Fortnightly Commentary No 69: 7th November 2014 circ. 2000 people

Dear Members and Friends,

Years ago, an animal activist acquaintance of mine said of animal hunters maybe they’re closer to animals than people who do nothing about them. At least they’re thinking about animals, they might be sooner to recognize animal feelings than others who are completely blind to animals. At the time, I thought it was a preposterous opinion. But as a child, I caught snakes and gave them to my cat to play with. Once, I threw a snake into the ocean to watch it swim. When it came out I sprayed fresh water from the garden hose to clean off the salt. I used to pry open clam shells. The Melbourne Cup is Australia’s biggest horse race and it claims the lives of horses almost every year, and tragically, just did so again this week when one of the race-horses died of heart failure. Just yesterday I posted on someone’s facebook page the accusation that those who enjoy the Melbourne Cup are killers, but I take it back. They are foolish, unthinking, self-centered, emotionally clumsy knot-heads, but there’s a big difference between dumbos and killers. As a child I was only stupid, not worse, and so are they. My guess is that among those who love to watch horses run are a disproportionate number destined to be tomorrows’ activists. Maybe that acquaintance wasn’t as wrong as I thought she was at the time.
Click here to see photos of various Living Free(FIAPO) outreach activities on World Vegan Day!!
Captivity Breeding Life-Line for Endangered Pygmy Hogs and Other species
TOI summarizes a move on the part of the Central Zoo Authority to increase conservation breeding centers wherein species decimated by poaching, habitat encroachment or poisons may be restored. While human intervention in animal breeding is often detrimental, interrupting the natural food chain, there may be reason to support the CZA’s bid—IF the programs are built to introduce the captive-bred animals to the wild, which is unlikely. Increased numbers of captive animals does not necessarily represent progress but due to human-made disasters, species like the Pygmy Hogs were virtually eliminated from their former range along the base of the Himalayas.Read more here.
Farm to Freedom
Farm animals suffer in billions, and so must we stand to protect them. As an umbrella body, we are inviting organisations from across the country to add their voice to ours and join us in the face of institutionalised cruelty. Pledging your support to the campaign is easy, write to me at Your support can save the lives of millions of animals.
Meanwhile, activists of Jaipur are working to improve the lives of farmed animals – inspections of meat shops within city limits are underway. The reports are depressing, but will become the first critical step of engaging with the municipal corporation to end the atrocities at meat shops in Jaipur.
Living Free
With world vegan month kicking in, Living Free (FIAPO) leaders across India involved themselves in a gamut of activities! Jaipur volunteers conducted outreach at the Pushkar fair, reaching out to more than 3500 people in three days, while Pune’s vegan fest, the first of its kind in Pune, received a gathering of over 3000! Jammu also saw leafleting on World Vegan day, and in all, it’s been a great start to a fabulous month!
But our committed leaders in Jaipur, Chennai, Pune, Bangalore, Jammu, Coimbatore, Kolkota, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, Delhi, Mumbai , Ahmedabad and Surat dont sit around – plans for the next exciting event are already in the wings. On 25th November, World Meatless Day, we’ll be out again on the streets launching India’s first national veg pledge drive! If you want to add your name to the Living Free cities and organise veg outreach in your area, write to

Participants at the Pune Vegan Fest!

IFA videos uploaded! Click here to watch the video coverage of the ‘Improving Animal Birth Control(ABC) workshop!
Fruits of Collaboration
There has been progress in Jaipur federation’s plans of collaboration with the local zoo in the last two weeks. Help suffering lives society, the member who had surveyed the zoo premises earlier has produced its report of recommendations on design of enclosures and practices in animal care and management. Depending on the response of the authorities, JFAPO has offered to assist the zoo in implementation . Meanwhile, organisations are also now geared up to receive the schedule of the internship programme and names of interns from MAFSU. The programme is likely to begin in January 2014
The newest addition to our Movement Building work is the holy city of Varanasi. The work in Varanasi has just kicked off with finding and contacting people who care about animals in the city. Schools and some students from Banaras Hindu University (BHU) are being approached, which could be of potential help in our work. The sights and sounds of Varanasi offer a wide array of amusements to set in. However, none of the city’s cultural delights seem remarkable when you notice the appalling state of street dogs in Varanasi. They are almost everywhere and they all suffer from one thing or the other – skin infections, maggots, poor nutrition and hunger! Most of them need basic medical care. The veterinary resources of the city need be channelized to deliver first aid to these dogs, making Varanasi an apt city for our campaign to start.
In Focus : Just be Friendly
A pioneer in animal welfare in the North eastern part of the country, JBF India Trust not only works in the popular areas of ABC and rescue, but also in the relatively untouched areas of disaster and flood relief. Learn more about the organisation here.

