Animal Matters. No 30: 10th May, 2013

Dear Members and Friends,

So-called "witches" are rightly defended by feminists as victims of bigoted thugs who have historically used "witch" accusations to justify burnings and community scape-goating.

But my dad was a believer. When I was little he informed me he actually knew a real witch. He promised to elaborate when I turned 12. I nagged him for details, but he wouldn't budge. On 27th March, 1968, martini in hand, Dan Abrams revealed: "Witches are real. Men or women, or even kids, though child witches are rare–people who try to poison your mood. They cast spells on you through the power of their suggestion. For instance, if someone repeatedly says 'You look like you didn't get enough sleep last night. Are you ok?' it might be a witch casting a spell. 'You don't look well; have you been ill?' Learn to ask yourself how that person's 'concern' made you actually feel. If it didn't feel like concern, if it actually made you feel bad, and if this happens often, then it might be that person is trying to make you feel bad."

I asked my dad if he was scared of witches, and his answer was "Yes. I am, but if I know it's a witch then I can spot the spell–then it really can't hurt you, you don't let it in." I was a little disappointed at the time. I wanted a pointy hat, broomstick and an evil cackle as my witch rode in silhouette against the moon. But later in life when from time to time I too have met real witches, I found them scary enough in plain clothes.

Over the years, Dad's report helped me see something far more interesting than wicked witches. It helped me identify the angels, who make you feel good by the little things they say or do, how they leave you feeling a bit better about it all. Maybe this is why I notice so many of us referring to animals as "angels." They do qualify.

Fruits of Collaboration…
Prashanth writes: The model colony programme was launched in Jaipur with an awarenesss drive on the harmful effects of plastic, waste segregation and distribution of waterbowls in Malviya nagar. We reached out to more than 200 people with leaflets and the participation of the resident welfare assosciation was encouraging.  Pune has begun registrations for its first ever animal onsite first-aid workshop, to be conducted by our very own Abodh Aras. Demand has been high, and places are limited, so register soon if you want to attend. Emails to Finally in Kerala, after our dog-bite prevention programme last month, we are now gathering data on assessing the capacity of local organisations and problems faced by animals in Kochi, to make a representation to the local municipal corporation.

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

Good news from Chennai – pet shops may well be regulated now. A huge number of animals suffer at the hands of breeders and sellers, and with so many dogs in shelters needing a home, no breeding can ever be 'responsible'. It is critical that groups in various cities take this up with their municipal bodies – if you want to make a start, email

An Environment Control Chamber for poultry – institutionalised cruelty – is now being funded by a Veterinary College  Rs 50 crore also promised for more veterinary colleges to increase animal production
FIAPO has long held the view that veterinarians should be protectors and friends of animals – not drivers of their produce. Which is why we support the work of Worldwide Veterinary Service India, who are now also offering an opportunity for free training in animal handling as a part of their Mission Rabies project – perhaps the vets and handlers you work with, can also be better friends of animals by participating. Contact

Puja writes: Big week for our campaign with the MoEF Minister Jayanthi Natarajan stating that she will not allow dolphinaria in India This is a great step for the campaign and we are now focusing on encouraging the Minister to translate her words into action by legislating a central prohibition on the keeping of dolphins in captivity in India. We have had stalwarts of the field such as famous dolphin advocate Ric O Barry, OBE Virgina Mckenna, Sanctuary Asia Founder Bittu Sahgal, amongst others write in to the MoSEF in support of our campaign and we encourage everyone to send in their letters to the Minister, which you can do here by simply filling in your email address

Mini Vasudevan from Humane Animal Society (HAS), Coimbatore talks about how more pets get abandoned after summer holidays – often to suffer a slow, painful death.

Being a vegan, I consume only plant-based foods, and so a report on the recent Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India Bill, 2013 worries me greatly; the Govt may well give control to biotechnology companies over what you and I eat.

Living Free…
Bikramadittya writes: Towards the start line! Start spreading the message and let Living Free be the way to live. The last couple of weeks went by in getting the launchpad ready for the outreach. The outreach in Kolkata, my city, will begin on 16th May, but friends in other places need not wait. Just order your copies of Living Free booklets by mailing me at You can also ask me the 'HOW' and 'WHY'. Great news for those planning to start outreach but paused for funds – Living Free Quick Grants are available now

An excellent article exposing the dairy industry in the national edition of the Hindu magazine.

Here's an informative article from Down to Earth, on why the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EU is a cause of great worry to the farmers, including dairy.

In focus: Society for Animal Welfare (SAW)

Society for Animal Welfare (SAW) is an animal welfare organisation based in Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh. It was founded in 1996 by Sri. Ramesh Babu with the vision that Ahimsa is our tradition and to extend this to all creations is what makes us a worthy race. SAW is engaged in a wide range of activities including stray rescue and rehabilitation, providing free medical care and shelter facilities, ABC-AR etc. Some of SAW's pet initiatives are the 'Kindness Club' for children, organising pet adoptions and attending to cruelty issues.

Today it's 40 here in Udaipur. We have an air conditioner in one room but, like most of the gadgets I have ever purchased, it doesn't work like other people's. It makes noise, it cost alot, but doesn't seem to blow cold air. This is the story of my life, from microwave ovens to hair dryers, there's always something wrong with it, but not the easy "it's broken" status which clarifies one's next steps. I'm not so lucky. My faulty products are in the grey area where rattling the thing might be more cost effective than taking it for repair or hurling it out the window.
I had to prepare a printout on Animal Aid letterhead last night in a room without a/c– and I wrestled with the printer for an hour. It doesn't latch onto the paper unless you baby it with your hands. You can't just stick a stack of printer paper in there and expect anything but a fire. It wasn't made with a paper removal system. Once jammed, you have to pull the paper with just the right tension or it will tear and bits will be caught behind the red hot roller wheel & grabber. If you fish around for the little pieces of paper you left behind you'll get smartly punished with an electric hot wire that reminds you not to put a fork in the toaster. There is a decrepit ceiling fan in there. The room is 8×8 so with the printer and computer generating their heat, it would have been 41, 42 degrees. Sweat poured. When my hands touched the stationary it curled.
There is only one real remedy for such offenses : Animals. Nuzzling donkeys, cuddling cats, playful puppies, gentle cows, earnest dogs. They might bark, they might scratch, they might kick, but they're always perfect.

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

Best wishes,

Erika Abrams

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