Animal Matters. No 29: 26th April, 2013

Dear Members and Friends,

All my life I have either coveted or gloated over the possession of horses—admiring each as a marvel. To ride well is to experience nature through the medium of the horse herself: what wind passes through her nostrils you can feel ripple through her neck, her haunches, her fetlocks. The demon she thinks she sees there in the bushes might well be real for all the tremors it sets in motion. What she feels as the moving stream first touches the soft part of her foot the rider, too, can feel.
To know a horse’s capacity for enthusiasm and fear enlarges us. So whenever my Rajasthani friends ask me to a wedding, I shudder.  I will be unable to take my mind off the little horse laden with a polyester bell-and-bead-studded cape, jerked to stillness by her minder while today’s gangly king hunches in the saddle, deafened by the raging fire-crackers and dancing clusters of jolly fellows, their elbows occasionally knocking her in her muzzle.
 
But none of this is as bad as her days off, when she’s tied—maybe 320 days of the year—at two points, front foot and hind. She grows fat and her mind deteriorates into the madness of boredom.
Thanks in large part to the insights and activism of my FIAPO friends, I have come to understand that if an animal is chained or bound, it means she doesn’t want to be there. She wants to be somewhere else. She needs to be somewhere else, not under anyone’s thumb. So that’s a simple rule making it easy never to ride again, not to want the paneer in the masala, not to cheer at the horse race or enjoy the amazing tricks of a dolphin in a tank. 
 
And yet a kind of irony persists: I can’t be sure I would know the emotions of a big animal nearly so well as I learned them by negotiating all the hours on the backs of horses. I want to thank them for this gracious indulgence; I want to apologize for their fear of the steel bit in their mouths, however gentle I tried to keep my hands. All the dressage and decoration in the world can’t right that wrong, and I’m sorry for it.
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Changes in FIAPO's board and organisational structure – as the baton gets passed, a sincere thanks to our outgoing board members, and friends – who led FIAPO through a critical period. http://www.fiapo.org/staff.php 
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Fruits of Collaboration…
Prashanth writes: Right now, ‘fruits of collaboration’ seems to have taken quite a literal sense! Munching on the healthy papayas and melons at the office, I got to catch up with my colleagues and developed a better understanding of our collective responsibility towards animal protection. 
Elsewhere in the country, neighbourhood groups in Pune have started putting up waterbowls for their street animals, and JFAPO will be following suit next week along with a drive to prevent cows from eating plastic in garbage dumps. Individuals in Jaipur also had a successful meeting with the municipal corporation and convinced the authorities not to displace dogs from their neighbourhoods.  
Earlier, organisations and individuals in Kerala came together to raise awareness on prevention of dog bite and rabies in Kochi. The event also had participants from Thiruvananthapuram (PFA and Raksha), Thrissur (IVA) and individual volunteers from Kochi. Read more about it here- http://www.fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12493
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Animals can’t speak for themselves. We are looking for someone who can speak for them: an outgoing, strong communicator who can be an effective advocate for animals. Apply now http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12467
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WVS ITC together with International Cat Care will arrange feral cat population management & cat spay/neuter courses in May and June. http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12504
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In February, the Drug Controller General (India) directed the keep in abeyance, the remaining 2 animal tests in a set of standards and asked BIS to make amendments which reflected this. We now need your help – to send the draft comments to BIS to ensure this takes place. Get in touch varda@fiapo.org
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We are great believers in education and pleased that CBSE has taken an excellent step, encouraging schools in Kerala to integrate PETA's humane education course of Compassionate Citizen in school programmes from the next academic year as a one day workshop or extracurricular activity. http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12512
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Baywatch…
Puja writes: Last week, our campaign was wonderfully supported and promoted by fellow animal protectionists and organisations from across the country (Jaipur, Delhi, Lucknow, Mysore, Coimbatore, Chennai, Mumbai) and globally (US, Canada, Italy, Scotland, England) through gathering pledges and leafleting during activities conducted simultaneously across the world on the Day of Action. Many have also written to Jayanthi Natarajan, Minister, MoEF to urgently enact a stringent prohibition on the keeping of cetaceans in captivity and signed pledges never to visit facilities holding captive dolphins. http://www.fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12523 Also, the CZA has taken the position that it is not in favour of dolphinria – this is significant. And finally, a new website! See www.bancaptivedolphins.org 
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Its not just the UK where drones are being used to monitor illegal hunting, but Kaziranga National Park's rhinos will also have unmanned aerial vehicles protecting them. http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12483
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Living Free…
Bikramadittya writes: These two weeks went in delving more into hidden facts of the meat and dairy industry. And it is not only the need of food that is driving the cruel practices here – for instance take the case of leather – latest, is that the leather industry now would spend money to promote cattle farming in a bid for backward integration. http://www.fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12524 
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The Haryana government has decided to ban the transport of animals to slaughter house in goods transport vehicles. Hundreds of animals are transported from Harayana to slaughter houses in UP and Punjab every day. More here http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12484
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In focus: PFA Morena
Here’s one of the organisations we profiled nearly a year ago. PFA Morena was set up in March, 2000 and the organization now has more than 2000 members. They run an animal ambulance with a mobile clinic to provide treatment on the spot. They have treated over 300 animals, including a bear! http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=11940 
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I spent the last four months pissed off at the building contractor who we signed on to outfit an all-new shelter with a hundred kennels, loads of tin roofing and poles and jalis and crafty places for pigs and birds and various other fauna. Everyone who knows me even slightly will have seen my face all knarled up, boring them with yet another tale of woe about drains flowing uphill and rooves that leak. My favourite complaint was the contractor’s inabilty to find labourers. Every day a dishevelled crew of children would fail to show up, and every day it failed to occur to the contractor that he might get some action if he paid a minimum wage to adults. Every time I saw The Contractor I had to perform miracles of zen to keep from hitting him.
 
But somehow, though I’ve aged 10 years since December, as of this week the animals have been shifted, the water seems to be flowing from the pipes and yesterday when I saw The Contractor in the village, my heart warmed as it does with a familiar friend and I greeted him with—genuine—affection. Arresting how that is, when you forgive for no good reason.
 
Help animals in your own way; remember – no action is too small. 
 
Best wishes,
 
Erika Abrams 
 
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