Fortnightly Commentary No 65: 7th September 2014 circ. 2000 people

Dear Members and Friends,

This week I met a sadhu named Ram who lives in a gobar jompri on the banks of the Ganges in Rishikesh, and I went right into the cave-like dwelling where he’d lived for 40 years. It was dark and the walls seemed almost charred, but it was made grandly pleasant because Mata Ganga rumbled and tossed about 20 meters from his front door, and Gauri, his sweetheart of a dog, stayed close by him all the time. She was an Indian brownie with white speckles, and it was wonderful to discover that this old cataract-blinded eccentric is never lonely but is richly loved. So often we see the world only from the point of view of the animal—“what do they need to be happy? how have we humans let them down? why is life so hard for these animals?” But Gauri reminded me that dogs often are asking the same things about us. She seemed to say, “Is my sadhu happy? Am I helping him enough? Can I make life easier for him?” In the case of Ram and Gauri, who is the guardian and who is the guarded is as shifting sands, ever changing, ever in motion like the beautiful river they share.

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Farm to Freedom: Visit the new website! Click here.

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Jaipur’s first Farm Animal protection workshop!

Last week, FIAPO launched its first Farm Animal protection workshop, in collaboration with various other organisations. The workshop was inaugurated AWBI chairman Gen. Kharb and has left local activists geared up for collecting data and planning interventions on local illegal slaughter. Read more here.This is just in time – the Rajasthan government has recently decided to use taxes to boost meat sales.

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Holy Cow
In today’s world, one cannot undermine the importance of communication. Communication is knowledge, and as the old adage goes, knowledge is power. To empower consumers FIAPO has been working towards creating an independent website for farmed animals. After months of research and hard work, the website is now live under the title Farm to Freedom.
This website aims to inform readers of the various adversities that plague factory farming – like this infographic –  which unveils the life cycle of animals in a typical factory farm. Pledge to refuse factory farm products on the new website.
We would like to thank our web designer Abhishek and his team at Majestic solutions, alongwith our stellar in house communication designer Disha for providing the technical and graphic support for this project! Thank you, we couldn’t have done it without you!

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Living Free
Over the last 13 days, Living Free has traveled to four beautiful cities- Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and Jammu. Mumbai was one of the cities which was to be visited but had to be cancelled at the last minute. I have had the privilege of meeting some very sincere and passionate people throughout my journey. With the help of volunteers in each of these cities, we carried out ten events in total, 7 leafleting sessions and 3 talks. I also had some great fun interacting with people at railway stations and in trains! Overall, a lot of interactions, discussions and debates- also called as fun!

The tour is in its last stretch right now- in Jammu. I am just heading out to carry out outreach at some schools and colleges right now! Come join the Living Free movement!

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Fruits of Collaboration
With the India for Animals conference just around the corner, activists from the Kerala and Pune federations are lining up to show support to their Jaipur counterparts, who are co-organising the conference. Pune activists kicked off the citywide inspection of pet shops last week, as the first leg of pet shop and breeder regulation in the city.
Activists in Kerala conducted the inspection of a circus as part of the nationwide initiative to end captive performing elephants.

 

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Penguin Purchase blasted by activists
According to TOI the BMC Mumbai has set aside more than 2 crores to buy endangered-species Humboldt penguins from Peru and Chile for its zoo. This alarming plan was promptly criticized by People for Animals and FIAPO. Mumbai zoo officials continue to resist and will likely fight to transport and incarcerate these fragile animals. Looks like activists in India have reason to gird up for a struggle. Read more here.

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AWBI Directs Army Not to Remove Dogs
When a citizen complained to AWBI about a local army unit snatching dogs and removing them to unknown areas, the AWBI swung into action and lodged a complaint to the Army Cantonment Board at Deolali, (nead Nashik) for flouting of law. Read more here.

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Pig status ‘Upgrade’ means more exploitation of pigs
The Agonda pig is soon to get a rise of attention when the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources registers the breed for its unique characteristics. But this burst of attention doesn’t spell the pigs’ protection; rather it harbingers the coming formalisation of the intention of meat traders to raise them for slaughter and meat sales. “We got a cross-bred pig with a better performance in terms of adaptability, growth rate and total weight gain,” said the Indian Council of Animal Reproduction’s principal scientist, according to TOI. Read more here.
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PFA Exposes Forest Department’s Staffer’s Murder of Monitor Lizard
People for Animals in Bareilly demands justice for a monitor lizard deliberately killed by a forest department staff member whose job was to remove it. Read more here.

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Tourist Bus Loaded with Tortured Cattle
More excellent work from People for Animals who intercepted a cattle smuggling bus in Meerguni Tehsil carrying 32 cows for killing in Rampur district. The smugglers had removed seats of a tourist bus, tied the legs of the cows and hauled them in where several had already died from suffocation when police stepped in.The rescued animals have now been sent to a cow protection shed in Moradabad. Read more here.

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Kudos to Border Security force in Kolkata who Seized Tortoises
360 Star Tortoises were seized by watchful border guards last week before they could be smuggled to Bangladesh where they would be killed for superstitious “medical” purposes, and simply eaten as delicacy treats.The rescued tortoises have been handed over to forest officials. Read more here. 

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Ban on Animal Experiments Supported by Pharmacy Council
Animal dissection and experimentation is still rampant in educational institutions but it’s gotten a kick in the gut now that the Pharmacy Council of India has issued a ban on the use of mice, rats and guinea pigs in academic institutions in Karnataka to support a similar ban issued by the University grants commission. Read more here.
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On vacation in Haridwar last week, descending a set of stairs to walk along the river toward a ghat where a crowd assembled for aarti, we passed a man in ragged clothes bearing the full sun laying the long way on one of the steps, one leg propped up, his eyes half closed with perspiration matting his hair. Even in holy Haridwar, where the sale of alcohol is prohibited, you’ll find a drunk, I thought to myself. We strode passed and enjoyed the ambling tides of pilgrims from across India clad in their regional norms: a gagra here with blue border and blouse more like a bra; a Gujarati saree there; men in dhotis, men in tight jeans. I loved the attitudes of the boys so sincere at twilight with their smart saffron uniforms and bright eyes. Returning to our hotel along the same route, we saw, also covered in saffron cloth, the “drunk” man on the stairs, but this time with a sheet pulled over him, head to toe, anchored by stones. He had died just there, and his knee was still propped up. If he had been a dog I’d seen suffering there I might have tried to move him into the shade under a tree. I would have brought him water and even if I knew I couldn’t get him to medical service, I would have tried to comfort him. I hadn’t done anything for this dying man, and I regretted it.
Best Wishes,
Erika Abrams

 

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