Fortnightly Commentary No 46: 20th December, 2013 circ. 2000 people

Dear Members and Friends,
As an American living in India I am sometimes asked to explain English idiomatic expressions. Recently I was asked to explain “There’s no free lunch.” 
When Claire’s old tabla teacher Ramesh ji died, out of pity for his adult sons we agreed to accompany them to a remote “Bheru ji” temple. Maybe we could even enjoy the quiet of an evening listening to baying jackals. Kind of a vacation without the hotel expenses. Wrong. A gigantic bhajan program had drawn forth the rustics from Marwar to Mewar who pushed us over a mountain of chappals and crushed us during darshan. Sleep, on my agenda since agreeing to the outing several days before, I learned from our host would “not be necessary” on account of the marvellous fun that was to be had all night long. Should I drowse, “no problem” to use “anyone’s” shawl as a blanket or press my cheek upon a chadar anointed by thousands of feet. 
Our hosts noticed my dismay and arranged a Plan B for “Madam.” Jim would stay, but Claire and I could sleep in a “nice” home 500 meters from the temple. Great!  Soon, a stranger led us through the dark and into a candle-lit room, then stepped outside, slammed shut the door and spoke through the crack: “You Not Open Door For Any One.  Who Knocks You No Open. I, Even I Come Back But You No Open. I Am Lock And No One He Come In. Understand? No Is Safe. Only You Here And No One To Lock For Open Door Will Keep Lock.”
Silence. Never had I seen a room so exploded with human sloth. Grit coated everything. A bed’s rusted metal frame dug into the bistar where a pillow collapsed under black oil and hair dye of our absent landlord.
There’s no free lunch.
Ask the Expert: 
Over the last couple of weeks we have collected some good practice tips on common problems. If you want to read about the best ways to calm a frightened dog see, or a horse or if motivating employees is one of your top concerns see Share your good practice tips too, email 
Fruits of Collaboration…
Prashanth writes: This week, the Jaipur Federation established a rescue call management system in time for Jaipur’s bird treatment camps early next year. The Kerala Federation got sign boards designed to raise awareness in Kerala on the cruelty in slaughterhouses. In another exciting development, the date and framework has been set for the country’s first movement building roundtable, to help the animal protection movement grow in strength; details to come. Entries sharing best practices among animal welfare groups are streaming in. If you too have an interesting ‘best practice’ to share with us, please email us at 
Definitely Dogs…
Sudhersena writes: A recent story in The Hindu reported that a dog with a confirmed rabies diagnosis bit 28 people in December in Puducherry. The Hindu’s report does, however, shine a light on the need for greater collaboration between civil authorities and animal welfare protection organisations to work towards dog population management and rabies prevention to reduce human-dog fear and conflict. 
Living Free…
Bikramadittya writes: Nagpur and Siliguri might look small when compared to the state capitals, (Nagpur’s population is about 2.5 million) but these cities are significant consumption drivers. Earlier this month Avinandan Mitra, who is a long-time Blue Cross of India volunteer, a FIAPO Living Free outreach activist, and Assistant Commandant of Indian Coastguard, conducted a discussion session about compassionate choice at Rajshree Mulak Women College of Engineering, Nagpur with 200 students. At Siliguri, Indranil Chakraborty a member of SAAOL (Science and Art of Living) included Living Free outreach at the SAAOL stall in the prestigious North Bengal Bookfair. Check some photos here 
Holy Cow…
Shweta writes: The cruelties and welfare violations of farmed animals in India are increasingly exposed by animal protectors, but consumption of animal products is rising despite our efforts to inspire compassionate consumer choices. Approximately 325 million cattle are in India. Most of them are confined 24 hours a day. If you are still consuming dairy products, know your source and ensure that the cows are guaranteed the “five freedoms” established by the world famous Farmed Animal Welfare Council in 1979: Freedom from Hunger and Thirst; Freedom from Discomfort; Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease; Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour; Freedom from Fear and Distress.
FIAPO recommends that we memorize these freedoms and urge consumers never to purchase dairy products from animals denied these freedoms. We question how it is possible to meet the five freedoms (with particular reference to the Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour) for animals held in confinement. 
Heroes Among Us… Ethics and compassion conquered greed in an inspirational turnaround for one of the world’s wealthiest businessmen. Reliance’s change ushers in one of the world’s greatest boons for animals in 2013. 
Disgust Dept… 
The WildlifeCrime Control Bureau (WCCB) has just found 200 websites trading animal parts. 
Being a part of a group gives us strength. Join India’s only federation today to make your voice stronger for animals. Membership of FIAPO is completely free. Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter
In Focus: Karuna Society for Animals and Nature
With more than eight active programmes working for stray-, pet-, owned- and wild animals; and equally concerned about propagating an animal friendly, ecologically conscious lifestyle, Karuna has chosen to address issues of animal welfare in a holistic manner. Read more about them here- 
When I was 12, our old neighbour Tom let me help him at haying season in late August, now that the alfalfa was dry and ready. He drove the bailer a few rows ahead.  I took turns driving the tractor that pulled the hay wagon and a hired hand grabbed the rope that cinched the 40 pound bail, hiked it up and then more or less knee-kicked it onto the hay wagon. Sometimes Tom drove and using all my strength I too loaded the bails. Another fellow stacked from the wagon and we worked that way as a nice team for about 6 hours.
I was thrilled to be doing man’s work. The sky was blue as a kingfisher. I had never done so much physical labor.  It meant something to me that I should be understood to be strong as a boy. The bales of hay smelled clean and delicious.
Most of it would be fed to Tom’s heifers would be slaughtered in the spring. But I didn’t think about that then. When I lay down to sleep I knew it was the most wonderful day of my life.  I thought about the kind face of Tom, and how, when I saw that a garter snake had got trapped against the hay by bailing rope and I asked him to stop the tractor, though I didn’t think he would because somehow there was an air of hurry to the day, Tom did stop the tractor and cut open the bail and let the little snake scoot away into the grass.  The afternoon shadows were lengthening, and it was beautiful to watch it disappear into the mysterious earth. Tom killed the cattle and freed the little snake. Always paradox. “To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.”  G. K. Chesterton  
Help animals in your own way; remember – no action is too small. 
Best wishes,
Erika Abrams 
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