Fortnightly Commentary No 75: January 31st, 2015, circ. 2000 people

Dear Members & Friends,

I have been masquerading as a person who has transcended material objects for at least 10 years, ever since I gave away most of my stuff in the transition from America to India. (Don’t tell anyone, but most of it was pretty junky to begin with.) But the term “crass materialist” describes me to a tee.  Our NEW FURNITURE was delivered hot off the griddle. Two three-seater sofas, six comfy chairs: I am ready for a visit from Mr Modi. I practically licked the new furniture when it arrived. I made the delivery men wash their hands with Dettol before they hoisted the finery from the lorry. I found Herculean strength in rearranging the pieces by myself — this way and that way– long after my family had retired in boredom and fatigue. Wearied by anxiety over the arrival of a two-year-old who will be gracing our house with his presence for three months starting next week, I whisked into the city to buy coverings for the new upholstery, perfectly hiding every inch of the glorious fabric below. I like the throws so much that when blind Mary (a cat) started scratching her claws on them, I became woe begotten and sad. Better to live like the dogs in our shelter, happy with a plastic tub and a bori. Or the lesser-haves on the streets, who make do with old newspapers for a bed. And many of them are human beings. Why, oh stars above, why such disproportion?

Fruits of Collaboration

The annual bird treatment camp organized by the members of Jaipur federation concluded last week. Free treatment camps were put up in the city for 3 days, and innovative awareness drives organized. The federation also elected its new coordinator- Mr. Abhishek Singh of the Angel Eyes foundation, and organized a training session “guidelines to file complaint on animal cruelty” for its members.
Contact with key activists in 6 cities in south India has been part of the FIAPO Network building activity.

Living Free

The message of letting animals live their life as they want is not a distant truth. Living free leaders are actively and vigorously reaching out to people by holding seminars, giving out leaflets, adopting a college and being change-makers for millions of animals all across the country!
After successfully finishing the first round of leafleting in five colleges in Delhi and two colleges in Pune, our leaders are all geared up to engage with students in the next leafleting session. The Adopt a College programme has brought many bright and eager minds who are only in need of some right direction, many wanting to join us in the cause!
You too can adopt a college in your city! Mail us at: priyanka@fiapo.org today!

Farm to Freedom

The meat shop campaign in Jaipur is gaining both pace and focus. Moving forward, we’ve adopted a three pronged approach to end inhumane animal product consumption and production.  Outreach, lobbying and quick action. On the outreach front, large scale public activities have been planned to push vegetarianism (We’ll be outreaching at Jaipur’s biggest college day after tomorrow – join us!). Members also volunteered to coordinate with various groups and authorities to strengthen the lobbying against illegal shops and on-going animal cruelty, and we’re putting in place guidelines to take quick action!

Free from Bars/Unwinding Nature/ Elephant in the room

In FIAPO’s continuous effort to protect and help animals of all species in suffering varied forms of cruelty, we’ve begun work on an elephant campaign. We recently reached out to colleges across Delhi  , asking students to never visit a zoo or a circus- and more than 600 people united to stand true to our cause. We’re now looking for circuses that use animals for entertainment across India. IF you happen to know of one, please write to us at prashanth@fiapo.org

Dog Tales/Tales from the Street

Varanasi is fast becoming a loving home to street animals with regular outreach and training sessions. Our latest training was an ‘on the job’ first-aid workshop for our volunteers. After a quick run through the essentials of a first-aid bag and relaying the importance of always having one by your side – we went onto practice! Running through the alleyways of Varanasi, we treated many dogs with skin infections, wounds and injuries. The activists seemed activated and energised, waiting to do more! This only goes on to strengthen our belief that a firm resolve and quick action can lead to a brighter future for countless animals!

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Here’s why now is a great time to reach out to college students!

