Animal Matters, No 18: 23rd November, 2012

Dear Members and Friends,

The Plastic Cow video and court case are profoundly stirring appeals to raise consciousness about the effect plastic polytin bags have on cows who eat them while scavenging for food in rubbish heaps and roadsides throughout India.

Such expose material is often linked to the need for “improved waste management.” But isn’t the problem NOT the “management” of waste, but its creation in the first place?

In a recent article from The Hindu, an American institute reports that in the 20-year period from 1990, the average number of miles that a U.S. household travelled for shopping increased by around 1000. And from 2005 to 2010, its reported greenhouse gas emissions shot up by 14 per cent.

America’s waste management systems are much developed compared to India’s, but the amount of sheer wastage produced by the consumption of deliberately shoddy goods which have a short shelf-life (suggesting replacement) and just using too much stuff is really at the heart of the problem. We are over-producing waste because we’re indulging in an ever-greater stash of unnecessary trinkets, highly processed foods including all the soya meat-lookalike products, and multiples of the basics.

In Kerala the local people are fighting the reopening of a waste treatment plant, and the State has left 2 lakh tonnes of solid waste lying in a heap.

The answer to what to DO with our waste should be predicated on the question: Why are we obtaining so much? Loving animals reminds us every day of life’s simplest pleasures—joys which don’t come in a box, let alone not in a box covered in shrink-wrapped plastic.

IfA 2012: A Brilliant Success

Joy and humour blended with new resolutions to implement learnings from experts and the many experienced delegates who made India for Animals 2012 fantastic.

Crescendos were many, including the Dragon’s Den competition for a Rs 30,000 seed-money grant for implementing the most innovative, winning entry. The audience was treated to ideas like installing a national animal help line; establishing legal cells of law experts to defend all animal cases; blueprint for creating young leaders; and (the winning) computer software that makes tracking your volunteers, your animals and vehicles a breeze.

Other highs included fascinating workshops covering themes like zoos, rapid release in Bhutan, pain management and euthanasia, profiles of various humane education programs and hundreds of rich conversations that took place during breaks.

And the most dazzling moments of all came during the creative explosion that brought ad hoc teams together to construct artifacts depicting animal cruelty for an imaginary future-istic Museum of Animal Cruelty—established in future when animal cruelty is a thing of the past! Artists glued, taped, and coloured breathlessly in a 30 minute race to complete ingenious cardboard traps, spears, battery cages and bullock testicle crushers!

Awards for outstanding service to animals brought a diverse range of leaders to the stage, each of whom had moving stories to express what love has been behind their actions.

With the real-life visit of Wayne Pacelle, CEO of Humane Society of the United States, and Virtual Visit (congratulations video) of Ingrid Newkirk, Founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals; with news pickups from more than 10 national newspapers, FIAPO felt honoured to serve as a magnet for such outstanding activists.

Living Free: Outreach continues in Hyderabad, where the local group organised an excellent awareness raising event during a marathon – you’d be a much healthier runner if you didn’t consume animal products. Meanwhile, Dan’s next in Mumbai and then various cities of Rajasthan. You can read of Dan’s visits and leafleting experiences here If you want to get active in your own city, do get in touch.

We have continued to work with PRAYAS in Surat to facilitate the ABC programme in Surat. The ABC programme in Surat had been halted by the AWBI in August 2012 as a result of complications and mortality in operated animals. This matter had been brought to light by PRAYAS, a Surat based animal welfare and environment protection organisation. Subsequently, we have continued to provide assistance to PRAYAS so that the Surat Municipal Corporation can be encouraged to continue the self funded ABC programme that they had initiated. Efforts are ongoing to facilitate a visit by the AWBI to Surat and also to organise a knowledge disseminating seminar to ensure that all key players in Surat are fully conversant with the AWBI SoP and ABC best practices. 

