Fortnightly Commentary No 33: 21st June, 2013

Dear Members and Friends,

I met someone wonderful a few days ago. He is curious about people’s faces—their widening eyes, lips pursed as they bend down to kiss him, the funny noises they make. “Max" at five months wants to explore leaves twinkling in the sunlight, automobile horns, seagulls arguing, his father hammering a nail in the fence: the world is calling. I used to be a person who claimed to not particularly “resonate" with kids, but animals have helped me see children in the same glorious light of innocence that animals, without fail, radiate. Almost all the books and soft toys and films made for children feature animals at their core. I think kids relate to animals because animals transcend the "good"-and-"bad" judgments we are so tempted to make about people.

I like to imagine what it would be like to hail from a planet that had no life forms other than human. To discover Earth—to see for the first time a rhino, a lamb, a dog, a salmon, a kingfisher—would be like peering into heaven itself. So it must seem to Max: endless wonders. It is a wonder that so many people grow to take these marvels for granted, stumbling through their days, calling their lives “boring." I notice that the people who appreciate animals rarely suffer from such complaints. For “animal people" the wonder of life is alive. The tragedies animals suffer sharpen our appreciation of just about everything.

I am 57 and I too have only begun to discover the marvels of animals. I know I will feel the same at 80. Their preciousness and complexity is literally infinite, and we each have a chance to enter the world fresh every day, like my new friend Max.
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Want to volunteer for a cause? Then FIAPO has an opportunity for you. If you love animals and want to make a difference but can't take time off, we have just the right chance for you. One hour a day only from the comforts of your home. Sounds good doesn't it? To apply write to us at mail@fiapo.org and be a cloud based database volunteer.
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Fruits of Collaboration…
Prashanth writes: The past two weeks have seen tremendous activity across all local federations. Kerala has had its first workshop on captive elephant welfare which was attended by representatives of six organizations and also individual activists from across the state. Photos and more info here 
http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12690 Meanwhile, Pune has initiated action towards regulation of pet shops in the city and an awareness rally was held last week on prevention of animal abuse http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12669  And finally, Jaipur continues to act against the unregulated pet trade http://www.fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12676 JFAPO is also gearing up for its first workshop on sensitization of police personnel about animal protection laws. Non members are invited to attend too, emails to prashanth@fiapo.org for more info.
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There are few second chances, but if you missed the KFAPO workshop on elephants, here’s another one -Mr. Surendra Varma will be talking on the Science of Elephants and their Welfare at Kerala Sahitya Akademi, Trichur on 23rd June 2013 at 3 to 7pm. The HBO documentary, an Apology to Elephants, will also be screened.
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Following the ban on dolphinaria in India, good news that GCDA has finally decided to abandon its plans. http://www.fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12666
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The Animal Protection Movement, demands justice for animals -irrespective of species. At times, the correctness of our vision can get diluted for the compromises in our movement. So when the MoEF calls dolphins 'non-human persons' we brush the dust off, and re-visit a right to life, without torture, with liberty. http://www.fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12671
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Since they were discovered, white tigers have been bred by zoos to attract tourists. White tigers differ from normal yellow tigers by one gene mutation, and found rarely in the wild and are now extensively inbred in captivity -often causing problems like early deaths, miscarriages and greater susceptibility to illness. With the Central Zoo Authority in denial, the zoos continue to breed these mutant tigers. http://www.fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12661
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Animal lovers across the nation zoomed in Mumbai like hell and high lightning to rescue the 58 year old elephant Bijlee who collapsed in Mulund while begging on the streets of Mumbai. FIAPO has appealed to the government of Maharashtra for cancellation of current ownership of Bijlee without any interruption.
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Living Free…
Bikramadittya writes: For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been out on the streets of wet Kolkata, talking to people about a life without animal exploitation, disease and environmental abuse. By handing out leaflets, putting them through letter boxes, giving talks – we’ve already reached to around a thousand people, despite the heavy rains. And outside Kolkata, response has been excellent too – activity in Pune, Delhi, Bangalore, Dehradun, Auroville, Ahemdabad and more! If you haven’t planned your activity yet, email me at bikramadittya@fiapo.org
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Working to end animal exploitation, I turned vegan, and over the years, I have been thankful for the health benefits. Dr. Nandita Shah, SHARAN has reached out to nearly 17000 people with the way of a vegan and healthier life. More here http://www.fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12670
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Chokhi Dhani literally means a fine hamlet, but not for the camels who are made to work mercilessly each day until midnight at Jaipur's Village resort. Camels here are being used for rides, are beaten up by their handlers and are constantly carrying people on their backs without a moment of respite, food and water. Their mouths are frothed as a result of exhaustion. On receiving a complaint by a supporter, we got in touch with Shri. T.W. Sudhakar, Director Jaipur Tourism, asking him to take immediate action.
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Horror stories of animal abuse in urban India have given activists sleepless nights! The recent case of a pug being flung from a high rise apartment in Mumbai not only raises ethical concerns, but also demands the law enforcement to not just be vigilant but be immediate when taking action against crimes towards animals. We are now following up with the police department, and will keep you posted.
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For all who are working to resolve the problems created for animals by plastic, here's what looks like an excellent resource if you are reaching out to children with your message and hopes of a plastic-free world. See http://www.fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12677
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The recent Rajo festival in Odisha, saw more animal sacrifice -at a famous Buddhist site. ASI has taken offence, and is looking further in this matter http://www.fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12681
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In focus: Let’s Live Together
Our newest member Let’s Live Together is an adoption center that primarily supports adoption of Indian puppies and works towards creating awareness. Their project ‘life on the street,’ promotes the concept of people adopting homeless puppies instead of buying dogs. They also run a public helpline service, where people can call if they need to adopt, or need help with their rescued puppy. More here http://www.fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12683
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Three times a week the Toronto Pig Save ad hoc group stands for two hours at a busy intersection to "bear witness" as truckloads of beautiful, trembling, agonized pigs pass through toward the slaughterhouse a few hundred meters ahead. They carry signs that say things like "honk if you care about pigs" and "Be Vegan," and they pass out flyers explaining that 7000 individuals are tortured and killed every day at just this one particular slaughterhouse. Some passers by honk and wave with smiles. Some stare with eyes fixed ahead, afraid of the contact with leafleters. Some shout out "I love bacon!" But others a little hesitantly welcome conversation as they wait for the light to change, and smile with genuine respect. "I was shy at first, but after peer through the holes and see their eyes–you lose your shyness. You feel you don't want to do anything but share," said Louise, who told me she had felt somewhat alone in her animal work before finding this group.

Today, I had the chance to join the Toronto Pig Save witnesses. I was proud to talk about the 50 member organisations who make up India's Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations. Although in many respects Canada and the USA are ahead of India in their animal activism and progress–vegan restaurants, for example, abound–the networking and communications between the various groups in India impressed the Toronto Pig Save founder, Anita Kranjc. She said "We have so much to learn from FIAPO," and I said "We have so much to learn from Toronto Pig Save," and, as family members do, we embraced.

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

Best wishes,

Erika Abrams

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