Fortnightly Commentary No 56: 25th April 2014 circ. 2000 people

Dear Members and Friends,

Orphaned calves who don't get colostrum have a tough time fighting viruses, so about six weeks ago we brought three–as an experiment–into our garden, which is attached to Animal Aid. I had never actually lived with calves such that there might be, poof, a calf standing next to me in the kitchen; I never knew a calf might like to suck on clothes hung out to dry; I never knew a calf and a cat could carry on a decided flirtation which would regularly begin with either a meow or a moo of invitation, would build to a chase and would at random swap roles of chaser and chasee. I also never knew how much greenery they can gobble up even while being bottle fed four times a day, each sometimes devouring five or more bottles at a session. Within days of their discovery of the seedlings sprouting up everywhere thanks to my diligent watering, I realized to my dismay that the plush "natural" forest I was cultivating was quickly being swallowed by Bruce, Maruti and Golu.

Regretfully, we shifted them to a fenced-in patch of 40 feet by 15 feet until they're old enough to join the big kids. But how awful it is, now, to see them standing dully instead of tearing around and around the perimeter of the fence at a hundred kilometers an hour. Maybe I don't care so much about the seedlings. I'm going to ponder that.

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India for Animals – India's largest conference for animal protection – will be held in Jaipur, September 12-14, 2014. Mark your Calendars! Also a reminder that we are inviting applications for the IFA Conference Coordinator. For more details, see http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=13201

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Fruits of Collaboration…

Prashanth writes: Members of the Jaipur federation gathered at Jawahar Circle park last week to raise awareness on installing nest boxes for sparrows this summer. Nishant Shuka, the local bird expert lead the awareness drive. Activists were also joined by FIAPO Living Free Campaign Manager Richa Thapliyal, and were oriented to the campaign. Together, they were able to reach out to 70-80 people in a short period of time. See photos here https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.621404687937602&type=1 PFA Trivandrum, member of the Kerala federation, also jumped into direct action, and volunteers rescued two abused pets at the request of other members of the federation. The two dogs are presently recovering at the shelter and stand a good chance of finding a caring home, following the adoption workshop recently organised by KFAPO.

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We were alerted through our network, about the recent televised episode of the show "Khatron Ke Khiladi" shot in South Africa by the channel Colours. The episode showed dogs being forced to chase and behave aggressively with the contestants. FIAPO responded to the channel, by strongly objecting to the use of animals in television for entertainment, which is both unethical and cruel, while also filing a complaint against the show with the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC), India.

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Living Free…

Richa writes: The Day of Living Free was a massive success, we reached out to over 1,000 people all over the country in only a few hours- discussions took place, documentaries were watched and lives changed! Approximately 300 people signed up to know more about Living Free, reduction in consumption of animal products and the events and activities being planned in the future. The best part was that this outreach was great qualitatively as well and everyone had fun. This is just the beginning! There are many more events lined up in your cities, get in touch to find out more! Photos here https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.807538185942017.1073741855.120832497945926&type=3

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Holy Cow…

Shweta writes: We urged the global conglomerate Cargill Inc. to take into consideration animal welfare concerns in the dairy industry, after the corporate published an article highlighting their vision for the growth of the dairy sector in India. The company has responded by stating their commitment to improving animal welfare standards and environmental sustainability.

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Walk As You Like: Prosthetics for Animals

A veterinary doctor in Jaipur has designed a prosthetic limb that can fit various animals, below the knee for under Rs. 2000. http://fiapo.org/view_news.php?viewid=13220

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Wild Matters…

Puja writes: We continue our advocacy actions to rescue the animals of Moonlight Circus. We have seen some movement in the case after members of PFAPO (Pune Federation of Animal Protection Organisations) met with the Maharashtra PCCF (Wildlife) & CWW, Mr. Sarjan Bhagat. The PCCF has taken a positive step to move towards sanctioning the rescue of the animals, by agreeing to a re-assessment of the health conditions of the animals. We appreciate the efforts of all the organisations that are taking an active role in this case and urge you to help us keep the issue alive in the minds of the government agencies, by adding your voices to the protest by signing the petition here http://www.fiapo.org/moonlightcircus.php

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In 2012 when Phil Wollen's Winsome Constance Kindness Trust selected Sir David Attenborough to receive their annual Kindness Medal I thought it was kind of unfair, since Sir David has been recognized already and so broadly by film critics, naturalists, the Queen of England, environmentalists and academics.

But I was wrong; I can no longer imagine him receiving "too much" credit. I had not actually seen most of his documentaries until the advent of a friend who gifted us a wide range of Sir David Attenborough documentaries. The Private Life of Plants (2006) is a celebration of plant doings using high-speed photography to reveal their inventiveness, their tenacity, their biological and genetic ingenuity to survive all sorts of environmental conditions. Even just that one documentary transformed my ability to appreciate, to see, to hear, to understand the energies and being-hood of plants. What wonder he invokes. Though I had hugged a tree before, now he has made me want to hug a vine or the lichen attached to a rock over there.

As we enter classrooms or leafleting efforts to bring people closer to animals, let's to be a little David Attenborough-ish, and leave everyone we meet with a greater sense of wonder at the animals all around us, awed by their innocence, impressed by their intelligence, amazed at their physical abilities, and bewildered by our history of shackling them.

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

Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations www.fiapo.org; mail@fiapo.org

Best wishes,

Erika Abrams

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