Captive Breeding Gone Wild
The TOI has reported a deer park in Bareilly has been charged with overcrowding by the CZA—in 15 years a pair of deer on the 28 acre park bred to 135—more than 100 deer too many for the space provided. One more reason why people meddling with animals’ natural habitat by fencing them in a private zoo (hence the word “park”) usually works out to be bad for animals.
Read more here.
Wildlife Protection Activists Zero In on Elephant Poaching in Kerala
Zee news reports that Heritage Animal Task Force is urging aerial survey of forest areas to catch mafia-operated elephant poaching. The task force charge that shallow pits are dug in elephant corridors to trap the roaming beauties. One can imagine the injuries sustained when they fall into the pits. Read more here.

Rabies Report from Pune
Outbreak News Today published an article claiming that Pune district has suffered 21 rabies deaths this year. The reporter has attempted to touch on the many challenges posed by rabies—from identifying cases to supplying adequate antedotes. The writer claims that India is home to 30 million dogs, without citing the source of that statistic, and since rabies is not a notifiable disease, it is not clear how numbers are derived which place India in the limelight of rabies cases and reports that a World Health Organisation editorial claims that rabies numbers have remained constant during the past decade.
On the positive side, the writer offered generally helpful suggestions about measures to control rabies, and did not leap to the conclusion that street dogs should be eliminated—rather suggested that government should increase public education campaigns, ensure the uninterrupted availability of vaccines and anti-rabies immunoglobulin in all hospitals and in remote primary-health-schools and dog vaccination through baits and sterilizing stray dogs.
Read more here.
10 cow lifters imprisoned, many more to go
In a recent article in the Hindu, additional sessions judge Dr. Kamini Lau, criticised the Delhi Government and asked it to uphold its constitutional obligation to prohibit the slaughter of cattle.
Ironically, the Delhi Cattle preservation Act gets in its own way by awarding a punishment of five years for live transport and only one year for the transportation of a dead animal.
Read more here.

here.Weird Story about Crocodile “Taming” in Vizak Zoo
Deccan Chronicle published a strange story this week claiming that International Fund for Animal Welfare-Wildlife Trust of India (IFAW-WTI) catching, restraining, roping the snouts of crocodiles “to facilitate debris clearing activities post Hudhud.” This article is either inane or one should strenuously question IFAW-WTI’s “trained young volunteers” for what sounds like brutal and terrifying treatment to captive crocs.
Read more here.
India’s Jumping into Civet Feces Coffee
Times of India reports that Indian entrepreneurs are cashing in on new animal abuse—holding Civits (a wild cat) in captivity, encouraging them to eat coffee beans, then saving their feces to use as a flavour enhancement to the undigestable beans, which are then ground and served to fools.
This mad practice ensures that the cats are caged, force-bred and probably force-fed. One more manifestation of decadence at the expense of animal well-being. Read more here.
Noida’s Animals Need More Government Support
The Times of India has reported a shortage of veterinary hospitals to treat pets in Noida, explaining that physical infrastructure by the government has not been provided despite plans to bolster existing facilities. The article states that the government does not provide medicines for private animals, and the writer says one vet at the 20-year-old government hospital said that only 8 to 10 people bring their pets for treatment daily. And ownerless animals such as street dogs are not among them. Our opinion is that the government hospitals should not be provided with more equipment unless ownerless, shelter-adopted and community animals are treated at no charge. Those who purchase exotic animals (German Shepherds, Cocker Spaniels etc.) to keep as pets should pay private veterinary fees for these force-bred animals. Read more here
Clamour for stopping illegal elephant park
Deccan Chronicle has reported a stall in Forest Department efforts to stop illegal elephant parks, quoting Venkitachalam Secretary, Heritage Animal Task Force, saying that forest officials are not for seizing illegally-held elephants because they don’t have money to feed them.Read more

Growing up I went through the government school system and lived in a region that was called a magnet school for blind kids. In those days there were heaps of blind children who had lost their sight as a result of inaccurate oxygen pressure in incubators for premature babies. So I grew up with blind students in all my classes from kindergarten to Year 12. In first grade my father came to my class and stood on his head and let the blind kids touch his feet. They thought it was very funny. But my mother had a better idea. She brought a litter of our cats’ kittens to class. There were blind children who had never touched kittens before. I remember when the kids brought the kittens up to their faces and seemed to investigate them using their noses and lips, because the kittens were too small to discern the details with just their fingers, I didn’t understand why that made my mother cry.
Help animals in your own way; remember – no action is too small.

Best wishes,
Erika Abrams
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