Fortnightly Commentary No 66: 27th September 2014 circ. 2000 people


Dear Members and Friends,Most of us take great solace in the honesty of animals. They’re hungry: they get on with the search for food. They’re tired: down ya go. Gotta wee: there’s a tree. And so on. But we ought not to pigeonhole animals as honest and humans as complicated liars.  It’s not that way in my household.  Honesty verily plops down on the couch.  “I hate it when you clean my study,”  says my husband simply, flatly, honestly. There are no ifs ands or buts. There’s no REASON offered.  “You shouldn’t have thrown away that jar.” (It’s a plastic screw-top lidded jar that had face cream in it about 7 years ago, and then got cleaned out and he used to put coins in it and then that stopped.)

Our animals too, are full of convoluted motives, wiley double entendres and outright lies. When Charlie, an Orange Cat, decides to smack Mongey, a Brown Dog, in the face, he waits until she is eating, then pretends to be on the way into the kitchen for some other purpose, fixing his gaze on the door knob, and then he belts Mongey with his paw as he walks past, casually as if his mind had nothing to do with it.

And –I must be honest here—I praise him for it Because He Is A Cat. At the exact same moment not one but two truths pop into my head: “Poor Mongey!” and “Good boy, Charlie!”  Perhaps I’m not completely honest though. I don’t say it loud enough for the other to hear.

Holy Cow

A fortnight ago, we launched the Farm to Freedom website – India’s only dedicated online campaign site for farm animals. By popular demand, this week we have added some more resources to it! Posters that were much sought after at IFA, an infographic explaining the life cycle of farm animals at factory farms,  insightful audio -visuals and much much more. Click here to download and see the posters!

Living Free

As the Living Free campaign is gaining strength, scores of activists in 13 cities across the country are preparing right now to rise together and speak up for animals. The event, aptly called Living Free: Gandhigiri for Animals is being organised on the 2nd of October throughout India!  The 2nd of October is also World Farm Animal day, so come and join us in your city, for farm animals, for non-violence, and for Gandhiji!

Fruits of Collaboration

It has been a great week for J-FAPO! As activists from the federation were continuing their actions engaging with the public to ask the Govt. of Rajasthan to protect camels, the excellent news that the official notification for the camel being declared a state animal has come through. Read more about it here.  There is a celebratory mood, thank you J-FAPO.

Farm to Freedom: Visit the new website!

Living Free : Gandhigiri for Animals on 2nd October

India’s biggest animal activism revolution is happening in over 10 cities –  On the 2nd of October,  individuals and organisations alike aim to reach out and educate thousands of people with the message of Living Free, a message of compassion and kindness. Organized in collaboration with F.A.R.M , we are celebrating World Farm Animals Day with a touch of Gandhigiri to it.

This truly potrays a rising, shining India becking you to be a part of this ever growing movement!

Write to today to join in and click here to visit the event page and follow in the footsteps of Gandhi!

Click here to see pictures of IFA!

AWBI Urges Exercise Opportunities for Sanctuary Elephants

The AWBI is recommending that Kerala’s Punnathur Kotta elephant “sanctuary” under Guruvayur Sree Krishna Swamy temple in Thrissur should limit visiting hours to six, so that resident elephants can have more opportunities to walk around the campus. The sanctuary is currently open 10 hours a day—too many, argues AWBI, to ensure these captive victims have time for  scarcely minimal chance at exercise, for one hour in the morning, and one hour in the evening. For animals whose natural behaviours keep them on the move most of the day, laws defining chained confinement legal for 22 hours of the day might appear to have fares in mind, not welfare. Read more here .

Thanks to SPCA Chennai, Elephant’s Abuse Put on Hold
According to TOI, Last week, the Madurai bench of the Madras high court issued notices to the secretaries of home, forests and Hindu religious and charitable endowment departments on a public interest litigation seeking a ban on keeping elephants in temples and residences in the state. This might have helped encourage the SPCA to act on a tip about an elephant illegally hired out to perform in a wedding in Tylapore illegally and cruelly made to stand in a truck without stopping for continuous 12 hours, from Trichy. Read more here.Goa’s Mission Rabies On the Go

The Times of India reports that 15,000 Goan dogs have already been vaccinated and sterilized by Mission Rabies and a final 5000 will be sterilized and vaccinated in the coming months, according to PFA-Goa’s Norma Alvares. 10 hubs of two government vets, four-to-six catchers and two data collectors (tracking the dogs’ neighbourhood homes) will manage the sterilizations, likely reaching their goal of 20,000 by the end of six months. Re-imbursement awaits. Read more here. 

Blue Cross Seeks Justice for Abandoned Cows

Blue Cross of India is urging the Municipal Corporation to follow the law and book owners of impounded cattle when they come to claim them. Unclaimed after three days, they are shipped to Blue Cross who shoulders the enormous burden of their upkeep and welfare. Instead of facing a fine and prison sentence of up to six months, the owners “get off scot free,” says Dawn William. The MC thinks the fine is “cruel,” and may not grasp the huge challenge undertaken by the volunteers of Blue Cross to find food and housing for this stream of discarded cattle. Read more here.

Humans Too, Endanger Forest Department StaffThe Times of India reports that 72 forest department workers died in India over the past three years—more than any other country, but the cause of death for rangers is often murder by humans and succumbing to diseases, fires and accidents. The report did not specify how many of the deaths are caused by other humans.

Read more here.

Asiatic Lions Killed by—People, Of Course!BBC India reports that Gir, Gujarat has lost 256 lions during the past five years. A hundred years ago the nawab Mahabat Khanji banned lion hunting when their population supposedly shrank only 12 in his region. They still probably number fewer than 500 and are far from safe. Poached, starved out and killed, 20 have even died from speeding trucks and trains during the past three months. Wildlife activist Bhikhabhai Jethava reportedly said ,‘The rampant illegal sand and limestone mining in the region have dried the rivers and that’s the reason lions are migrating to coastal areas as far as 300km [186 miles] from the forest area.’

Read more hereGoshalas Should “Increase the Yield?” 

The Business Standard examines the government’s current interest in preservation and promotion of desi cattle, though not from the standpoint of the need for decreased milk consumption—instead, it merely looks at the productivity of cross-bred cattle. The report reminds us that the word livestock means living commodities to be manipulated, manufactured and traded. The report refers to goshalas who maintain cattle herds with “proper breeding plans.” What is the difference between a commercial dairy and goshala when human controlled breeding takes place to “increase the yield”? . Read more here. 

Saying good-bye to one of the many wonderful participants at the India for Animals conference I found myself choked up.  Having come from very far away, I have no idea whether we will ever see each other again. We had not discussed issues deeply; we didn’t devise a strategy for joint work. In our brief chats, we shared only a few observations about high points in the presentations of others and waxed emotional about how this word, or that photo, moved us so very much. But something in the exchange felt more precious than setting out a road map of action, as vital as such settings out are. Nonetheless, an invaluable consummation of what is, in fact, one of the most magnificent, if subtle, reasons to “confer” at a conference. We seemed to hit upon common love for the work of others and for some of the animals we met through the presentations of the days. That love fused us in some way and gave me greater courage by re-charging a battery of my soul, and with the fuel that works every single time: love! Perhaps at first we did not love one another so much as we loved the work and the animals in whose service the work was revealed. But by the end, it had expanded to include one another, never having met before, but strangers not the least.

Help animals in your own way; remember – no action is too small.
Best wishes,
Erika Abrams

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