Fortnightly Commentary No 48: 17th January 2014 circ. 2000 people

Dear Members and Friends,
A story appeared in Times of India this week about a murdered woman whose husband has speculated her murderers may be criminals from a ring of cock-fighters retaliating for her activism against them. I overheard the following conversation about this shortly after. Speaker 1 said "We should pause and reflect on this murder. A person was trying to stop animal abuse and she was killed for it." Speaker 2 said "Well, we don't really know if it's just conjecture or not. There is absolutely no evidence that we've seen. It's just talk at this point." 
And Speaker 1 said "Don't you think we owe it to the possibility that she was murdered for defending animals, and to grieve for her? Just in case? Because, we don't lose anything by grieving. Others have been killed for protecting animals. She might have been. I'd rather err on the side of grief than in the possibility of missing the chance to feel the loss of one of our precious allies."
Let us strengthen our resolve to protect animals by advocating peace and the promise of non-violence. Martin Luther King, Jr said "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
FIAPO's Chairperson in Asia for Animals Limelight
FIAPO encourages you to read the remarkably concise presentation delivered this week by FIAPO's chairperson, Padmashree Norma Alvares, at the Asia for Animals Conference in Singapore. Spoken with both joy and passion, even if you're familiar with some of her points, this round-up of FIAPO's purpose and achievements is worthwhile reading for its engaging style and sympathy with the variety of points of view held by Commentary readers. 
Fruits of Collaboration…
Prashanth writes: Everyone has something to learn about animal protection, and all across India are colleagues in compassion who know something you don't know—and probably could serve animals better if you did.  Taking advantage of FIAPO's mentorship programme described here: free, fun learning adventures for each of us in new environs with supportive teachers. Want to be a mentor or a learner, or both?  Placements open now. 
"Protection"? Really?
Rajasthan ministers are planning to set up a government department for protecting cows, focusing on improving the rearing of female calves and – though no mention of the bull calves here. They are featured in the two related articles, covering India's exploding beef export trade (see below).  FIAPO urges readers to consider carefully all proposals which declare the protection of cows without spelling out explicitly how bull calves will likewise be protected. What specific alternatives to the slaughterhouse go with increased calf production? No alternatives? 
Hoof and Mouth Disease Threat Won't Stop Meat Production in Kerala
The Kerala State Animal Husbandry Department in a bid to protect meat eaters, will introduce new technology to slaughterhouses in two locations, lest the threat of hoof and mouth disease curtail meat consumption in the state. Readers may note a current campaign to boycott tourism in Kerala for its governmental support of schemes to increase animal eating.
Living Free…
Bikramadittya writes: In the last two weeks, I have been setting up stalls in business districts and metro station out gates. I have also returned to the colleges where I have leafleted previously to collect survey responses. The survey is used to help us understand the impact of various kinds of outreach tools. If you are interested in improving the results of your outreach, please get in touch at
India's Beef Trade Soaring…
Chewing over legal differences between eating and exporting buffalo parts versus cow parts, this article reveals India's lively trade in beef—second in export only to Brazil. 
Holy Cow…
Shweta writes: This week's commentary comes from Asia for Animals conference, Singapore, where one of the topics was 'Moving beyond the Five freedoms.' The presenter spoke about going beyond the physical, and addressing the behavioural and mental needs of animals. It was wonderful to note that welfare standards continue to improve. Similarly, we discussed broadening dairy campaigning so that we focus not only on legislative and policy change but continue to involve consumers as much as possible in all campaigning. So let's spread the word about the real meaning of the freedoms to which all animals have a natural right, and let's continue to share our growing insights about consumer power with our friends, families and everyone we can.
Bull torturers may use high tech GPS tracking devices to ensure their panic-stricken bull "investments," desperate to escape the torments of jallikattu, don't risk losing them a rupee. Read more here.
Conserve now and hunt tomorrow?
Many animal hunters support conservation as a means of ensuring the availability of their quarry lest other hunters annihilate every last member of the species, as is happening to tigers. In Nagaland, thanks to the efforts of conservationists, an annual falcon hunt was called off so that future hunting is not disturbed. For this "crop" of wild birds, it was good news.
Definitely Dogs…
Sudhersena writes: Dog bites can be easily avoided by following simple rules. This new dog bite prevention video developed by FIAPO and our partners, shows us how to react when confronted by barking dogs, how to walk past a sleeping dog, how to squeeze past a dog in a narrow alley and other situations. The video is short, informative and a great learning tool.
Dog Rules Upheld in Court…
The ABC Dog Rules stood strong in Karnataka High Court last month when Justices passed an order supporting a PIL complaining of that the Mandya City Municipal Council disregarded the ABC Rules in contracting for the killing of 1000 stray dogs, and additional violations.
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- 
Horn tooters come in all sizes and shapes and bragging can be disguised – this is a skill! Some folk will hide a big fat brag beneath a skinny layer of self-deprecation. I have noticed facebook can easily turn into bragbook. "Morning sunshine, cup of vegan hot chocolate warming my hands, the woman of my dreams feeding me peeled grapes: life is beautiful."  "Board meeting on Skype, followed by blanket distribution, shared a wonderful meal prepared in kachcha basti by loving, destitute girl child…all in a day's work." 
But the beauty of facebook, most of the time, is its vast tolerance of attitudes grand and foolish. I am deeply impressed by how little ridicule goes on. You can write "I'm the cooolest person in the universe," include a photo-shopped selfie, and you'll get 23 comments that say "looking gr8 boss!" instead of "nooo, you're the biggest braggart in the world," and "where's your real nose?" The waters of facebook may often be shallow. But then, not everyone can swim. 
It's a nicer world with facebook "friends" and this animal protection movement has a deep debt of gratitude owing to it. Having been around since well before the facebook era, I can attest to this: more than half the inspirational people and animals I've come to know about in animal protection around the world came to me via facebook tags. Brag or no brag, we're bigger and stronger together, holding virtual hands with our friends.
Help animals in your own way; remember – no action is too small.
Best wishes,
Erika Abrams
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