Animal Matters, No 5: 25th May, 2012

This week, we are very pleased to publish India’s first comprehensive paper on animal testing with an animal welfare perspective. Safety tests on animals are required by government agencies in most countries to be performed for a product before they are further tested on humans and marketed. While the world is moving on to more accurate, rapid and advanced scientific screening systems, this paper analyzes India's position with respect to animal safety testing. More about this, and the paper, below.

We are also working with the FAD5 committee of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) that we recently became members of. The first initiative we have taken up with the committee is to introduce standards for housing of egg laying hens. India has about 180 million egg-laying hens which are kept confined in barren wire battery cages, with no opportunity to experience most natural behaviours, such as nesting, dust bathing, perching and foraging, these birds endure lives wrought with suffering. A typical battery cage consists of upto 3 tiers, with living space less than an A4 sheet of paper – they are so restricted that the hens cannot even spread their wings. We are now pushing for the adoption of liberal housing conditions that will allow the birds to atleast express natural behaviour.

Here is hoping for a better future for India’s animals in laboratories and farms!
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One of the highlights of extremely fun India for Animals Conference in Goa in November will be the presentation (and for some movement heroes, the receipt) of FIAPO awards for individuals and organisations that have made exemplary contributions to the animal protection movement in India during 2011-2012. Throw your hat into the ring! Nominations can be submitted now, and will close 31 July, 2012. For more info, see http://www.fiapo.org/ifa12.php
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Collaboration: Jaipur Federation of Animal Protection Organisations (JFAPO) had its third meeting last week, and the number of members is rocketing up – along with existing members, we welcomed Angel Eyes, Leaf India and Tourism and Wildlife Society of India. JFAPO is now pursuing three different projects – pet shop regulation, plight of animals in Jaisalmer and now, the waterbowl project! Exciting plans for these are being drawn up and we will be back to you with more details next time. Meanwhile, here’s a report on film showings conducted by JFAPO in the last month – which resulted in 780 students signing pledges to volunteer with local organisations! Plans to collaboratively organize 2 such events every month, in addition to the other fantastic work being done – as a group, and by its members. See http://www.fiapo.org/downloads/0305052012.pdf 
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One of our members in Mumbai – In Defence of Animals – reported problems being caused to their ABC unit, due to a stone-crusher – which was releasing all sorts of hazardous substances. Acting on behalf of our member, we sent in an RTI inquiry to the Mining Department at the Thane District Collector’s Office. The PIO did not respond within the stipulated time, so an appeal with the District Collector, who is the Appellate Authority for the department, has now been made asking for punitive action against the PIO. We are awaiting the reply. Are you a member of FIAPO, yet? Details of our other members and info on how to register is available here http://www.fiapo.org/members.php
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Blissful Bites…

We are big fans of this short clip doing the rounds – ‘Do You Want to Make History’ – which highlights beautifully the inherent injustice in consuming animals and their products. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6ehL18rqlM

Talking about reducing consumption, we had a great response to our second event at the Graze restaurant in Bangalore. Excellent reviews, and there are plans for more work of promoting veganism with the Graze. We’ll keep you informed.

Meanwhile, you can enjoy the deliciousness of vegan food – free from not just unhealthy animal protein, but also free from pain and suffering of our fellow animals. Check out these yummy recipes from Sharan – the hummus, is an office regular! http://sharan-india.org/vegan-recipes/
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We have also been keeping an eye on the various dolphinariaum proposals that keep coming up all over India. In Mumbai, as a result of our RTI, we had a chance to inspect documents relating to the Sindhudurg project. While we could lay hands on some valuable information, we were denied any access to the feasibility report which is under preparation by a private institute due to a secrecy agreement between MTDC and the institute. An appeal has been filed to make related documents and correspondences available to us with regards to the feasibility report. We will keep you posted.
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Ending Experimentation…
 
Alokparna writes: As a part of our continuing efforts to ending experimentation, we have produced ‘Toxicity Testing in India: An animal welfare perspective’, a new paper which is now ready and available for download.
 
