Animal Matters No 21: 4th January, 2013

Dear Members and Friends,

2012 saw FIAPO leap forward with the establishment of Jaipur’s local federation of animal groups, a smash hit conference in Goa, FIAPO’s receiving the LUSH Lobbying Prize for research and lobbying on animal testing in India, our media campaign in Srinagar to deter dog killing, the launch of work to stop dolphinariums in India. Meetings, conferences, skypes—this year FIAPO facilitated and connected thousands of communications between animal activists with 25 inter-organisational meetings in Jaipur alone. 1500 people got connected through the FIAPO newsletter, 6000 leaflets distributed about the vital importance of veganism and vegetarianism, and FIAPO got about 100 sign-ups to boost animal activism in Kerala. This is what networking looks like, and it is one of the fundamentals of federating.

And 2013 looks even better for animals, now that MoEF Minister Smt Jayanthi Natarajan has become a convert to animal compassion and has stated her determination to get the AWBI-approved Draft Animal Welfare Act passed in Parliament as soon as possible. http://fiapo.org/view_art.php?viewid=12315 More appropriate penalties, new specificity of what constitutes cruelty to animals—the new Act will be one of the essential tools in our work for justice for the infinitely innocent animals we serve.

Congratulations to the thousands of Indian animal protectors who gave time during 2012 to meet, discuss, converge and rise! And a great thank you to Smt Jayanthi Natarajan who may be one of our next animal protection leaders. Let’s write to her (mosefgoi@nic.in) and let her know we hope so.
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JOBS at FIAPO. Last chance to apply. More details here http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12220 and here http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12219
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Fruits of Collaboration: The first meeting to explore collaboration of animal protectionists of Kerala is going take place in the next few hours, today in Kochi. Nearly 100 participants from all over the state will be joined by Surendra Varma, from Indian Institute of Science and Nigel Otter from IPAN to lead us through various issues facing animals in Kerala – and solutions. Agenda and list of some participants here http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12314
We have also been invited to Pune by organisations to help animal protectionists explore collaboration within the city. Set during the animal welfare fortnight, it takes place on the 19th January. For more details, email varda@fiapo.org
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Living Free: Our Living Free campaign is picking up momentum! In the past couple of months, Dan Phillips travelled extensively, teamed up with animal protectionists across India to promote reduced animal consumption through informative leaflets and talks in cities such as Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mysore, Ooty, Auroville, Kollam http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12129 The response has been overwhelming – people are only too keen to know how they can get active. More outreach events are in the process of being planned – in Bangalore, Mysore, Chennai and Jaipur in the new year! Contact varda@fiapo.org to organize an outreach event in your city.
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Taking a minister to task: News reports about Fouzia Khan, the Maharashtra Minister of State for School Education posed with a weapon next to wild animal carcasses in South Africa have outraged animal protectionists across the country. Responding immediately, FIAPO wrote a strongly worded letter condemning the Minister's thoughtless action which not only sends out a wrong message to the youth of the country but also undermines efforts of the country's animal protection groups who are working ceaselessly, to try and influence people to show more compassion towards all living creatures, http://www.fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12300
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Baywatch…
Puja writes: As part of putting together a strong case against captivity of Cetaceans, we have been comparing profiling natural wild dolphin behaviour to highlight anomalies caused due to captivity. For example, researchers in Australia have found that Dolphins use and teach other members of their pod on how to use tools, such as conch shells to hunt fish. This proves their ability to innovate and share hunting techniques that go beyond mere instinct. In captivity, there are no opportunities, causing a gradual breakdown in their ability to adapt, learn or play. Check in regularly for latest campaign updates and join us to save dolphins from a life in captivity at http://www.fiapo.org/dolphin.php.
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University of Mumbai promotes animal exploitation: Recently we were alerted to an illegal pet show "Fins, Feathers and Paws', organised at the University of Mumbai. The organisers had failed to take the mandatory permissions while also promoting breeding, exhibition and sale of exotic animals like macaws, ornamental fish as well as pythons and dogs. Being exhibited like specimens is a cause of great stress for the animals. The AWBI has issued a notice to the organisers and Bombay SPCA too is working on getting the organisers to conform. The fact that a University department is complicit in an illegal event that is also abusive and cruel to animals is shocking. Please watch www.fiapo.org for more details as well as action you can take.
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The opening of India’s retail sector to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) opens wider the gate for international animal exploiting industries to bring their abusive practices in our country. While the poultry and dairy industries have been cock-a-hoop, it is also an opportunity for Indian animal protection groups to influence MNC retail chains following high animal welfare standards in developed countries to bring these to Indian operations.
Along with Humane Society International (HSI), FIAPO has been fighting the rise of factory farming in our country. Write to us (mail@fiapo.org) if you are interested in joining the campaign to protect animals from further abuse in factory farms.
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We Care Srinagar: The AWBI and FIAPO with support from Dogs Trust, UK have been trying to bring about sustainable solutions to repeated cycles of dog culls in Srinagar. Such solutions come from complete understanding of the issue at hand and what is imperative here is the fact that no one 'party' plays the blame game, but recognizes that multiple aspects have 'contributed' to this escalation. Hence, it is only joint, truly collaborative effort that can bring results. We Care Srinagar author, Dr. Feroz Ali Dar explains the levels involved, in this Kashmir Images article http://www.fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12065 
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In focus: All Creatures Great and Small

In this edition we profile “All  Creatures Great and Small” , a relatively new Delhi based group that has been set up by stalwarts in other fields of social change such as HIV, media and law. With this we can expect to see a crossover of strategies and learning, particularly in advocacy, from successes elsewhere in India. This bodes well for animal welfare in India. Read more here http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12316
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In closing, I would like to touch upon an important ethical issue in animal protection – the ethics of the protectors themselves. Last week one group took public credit for work actually performed by a different group. The phrase “stealing credit” is talking, indeed, about theft and it slows the growth of the movement. It demoralizes the real do-ers. And it insults the animals themselves, whose stories need absolutely accurate telling.

It’s great to toot one’s own horn—it’s an essential part of “marketing” news of animals’ needs and the people who care.  But giving other heroes of the hour the glory of recognition they deserve is more gratifying. Being the messenger of the good in others doubles the joy.

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

Best wishes,

Erika Abrams

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