Fortnightly Commentary No 42: 25th October, 2013 circ. 2250 people

Dear Members and Friends,

It occurs to me that the old guy—the pudgy red-rimmed bidi smoking bloated swollen-fingered old guy whose entire job is screwing in latches and locks on doors  — would be perfect  to install curtain rods above the new windows— after we’d moved in to our New House. My rush of adrenalin was so extreme that I got ahead of myself and wheedled the latch-man to make a program for 4 that afternoon to measure the windows! Yeah! I rearranged about 10 sequenced tasks to make it home by 4. But he was gone – leaving only a few bidi stubs in the rubble surrounding our new cottage to remind me of him. The next day he arrives with his signature amiable hangover. My inner monsoon gathers force from all the years of broken promises from workmen and their lies about how they're going to do things and and koi bat nahin chalega – the whole of my life of plumbers, electricians, dentists, engine repairers.

I gave him the scolding of his life: “Why did you say we’d measure the curtain rods at 4 when you had no intention of doing it? Did you think it was a joke?” (my tone snapping like a whip.) “You couldn’t just man-up and say no?” The poor fellow. He looks at me with –I kid you not, gathering tears—and says completely sweetly and earnestly, not a trace of a joke: “Can I wash the dishes for you?”

“No, no…” I trailed off quietly. I’m sure he thought it was shame I felt. There was a tinge of shame, yes, but too, I knew if I’d said yes I would have had to watch him not wash the dishes at all, or break them, or contrive to dry them by putting them on the burner, galvanizing the food to the bottom of the pan.
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Congratulations to Anjali Gopalan, who has been conferred with the chevalier de la légion d'honneur by the French government! Anjali has set up a fine shelter on the outskirts of Delhi called All Creatures Great and Small, which is a FIAPO member organization, and she also serves on FIAPO’s programmes committee and hosts our office in Delhi. Anjali is the founder and director of Naz foundation, a leading organization in India working on issues around HIV and gender and has received the honour in recognition of her work in this field. We are proud to be working with Anjali.
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Fruits of Collaboration…
Prashanth writes: Movement building has seen forging of relationships between animal protection organizations and other stakeholders in protection of animals. The Jaipur federation recently collaborated with the post graduate veterinary institute in the city in sensitizing veterinary professionals to concepts of animal welfare. Claire Abrams, from AnimalAid Unlimited, Udaipur spoke on “Living up to international animal welfare standards”. The institute also offered to work with the federation in making the study of welfare concepts mandatory in veterinary curricula.
The Pune federation held its first outreach workshop on the 18th for the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Federation members Neha Vaz and Aishwarya Vishwanathan lead the event which was a huge success. News and pictures on the event here- http://www.fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12910
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The backwaters of Alleppey are an experience in beauty and peace and it looks like soon they will bring much needed veterinarian services to the animals of Kuttanad. http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12907
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Holy Cow…
Shweta writes: This week’s commentary comes from Pune, where I’m currently visiting the Livestock Fair called ‘Pashudhan’. The fair has indeed been an eye opener to the extent of modernisation in farming in India. Stalls set up here boast of feed supplements, natural additives, healthy fodder management, and lots of literature. However, what was most interesting to note was the modern milking equipment on display – rotary and herringbone milking parlous, automated cow brushes, cooling equipment and the like.  This only goes to show that now is the time to put in place farm procedures that puts animal protection in the forefront.
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Another new study reporting that meat and eggs consumption is growing in India – 31% of agricultural output are now animal products http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12895 As consumption patterns are changing – for the worse for animals – we need to start changing our tactics for protecting animals too. We need to invest in outreach to check the changing consumption. Spread the message, and start Living Free. For more info, visit www.livingfreeindia.org
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Living Free…
Bikramadittya writes: This week and the last saw me leafleting in Park Street, and this is one street where most of the big and famous restaurants in Kolkata are located. Almost every restaurant runs full house during the afternoon and evening hours here. And I was thinking how people are changing their lifestyles, opting more for fast food and non-veg food. While work pressure forces them and advertisements bombard them, sadly there is no one to tell them the scary truth. Read it here http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12909
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Last month we reported on 'Cattle Soft' a software to be used in Kerala for farmers to trade in cattle. This seem to be a growing trend, as reports of goats being sold online for Eid. http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12898 A member organisation, also recently contacted us raising the issue of pets being sold on websites like OLX – we wrote letters and complained, but the ads havent been taken off yet. Have you come across other instances of animals being sold online? Share at mail@fiapo.org
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Canine Capers…
Sudhersena writes: The views of activists working for the welfare of dogs collected over two national participatory workshops, are now collated, and available for download here http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12906  For street dogs, where most of the work for companion animals focuses on currently, the key issue is public attitude – almost daily we come across news about dog bites, and there is a lot of resentment among the public on this issue. Unfortunately, everyone blames the dogs and not much is done to prevent it. To make matters worse – and this effects pet dogs equally – awareness on dog behaviour is lacking. And so education continues to be the need of the hour. For dog bites, here are some of my top dos and don’ts: never break up a dog fight, never go near a mother dog with young puppies, and do not startle sleeping dogs. Share yours too! 
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In focus: STRAW
Capacity and resource building, humane education, Animal birth control and 'animal advice'- these are only some of the strongholds of STRAW India whose motto is to bring comfort and joy to the significantly large number of distressed stray animals in the country. Read on to know more about their work. http://www.fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=12905
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Having come to live in India later in life (early 40s) I experience the approach of Diwali mainly by the appearance of Diwali paraphernalia in the shops, and although I have been part of Diwali pujas and have lit the deepaks most years, they have always blown out e’er they were lighted, and until recent years I hadn’t known why Diwali warms so many hearts.  I have asked friends what Diwali represents to them and learned that—like Ram, Seeta and Laxman coming home after 14 years of exile, so too distant family comes home at Diwali from wherever they are, and the flood of warm memories of sweets and gifts and friends from years past give Diwali its incredible glow.

The Gods of Be Nice all seem to come alive in Diwali.  For those among us who see the glow in animals, and for those among us who haven’t yet experienced that glow but for whom it is awaiting their life-changing discovery, Diwali Ki Shubh Kamnayain.

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

Best wishes,

Erika Abrams

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