Puja writes: Caged in concrete tanks, separated from their pods (families), performing captive dolphins lead unnatural lives with high mortality rates in Dolphinariums across the world. India’s poor track record, with three captive dolphin deaths after just one month in Chennai’s Dolphin City, has not deterred our government from planning several such centres across the country to promote tourism. We are putting together detail on all such proposals in India, so send us any information you may have and join our campaign. Emails to

Ending Experimentation: This week, FIAPO and PETA India were declared runners up in the lobbying category of the LUSH prize ( to end animal testing. It is a testimony to the growth of the animal protection movement in India that its organisations are being recognised for their efforts to bring about alternatives to animal experimentation. FIAPO has been strongly supported by Humane Society International (HSI) and would like to express our gratitude for their guidance and support.

Woofers and tweeters: A report from Colorado State University has suggested that dogs were less likely to bark when listening to classical western composers than when listening to “heavy metal.”  We want to register our distaste for the silly—probably costly and possibly annoying—experiments which would yield this especially irrelevant “information.” Dogs respond to a plethora of information their magnificent sensitivity picks up on which we cannot detect or follow. The attitudes of the researchers no doubt played a profound role in the emotions and sleep patterns of the subjects. The fact that these dogs were incarcerated for their test renders the findings –from our point of view—not worthy of respect.

We Care Srinagar: This week's We Care Srinagar article, Friend or foe? Shedding your fear of dogs, shares some tried and tested tips that can help you have a positive interaction with man’s best friend. Slow, quiet, kind and gentle moves and strokes when one is relaxed and comfortable can help anyone forge harmonious relationships with any dog.

Fruits of Collaboration…
Manish writes: Last Friday, we were all in Goa – nearly half of the members of the local federation presented to the 200+ delegates who gathered for the three-day conference to share, learn and inspire. We talked about Humane Education, presented in Dragon’s Den, and of course – fruits of collaboration. After our presentation, folks felt that the collaborative approach taken on in Jaipur is almost too easy! We take that as a compliment. It’s been hard work, but it’s been so much fun. We gave the opportunity to the participants to discuss with us the issues they face in their local areas regarding collaboration. In case you didn’t make it to Goa, you can still write to us and ask. Email

Sowing the seeds of animal welfare in Bhatinda: We were contacted by Deepak Kumar of Rampura Phul in the Bhatinda district in Punjab to help start outreach activities that sensitise people on the abuse of animals, especially chickens killed for meat. We’ve sent outreach material, and info on various issues, and are now helping organise the visit of an experienced activist to assist the local forces in Bhatinda. Would you like to connect similarly with fellow activists; do you feel your work will be helped if a fellow activist visited you and shared ideas and experience? Email us and we’ll help

In focus: One of our youngest members – Animal Birds Nature Foundation, operates from Bengaluru. Running since April, 2012, ANIBIN has already rescued around 100 animals, including cats, dogs and cows. They have organised awareness events like adoption camps, stalls and rallies – and have successfully intervened in a few cruelty cases and wildlife rescues, installed water bowls during the summer. They now have 2700sqft land, and hoping to open a shelter soon. Read more about their fantastic work here

One of our readers—an activist from one of the metro-cities who has taken care of dozens of street dogs over many years– recently voiced the sentiment: “I’ve never taken money for animals, and I never will!”

But fundraising can and should be joyous. When we are fully transparent, it can be a great pleasure to give others the chance to help animals in practical ways.  Remember how good it feels when you yourself have made donations that help animals.

We animal activists need not hesitate to move heaven and earth for animals. If you can get it done without money, superb. If you can’t, then dig into your own pockets and proudly, cheerfully, ask others to join in. Let’s make earth a heaven for animals—not by “hook or crook” but by intelligence and love.

Help animals in your own way; remember – no action is too small.

Editorial Team,
Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations
118, Mahabhadrakali Apt, Plot no: 6, Sector 13, Dwarka, New Delhi – 110075.

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