been promoting  the ‘Saatvik’ way of life, for many years now. The’ye well known for their annual  International Vegan Festivals, the last of which was held in September, 2014. Click here to read about their fascinating work towards promoting a cruelty free life.

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AWBI has an important role to play with anti-rabies prog in Maharashtra
With Rs 50 lakhs allocated, the state government in Maharashtra is launching an anti-rabies programme as part of a Five Year Plan of the Union Health Ministry. AWBI will coordinate the animal health component, according to TOI. The report notes that 22 people have died from rabies in Pune this year, also claims 20,000 people die in India annually, without quoting the source, and which number is, according to research over the past 5 years, unsubstantiated.
Read more here.

Killing birds begins in Kerala as avian influenza spreads
Cramped, poorly ventilated and overcrowded poultry houses makes a fine environment for avian influenza, and rather than improve conditions of poultry farms, the government is buying ducks and ducklings, chickens and baby chicks—aiming for 2,80,000 birds—to destroy. Although avian influenza was confirmed in lab tests, the Animal Husbandry department does not know whether the virus would affect humans. The government has banned sale of poultry in Kuttanad region. Read more here.

Bovine Communication:A hope for higher welfare
After a year of data analysis, researchers at the Queen Mary and Nottingham universities recently proved that cows communicate with each other using three calls. They use low frequency calls for calves nearby and higher ones for calves far away. What’s more is that ‘mother- offspring’ cattle calls are individualized— each calf and cow have a characteristic and exclusive call of their own. Not only is this a great breakthrough to influence animal welfare – creating room for vocal indicators of welfare – but also because it brings us closer to the fact that cows, just like humans, are complex social creatures, not meant to be someone’s food.

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PFA keeps fighting, but deadly kite strings still in market
Kite strings made of Chinese manja—a kind of glass—tear open the wings of birds who cannot see it and collide with kite strings, ripping their wings to shreds. Despite PFA animal activists’ efforts to ban the lethal luxury in Nagpur, no action has been taken and traders continue to sell. A story carried by TOI reports that the deadly string has been banned in Chennai and Mumbai, according to the activists, and AWBI has encouraged bans throughout the country. FIAPO commends PFA and all others involved for their diligence in following up this matter.
Read more here.

Heritage Animal Task Force working hard to help elephants killed by pesticides in Kerala
More elephant tragedies in Kerala, according to a report by Heritage Animal Task Force, contending that as many as 17 wild elephants were found dead in mysterious circumstances in since January this year and say many of them were victims of banned pesticides. The situation is critical, with total wild jumbo deaths from various causes in Kerala going up to 113 since January this year.
In a recent letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is also the Chairman of National Board for Wildlife, the group alleged that illegal planters were largely using banned pesticides around the corridor.
Read more here.

Mahindra to invest 500 crore in India’s dairy industry
The Economic Times reports that India’s Mahindra Agribusiness is set to acquire a dairy for up to INR500 crore to enter the dairy segment. Referring as the current market as an “unorganized sector,” Mahinda’s chief exec Ashok Sharma said it will use a supply chain model dealing directly with farmers. Sounds like a step in the wrong direction to us.
Read more here.

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My husband is the perfect vegan, because he is naturally austere. He can give things up so easily—even sugar, even salt! No matter, he likes the natural taste of raw food. He seems to like to be hungry (handy for me because I hate cooking). He seems to like to be cold! Its winter and we all know everyone north of Bombay and Bangalore is freezing right now. They can hardly pause to read this issue of Commentary because they’re shivering so hard. At my house, shower time spells danger. The tiled floors are like walking on a glacier. Wet hair means a close brush with hypothermic shock. So we girls (there are 3 of us in the house) decided to upgrade from the tiny, insubstantial, useless geezer, to a nice big 35 litre geezer so that showering helps cope with the cold, rather than guarantees pneumonia. My husband groused about this. He said “You TALK about reducing your carbon footprint and then waste money and resources! Just add a bucket of hot water you heat on the stove like we’ve always done.  You guys don’t need it! Do calisthenics to warm up! Ride those bicycles sitting idle on the veranda! Move it!”  I have the perfect rejoinder. It’s elegant, crisp, persuasive—good to remember its power from time to time. I said, “No!” stomping out of the room. Then, I turned on my heel and returned, snapping off the light. “I’m reading!” he said. “Learn Braille!” I replied.

Best wishes,
Erika Abrams
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