We’ve been reaching out to college students across India for ending elephant slavery as well as the Living Free campaign! The response we’ve got has been phenomenal! We reach out to approximately 200 students in one hour or 90 minutes, and we collected 600 signatures through 6 hours of outreach for our ‘End Elephant Slavery’ campaign! Click here to catch a glimpse of some of our outreach work, and join in today! It’s easy, fun and effective too!

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Good News : 46 people arrested for conducting Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu  

46 people were arrested at Theyvadur village in the district for allegedly conducting the bull-bating sport of ‘Jallikattu’ in violation of the Supreme Court order last week. Bravo to the police who took decisive action even as a brawl broke out. The accused have been booked under various sections of the IPC. The Supreme Court last year banned using bulls for Jallikattu or bullock-cart races across the country and directed governments and Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to take steps to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals. Read more here.

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Make a donation today to help us save animals! Click here to Donate!

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South India to build crematoria for pets and cattle

Bangalore is set to become the first city in south India to have a crematorium for pets. The crematorium is proposed to open in February. We hope the facility will strengthen people’s bonds with animals and discourage illegal leather trades. Read more here.

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Infocus:  Sanctified Terra for Rueful Animals Society (STRAY)

Volunteer mobilisation, humane education, Animal Birth Control and Trauma care- the 4 pillars on which STRAY welfare is firmly rooted. Read more here.

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Cows, calves, bulls, beware: Amul  to invest Rs 5,000 crore to set up 10 milk processing plants

MUMBAI: Dairy products giant Amul is planning to invest Rs 5,000 crore to set up around 10 milk processing plants in the next fiscal in order to achieve the revenue target of Rs 50,000 crore by 2020. The tallying goes on with great diligence, while welfare standards for captive, often tormented cows goes unchecked. FIAPO is working to establish welfare standards for dairy cows but the miseries of the trade, with calves always pulled away from their mothers, is unrelenting. About the wealth to be amassed by Amul, read more here.

India wants to control the dead chickens’ legs

While motivated by competitive pricing, Indian poultry traders may contribute to the growing awareness that chickens must not be given hormones or genetically modified feed. Pressure from the World Trade Organisation to lift a current ban on purchase of US poultry is meeting with resistance but, according to TOI, the industry will itself have to meet the rules it sets for outsiders. Our best advice: eat no poultry—it’s always full of suffering. Read more here.

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Stop using banned torture tools to control captive elephants

Animal rights campaigners the Heritage Animal Task Force  have urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi (who is also chairman of the National Board for Wildlife) to immediately intervene to stop the widespread practice of using sharp-tipped goads, steel capture belts and other banned items to control captive elephants in Kerala. Read more here.

Environmentalists Object to Zoo that endangers existing animal habitat

Environmentalists in Jaipur have warned the state government about shifting Jaipur Zoo to Nahargarh Biological Park as it will destroy the rich flora and fauna of the area.  The zoo is to eat up 30% of the total area and will greatly intensify human presence which will adversely effect all local creatures and plants. FIAPO sides with the environmentalist, whose impact assessment points to commercial benefits of the zoo winning over real benefits for animals. Zoos are NOT sanctuaries, they are usually nothing more than passive circuses and prisons for the animals who live in them. It is a shame to lose wildlife on behalf of animals in captivity. Read more here.

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A religious animal protector friend who came to Delhi for the Minding Animals conference stayed with us for a few days last week. He found many occasions to pray for animals and he also had a book with him, published in the 1940s, about the power of forgiveness. The author instructs the reader to practice seeing the best in people; through faithful prayer, to imagine goodness and light where one might otherwise see cause for criticism. In so doing, suggests this author, you improve your own ability to see the goodness that God has included in all His works—in every being. I tried it out on someone negatively “special” to me—a man about whom a mere sighting can make my blood boil for his deviousness, selfishness, greed and vanity.  “In you, X, I see generosity, kindness, a sweet and helpful nature!”  Reader, I thunk it hard. And guess what! I smiled at him and he smiled back, and in his smile I did not see a coiled demon but something tender.  A miracle? Yes, and ours to make.

Best wishes,
Erika Abrams

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