Animal Matters No 22: 18th January, 2013

Dear Members and Friends,

When I was 24 (more than 30 years ago) I visited an aquarium in Vancouver, BC (Canada). A tremendous female orca (a whale popularly defamed as a "killer whale" in those days) swirled and stalled endlessly in her display case – a pool hardly large enough for her to turn around. The crowd milled and gawked and I was no different, chattering on about her size and the legendary intelligence of whales, pointing and enjoying when – whoosh. The water stirred and suddenly stilled. She looked at me, her enormous black eye fastened to mine, and she held my gaze for a moment not measurable in time, but for an eternity.  She spoke to me. People sometimes say animals have no voice, but of course they do. She spoke to me clearly and she articulated in the clearest soulful plea: "help me."

"Help me."

What could I do? I did not know. I puzzled and pondered and went on with my life. Did I answer her? Perhaps not-at least, not for 32 years.

Today, in 2013, I offer my answer.

The FIAPO campaign against dolphinariums in India is my prayer, my "yes" to that desperate captive orca.

Fruits of Collaboration: A fortnight ago, we were in Aluva, in the company of 50 inspiring individuals all working to strengthen animal protection in Kerala. We shared our experiences and frustrations, and ultimately, came up with plans for some urgent problems. Here's a summary of the meeting
Tomorrow, we will be in Pune, working with activists from the city to increase cooperation and collaboration. Initiated by the Blue Cross of Pune, nearly 80 people are expected to attend. More about that here
Last, but not the least, in Jaipur we've just finished off the annual bird treatment camps and rescue initiatives after the kite flying festival – this is the busiest time of the year for the city's animal protection groups. The local federation members coordinated admirably– with joint appeals and allocated areas of activity for ensuring quick response times. See All the hours of meetings, skypes, planning, events make such action happen from collaboration – the skies are safer for birds this year.

Living Free: Living Free continues it's mission to spread awareness on the advantages of plant-based diets to environment, animals and health. In January 2013, leaflets were handed out outside a mall in Agra, at a marathon in Hyderabad, at an adoption camp in Mysore and at a bird treatment camp in Jaipur! Living Free leaflets will next be seen on January 20th at the Great Indian Dog Show organized by the Blue Cross of Chennai. Arranging an outreach event in your city is as easy as contacting FIAPO – and it's fun! Email

A few days ago the Times of India announced Mysore's new solid waste facility at a Karnataka exhibition, stressing a zero-waste goal in each of nine districts ( A recent string of 6 FIAPO googlegroups posts commenting on the relationship of human garbage to animal problems suggests that cleaning up India is on many people's minds. The animal protection movement will only be strengthened as it clasps hands with those who see that improving waste management is imperative to global health of all species.

Puja writes: FIAPO's captive dolphin campaign took great strides forward last week as we presented comprehensive evidence against dolphinariums to the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). The ensuing national advisory issued by the AWBI to all state governments against granting permission to dolphinariums is a great step in saving dolphins from captivity in India. This historical event received extensive coverage in both domestic and international press. Read the media reports at

Plans to revamp the Zoo in Byculla, Mumbai with exotic animal species such as Humboldt Penguins from Chile, Zebra and Emus from Australia was brought to our notice by our ever active animal protection network.  Breeding and upkeep of exotic animals undermines the very purpose for which zoos have been granted recognition by the CZA in India. Taking immediate action we've asked CZA to reconsider its decision and are looking into this further.

Jodie Foster is a hugely popular American film idol, and she won a big award the other day – Golden Globe Awards. She apparently talked at some length about her personal life and is being appreciated by many as having courageously spoken about the joys and problems in her personal and professional life. But her strange statement (below) should be hurled back in her face by rights activists across all issues. She said: "Look, it's terrible, I know, but weakness really, really bugs me, to the point that if there is a wounded bird on the sidewalk, I look at it and I go: 'I think I'll just kick it.'"  On behalf of all the weak–the children, the frail elderly, the disabled, and for each and every animal, Jodie Foster's reputation as a person of moral integrity just bit the dust.

We Care Srinagar: We read about dogs showing intense emotion and connection with human kin – then what is it that stops us from feeling or showing the same bonding? Why do we shun our community dogs? What stops us from showing random acts of kindness towards these animals and ensuring that they, like us, have a decent healthy and safe place in society? These questions need answering if we are to remain true to our image as a non-violent, peace loving and kindness-filled nation, says Shreyasi Majumdar, this week's We Care Srinagar author. Read the full article as published in the Kashmir Images here

If you are interested in improving the condition of dogs in India and would like to meet other like minded people, learn more about the issues involved and solutions, the National Dog Welfare Conference is the place to be. The conference is organised by Dogs Trust scheduled for 27 and 28 February 2013 in Chennai. More here

In focus: Bombay SPCA
Our newest member it may be, but its one of the oldest organisations in India working tirelessly for protecting animals. They treat about 10000 animals annually, and they run a cardiac centre, an Intensive Care Unit, a blood bank, an Animal Birth Control Centre, an electric crematorium, and a shelter, with about 400 in-patients at any given time. BSPCA has also helped animals in other parts of the country, by effective intervention in disaster hit areas. More about them here

The animal protectors meeting in Kerala (4 January) led participants toward specific actions and split the gathering of 50 into two working species-specific groups. A new intensity of Kerala's activism is igniting right now. Let's celebrate and also remember that courageous people have been fighting for years in Kerala's courts, police stations, border crossings and wildlife bureaus trying for years to protect dogs, cows, elephants, bears, snakes and others from the mournful situation of animals everywhere: guns, poisons, knives, ropes and displacements.

Thank you to all who have long been trying to make possible this next step forward.

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

Best wishes,

Erika Abrams

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