Fortnightly Commentary No 58: 23rd May 2014 circ. 2000 people

Dear Members and Friends,

I just had a shock. I finally watched one of America’s most famous movies: Breakfast at Tiffany’s with Audrey Hepburn. What a horrible, decadant, consuming, ethically arrogant, blind, loud movie it is, and what a comment on the America of the 1960s it is, and what a shame such a piece of trash was so popular. It’s in the screwball-comedy-with-a-supposedly-poignant-message genre, about a young girl upper-class prostitute and her neighbour, a young gentleman prostitute. But the idea that they are prostitutes is not the immoral part of the movie. It’s the props and the supposedly plush backgrounds: zebra skin rugs, exotic fish in glass bowls, birds in tiny decorative cages, the taxidermied head of a bull artistically mounted on a wall, a cat who’s continuously thrown around for fun, every kind of dead animal fur worn not only by the stars but by the extras in the background, reference to crocodile shoes and a handbag to match.

What kind of people were created by the fanfare around this very VERY famous movie? Is that who my parents admired? I watched until the bitter end, mesmerized by the staggering badness of it all.  When it was over, I wanted to rinse out my soul. I walked downstairs and grabbed our dog Mongi, and sat outside under a starry canopy feeling grateful that I know there’s more to life than dress-up parties in metro cities. How could people back then not see what they were doing to animals? How can people not see it now?


Registrations are now open for India for Animals – India's largest conference for animal protection. 12-14 Sep, Jaipur. See


Fruits of Collaboration…

Prashanth writes: Members of the Kerala federation met this week in Trivandrum. PFA Trivandrum shared some excellent news – the number of callers interested in adopting dogs had increased after the positive campaigning following the adoption workshop KFAPO had organised with Blue Cross of Hyderabad. Their latest effort saw 22 pups being adopted, with a return rate of zero! Sai Ashram Trust, a philanthropic organization based in the city, also declared its programme of sterilizing 1000 street dogs in the city, seeking the support of other KFAPO members. Elsewhere in the country, members of the Jaipur local federation contributed this week to a document highlighting their achievements in the past year, which they plan to present to participants of IFA later this year.


Living Free…

Richa writes: Our volunteers continue to inspire! Just in the past two weeks, we have reached out to more than 5500 people in six cities! We had two early morning leafleting sessions at Marina beach fish market and Besan Nagar beach in Chennai, two leafleting sessions conducted on FC road and Viman Nagar in Pune, Brigade road conducted by Vegania in Bangalore, a stall at Pink Square in Jaipur in association with Ashray, and outstanding outreach by PFA Trivandrum volunteers on kanakakunnu palace ground and shangumugham beach!

Even as Living Free takes over the first tier cities, the rest of the country is also buzzing with activity, Hissar volunteers reached out to 2000 children through presentations in schools, while a presentation was conducted by Rehai in Jammu to inform and educate teachers in a school! At the same time, one of our committed volunteers took the leaflets all the way to Badrinath and the then Jim Corbett park as well, distributing them and talking about the cause to people all the way.

If you are inspired, here are the upcoming events, and if there’s not one near you, join us and organise one today. Email me

Leafleting this Sunday morning at Central Park in Jaipur; leafleting in IIT Madras on Saturday 24th May; leafleting in Pune at an adoption camp on 25th April and on 31st May; talk and leafleting in Trivandrum on 29th May; leafleting in Gandhi park and Astley hall in Dehradun is ongoing.


Success for Pigs: We are delighted to share that we have received confirmation that the Bhopal Municipal Corporation does not intend to proceed with its reported plans to shoot pigs. When we reported this in the last issue of this commentary, letters to stop BMC from taking this inhumane, and illegal decisions for support flew in from across the country. Thank you, to all of our supporters who joined us in ensuring safety for pigs.


Holy Cow…

Shweta writes: Cattle abuse by hot branding, hormone injections and street grazing is rampant in urban dairies – which are the factory farms of India. Delhi alone has more than a thousand illegal dairies in operation. The lack of any research and documentation of urban dairies makes it difficult to both understand and regulate. During the past two weeks, I’ve been researching information to publicize on FIAPO’s website. As we compile this – by meeting activists, vets, govt officials in Delhi, we welcome showcasing your work on our website too. If you’ve worked with cows in the past, do send in your pictures, and get in touch at See

Our "Just Say No" social media campaign continues to build awareness about the plight of chickens raised for meat/egg production in India – we encourage readers to say no to chicken products, in stores, restaurants and sensitize their friends and families as well. For the duration of this campaign, we will be posting daily posts on various aspects of chickens, show your support by changing your Facebook cover photo to FIAPO's current one and sharing the posts!