This white paper details the major products that are tested for toxicity as part of government regulations. It also encompasses the various government agencies mandating the testing of the products with the guidelines giving the tests. In addition to this, we also talk of the current trends in India and around the world with respect to toxicity or safety testing. The paper culminates with the possible strategy for the way forward.
 
We would like to thank all the scientists across the country, and Humane Society International who supported us by helping develop the vision of ending toxicity testing on animals. More here http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=11874
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When we saw an advertisement in DNA, Mumbai edition (19th Feb, 2012) by Euro Fashions – naked men holding cockerels against their pelvic region asking 'What size are you' – we were appalled. We found the advert particularly offensive – depicting an extremely intelligent species of animals as a corollary of direct sexuality. We wrote to the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) – and we are pleased to report that our complaint has been upheld, and the advertisement has been deemed indecent, vulgar and repulsive. The advertisement will now be withdrawn! Victory!  See http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=11882
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Holy Cow…
 
Khushboo Writes: Amongst the five different kinds of dairies we have identified in India – all with their own inherent problems – mega-dairies are where cows are seen as little more than milking machines.

A mega dairy is a cruel concept where cows are exploited to produce milk much greater than their natural capacity. Their udders – full of milk – become unnaturally large, making it difficult for the cows to perform basic functions like lying down, walking or standing comfortably. The dairy entrepreneurs (which now also include even electronics and software companies) aim to get one calf every year in order to ensure consistent milk output from cows. The female calves replace their mothers on the farm whereas male calves are of no use to a dairy -they are either sent to a gaushala or, illegally, for slaughter, or just left to starve and die slowly and painfully.
 
We are opposing the mega dairy coming up in Andhra Pradesh – to send a strong message to those who want to set up milk factories on the pretext of dairying. Are you in AP or do you know someone who can help? Please drop a line at khushboo@fiapo.org  To help us continue to reduce the suffering of dairy animals, please consider donating to FIAPO by clicking here http://www.fiapo.org/donate.php
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Dog killings in Chennai: We learnt from Sathya Radhakrishnan, Blue Cross of India’s valiant effort to bring justice to the death of more than two dozen dogs in a small place called Kattupakkam, at the outskirts of Chennai. The Panchayat ordered the killing of hundreds of dogs – for no apparent reason. This, was unacceptable. FIAPO shot off a letter to the Director General of Police in Tamil Nadu in support of Blue Cross of India and asked for strict action against the culprits.
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In focus: Blue Cross of Hyderabad
 
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to visit one of FIAPO’s founding organisations – the Blue Cross of Hyderabad. It is an engaging place that provides a high level of care to its inmates. My appetite had been whetted by my conversation with Amala (the BCH founder) the previous evening when she invited me to see their new adoption facility. Located on the top floor of the main BCH building, this beautiful and inviting facility has cubicles created with neat knee height glass partitions. Each cubicle has a few pups and a lot of enrichment including toys and bedding material. This enables the potential adopters to view the pups in their full glory and also gives the pups privacy if they tire of being petted and cuddled. The initiative inaugurated on 25 April 2012 is co sponsored by Pedigree. So far nearly 50 pups have found loving homes as a result of this. I had a chance to witness the BCH education officer Pravallika, put potential adopters through pre adoption counselling  to ensure that the pup goes to a house that gives it a good quality of life. Thank you Pravallika, Amala and all Blue Cross Hyderabad team members for your outstanding and creative work. See photos here http://tinyurl.com/cdlxmtl
 
We will be back with more news for you in another fortnight. In the meanwhile, please continue to help animals in your own way; remember – no action is too small.
 
Thank you for the tremendous work that you do for animals,
 
Arpan Sharma
 
Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations
118, Mahabhadrakali Apt, Plot no: 6, Sector 13, Dwarka, New Delhi – 110075.
www.fiapo.org