Fortnightly Commentary No 39: 13th September, 2013 circ. 2000 people

Dear Members and Friends,

At our hospital an elderly cow with mastitis came into oestrus – the time she is susceptible to pregnancy if mated. Our staff got ready to take her out of the field where a couple of bulls were thinking about mating her – and neatly deposited her into an adjoining paddock, with a couple of different bulls! At home the other day, Jim, my husband, asked Indra if she could make him a peanut butter sandwich. He had also told her recently how much he loves mustard. I’m sure you see where this is headed. Yes, Indra, bless her, gave him a peanut butter and mustard sandwich.

Thinking has just got to become a habit – or we’ll land into so much trouble. It’s evidently not something we’re simply born doing; we’ve got to learn HOW to do it and then practice it all the time. I’ve learned how to use my noggin on the Big Science questions.  If someone asks something like “what are the northern lights (mommy)?” I am likely to, well, to know.  “I’m almost positive it has something to do with…radio waves…light waves… coming off of… cicada bugs. Something like that. We can look it up later to double check.”

Of course, I myself have not practiced it enough. I can’t remember not to close other people’s tabs on a computer. I can’t work a gear shift or trust a pressure cooker. Don’t know how she works!

When efforts were made recently to care for a bull whose legs had been run over, we applauded the activists who tirelessly worked to get much-needed care for the suffering animal. But the fate of such animals is well-know – slow death – and Erika Abrams shares an alternative view on what to do in such cases. Thought proving, see

Fruits of Collaboration…
Prashanth writes: The biggest event in movement building this week was the launch of FIAPO’s Mentorship programme. Neelam Kaur from Charitable Society for Welfare of Humankind and Animals visited Animal Aid Unlimited in Jaipur and got a chance to interact with the founder, Erika Abrams and spend three days there watching, and learning about fundraising and shelter management. Some photos and a report here
The Pune Municipal Corporation is likely to be sending its dog catching staff for training under the Mission Rabies programme in Bikaner. Two of Blue Cross Society Pune’s staff is already on board. Apart from this, Pune is also finalizing organisations which will be part of the new rescue call management system, the first of its kind to be piloted in the country!

Rajasthan prepares for Mission Rabies, as 5000 dogs are set to be vaccinated against rabies in Bikaner soon. Led by the local coordinator in Rajasthan – Ajmer's Tree of Life for Animals, this effort has received a great amount of help and support already from the Rajasthan University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (RAJUVAS) and they are working towards sensitizing the Bikaner medical and residential communities about the programme. More here,

Good news for Nashik – the collector has setup a provisional committee for the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). See

Living Free…
Bikramadittya writes: ‘Catching them young’ always pays and that was the exact reason why conducting outreach among young adults is so important. Last weekend a two-day workshop was held in Kolkata in collaboration with Nature Mates Nature Club and we had more than 20 participants from colleges and universities. The days were full of interaction and the participants felt enriched and empowered in various issues, whereas my takeaway is a bunch of young, energetic and enthusiastic people aware of the realities and ready to fight for a better world. A few photographs from the workshop are here:

Cows from all over cross into Kerala in illegal and inhumane transport conditions to be slaughtered. In January this year, when the first meeting for the Kerala FAPO was held – attended by 50 activists from all over the state – transport and slaughter were one of biggest concerns. Now, the AG department is planning to set up slaughterhouse-cum-quarantine stations at border checkposts in the state to keep a tab on the flow of unhygienic and stale meat into the market. We will be watching this closely.

Holy Cow…
Shweta writes: The past two weeks have been dedicated to working on the dairy code, the basic structure of which is almost written. I'vethought a lot about the farming conditions in India. One of the things that this code will do is to prevent the factory style farming from coming to India where animals are kept in high stocking densities. We've recently created a video which explains the threat to our cows and the urgent need for such work in quick 6 minutes. See

In focus: Charitable Society for Welfare of Humankind and Animals
From rescue and rehab of street animals to sensitising people and lobbying for an effective ABC programme in the city, Bhopal's lone crusader is leading the way. Charitable Society for Welfare of Humankind and Animals works in coordination with the Bhopal Municipal Corporation to treat injured and sick animals that are rescued from the streets.  Read more here-

I am reading the well-known biography of Gandhi by Louis Fischer, written in 1950.  I read it the first time 30 years ago; its meaning for me today is increased by such a vast increment that it seems to be a different book. I am certainly a different reader of it.

      Sathyagraha and non-cooperation may never be in greater need of renewal than today as our animals face catastrophe on a scale hardly imaginable in Gandhi’s time.  Our impulse is to rage. Yet Gandhiji said: “a Satayagrahi…is…never afraid of trusting the opponent. Even if the opponent plays him false 20 times, the Satyagraphi is ready to trust him for the 21st time – for an implicit trust in human nature is the very essence of his creed.” I am meditating on this concept. Its implications put to shame my distrust of humans; my self congratulation that I “know what the enemy is ‘up to.’” No doubt it IS important to know what your enemy is up to.  But don’t hold him to it. Maybe he will change tomorrow. Never block his chance to change.
      One of the most inspirational of Gandhi’s political habits was to write strong, clear letters to people in the very highest posts, and to intermingle all the while with the most ordinary souls. In his letters to the foreign governors to whom he appealed for justice in South Africa and in later in India, he always seemed to take a special care to add words like “I do not intend this letter to be against you personally, for I know in your heart you would not want to see people suffer, and yet I must oppose your government’s policy of xyz…”, always softening his opponent’s chance of feeling much anger, and enlarging his capacity to understand.

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

Best wishes,

Erika Abrams

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