FIAPO Congratulates Delhi MC for Cracking Down on Cow Abuse

One of Delhi’s most significant pro-animal actions ever is taking place now, according to the Dairy Site news. Delhi’s Municipal Corporation is finally speaking out about cow abuse in the more than 1000 illegal dairies said to be operating in North Delhi and FIAPO is sending a letter of commendation as today’s Commentary goes out. While hot iron branding and hormone injection are cited as abuses, they have also offered “street grazing” as a welfare compromise, given the plastic garbage and traffic. That’s a tough one—considering that the alternative is remaining chained in a stifling indoor hell-hole, but we appreciate the effort at recognizing what this garbage means to cows.


FIAPO’s Mission to Unite Groups Echoed by Many

Community participation is a key ingredient for long-term change, and unfortunately one that comes last in attempts to reduce human-animal conflict. Start participatory and community- based mechanisms to address the issue and save crores of rupees, says a recent report


Progress in Move Against Use of Animals in Research

According to a recent report by Animals 24/7, the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has introduced an amendment to the Drugs & Cosmetics Rules 1945 that will prohibit the import of cosmetic products tested on animals. The writer notes that while most major cosmetics manufacturers have long had Indian divisions or subsidiaries, about 10% of the $1.5 billion Indian cosmetics market involves imported products or ingredients. Read more here


Wild Matters…

Puja writes: FIAPO continues to speak up for gorillas. We have presented evidence to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and made a case for the prohibition of gorillas in Indian zoos. Last week, we also contacted over 2000 people to appeal to the CZA and are also working with experts on gorillas and primates and other NGOs internationally to join us in our campaign. Please add your voice to this growing movement against captivity today


On-line magazine speaks out for wild animals with human trouble

An on-line publication has written a sympathetic piece on the problems for animals caused by habitat encroachment of humans. While the nomenclature “human-animal conflict” seems to us to downplay the outrageously unbalanced human assault on animals, the story invites readers to consider the absence of options humans have left animals, forcing them into human populations. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 290 people were killed by animals in Assam from 2009-11 – second only to Maharashtra state.


Appreciation to Ahmedabad Forest Dept for its Cub Compassion

Two surgeries failed to save the life of a lion cub with a swollen spleen, spotted and rescued by vigilant forest department staff. Tremendous effort went in to trying to save the life of the cub, but probable infection loosened the stitches and ultimately the youngster died. FIAPO is sending a letter of appreciation, since clearly compassion was foremost, as the cub was re-united with his wild family at the earliest possible time when caretakers found that –probably due to stress—the cub was failing to eat.


In Focus: Aashray

From birds and dogs to cats and cattle, Aashray and its volunteers have rescued them all and nursed them back to health. The organisation, now with its own shelter, is also spearheading the national Living Free campaign in the Pink city. Read on to know more


Last week in Udaipur a retired army officer shot and killed two sleeping community dogs, and permanently disabled a third. It’s interesting how even many of the most animal-identifying people among us suffer silently about the killings that go on every moment in institutionalised or industrial settings. And yet we are all aghast at the fellow who drives his car a kilometre from home and opens fire on some sleeping dogs.

The point of course is not “why make such a big deal out of the dead dogs when these billions are being killed every year?” Rather, how is it that we exercise so much patience and forbearance when it comes to killing animals for their skin, their fur, their thighs, their wings? Why are we so patient? Why aren’t we in the streets absolutely every day? Why is our “uproar” so soft-spoken and polite?

I hope we in Udaipur can leverage the anger and disgust expressed by so many toward the dog killer into anger and disgust at the institutionalised animal cruelty practices that go on in dairies, poultry farms and slaughterhouses. Often even the animal protectors are tougher on cigarette smokers than we are on meat-eaters. We’re so uncertain if the timing is right, and if the people are ready. If we ask the animals, what do they tell us?

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

Best wishes,

Erika Abrams

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