Fortnightly Commentary No 37: 16th August, 2013

Dear Members and Friends,

I rescued an injured kitten from a road far from our organisation's "service area" a year ago, and "Charlie" has been charming us and peeing on our walls ever since. I know intimately what it means to react to emergencies spontaneously – with a balance—otherwise we are swept into spontaneous actions which may never connect to a "whole," or which never get threaded into the consciousness of others. So too with emergency work. Not only must it be done, but our human hand in causing emergencies must be exposed, and turned around.

I received an appeal letter today from a group in a flood-stricken region asking for funds to feed stranded farmed animals. How will feeding the dry cow, the lame donkey, the he-goat today help animals whose owners will send them for slaughter tomorrow?  Farm Sanctuary (in the USA) had an answer. They used the emergency response to a crushed poultry farm during Hurricane Katrina to expose the conditions of hens locked in cramped, horrific battery cages. Their expose footage showed a watching world  that these chickens need rescuing not only from Hurricane Katrina but from their day-to-day conditions during "normal" operations! And when HSUS s sent its rescue team to Sri Lanka following the Tsunami, they successfully bargained with the mayor to launch a street dog spay neuter program.

Are we linking our work to the big picture of animal exploitation with every rescue we undertake? Lets turn emergencies into opportunities.

Fruits of Collaboration…
Prashanth writes: Last week, the Jaipur federation hosted a workshop on rescue and first aid of street animals, led by Abodh Aras of WSD Mumbai and Dr. Rakesh Misra of Jaipur. The workshop also included a short concluding session on snake and bird rescue by Rohit Gangwal, one of the federation members.
Pune too has been abuzz with activity, with the first collateral on dairy farming being produced for the animal awareness programme. PFAPO members have started approaching corporate companies for conducting these workshops. Pune is also geared up to host its second workshop titled ‘legal provisions for protection of animals and their human carers' this Sunday. Find details here-

With Nag Panchami just gone, reports of rescued snakes are coming in – see In the recent workshop on rescue held in Jaipur, Rohit Gangwal, from RAKSHA, shared some of the brutal practices of snake charmers – and why its a bad idea to just confiscate the snake from a snake charmer without filing an FIR – he'll only catch another one, that you will be dooming to captivity too.

Living Free…
Bikramadittya writes: Catching up on Living Free, Pune witnessed a wonderful awareness drive by Aneeha Patwardhan and team. New Delhi was the venue of another unique event over Independence Day (more on this in Holy Cow below). Back in Kolkata, awareness programs targeted at clubs, groups and corporate entities are showing wonderful responses. The independence day talk yesterday at Brishtirail (Theater Club) was very enthusiastic and today I'm going to Atos India for a discussion session with a lot of anticipation. To organise an activity in your area, contact me at

This week marks the international Shark Week, and sees renewed appeals to the Ministry of Environment and Forests to ban shark finning. Shark finning is a cruel practice, which involves cutting off the fins and the shark is tossed back in the ocean to drown. If you haven't already, sign on the letter to ban shark finning. Email

Holy Cow…
Shweta writes: This week saw a successful outreach activity on farmed animals at Select City Walk mall at Saket in New Delhi. From 12th to 15th August, the LUSH store at Select CityWalk mall, with their animal free beauty products, offered free hand and face massage to people while also making them aware about the cruel face of the dairy industry. Radio One – Delhi and Time Out magazine were the cause support partners for this event. We spoke to lots of people, providing them information on cruelty that is inherent in slaughter and the dairy industry, urging people to turn to a less consumptive lifestyle. Photos here

Promises from politicians for a better world for animals begin. Empty? We can only hope not. See more Meanwhile, in the real world, animals continue to suffer

In response to a question raised in the Rajaya Sabha, here's info on (some of) the workings of the various national bodies for the protection of wild animals in India, useful for policy talk.

The monsoon is a mixed blessing for animals – usually a respite from the heat, but in Nagpur, heavy rains have caused flooding of cages and the death of two deer so far. Working with our member organisation in Nagpur, Indian society for human animal welfare (ISAW), we are now in touch with the Forest Department to take corrective action immediately.

In focus:  Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (WRRC)
From rescuing wildlife in urban areas to humane education workshops and research, this organisation does it all and is also the leader of the pack. WRRC's rescue centre in Bangalore is nothing short of a sanctuary for distressed wildlife. Read on here to know more

Animal sacrifice is absolutely appalling. Not on grounds that it is primitive and Barbarian. It is not just a throw-back to ancient tradition. What lies inside the will to crush and "sacrifice" is very contemporary. It is kept alive and well by the vast community of people who believe it is humanity's right to dominate and own and enslave other living beings.

The Gadhimai Jatra "festival" in Nepal, in which 500,000 animals may be killed as sacrifices during a two-day murder frenzy in 2014, is a particularly ugly manifestation of an ordinary and commonplace idea that the strong may dominate the weak; that the strong may exercise their preferences and prejudices and paranoias no matter what the cost to the weak. It has a name: paternalism. Big daddy at the head of everything. The best use of government is in controlling the depravity of people lost in crowd behaviors that turn normal humans into blood-thirsty nutters who pillage, riot, rape and destroy others. Where is that government when we need it?

My friend has a t-shirt that says "I'm smiling because I have no idea what's going on." I want to see a t-shirt that says, simply, "Down With Big Daddy." Doesn't that just sort of say it all?

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

Best wishes,

Erika Abrams

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