Fortnightly Commentary No 79: March 27th, 2015, 6000 people

Dear Friends & Members,

So often as an older person I find myself lost in the lament about how things change, how such and so is “no more,” how things used to be. But recently I got a dose of something opposite: When I was in my early 20s I worked as a nanny for three little girls. For two years I spent many hours a day with them and they were the first children I ever loved. I felt (and feel) I knew everything about their joys, woes, preferences, temperaments, anxieties, talents. Eventually they moved away and for 35 years we lost contact. Recently, reflecting on the astounding sweetness I’d experienced during that time in my life, I googled their names. One came up, and led me to a YouTube series of videos of Elinor, who has become a remarkable classical musician—a maestro with a cello—a larger stringed instrument played upright, usually with a bow. Elinor now performs in ensembles, solos in recitals and—quite often, I’ve learned–discusses various things cello in interviews. I watch these videos with reverence. There she is, “my Ellie,” the adorable little fingers I cleaned so many times are now an elegant, sensitive and skilled hand. The warble in her voice, the bend of her neck–I remember feeling I could almost hear her mind as she would struggle to put on her shoe, and now I am watching that same mind interpret the most complex western musical compositions ever written. At two, she was who she is now. Her appearance has changed; her essence has endured.


Fruits of Collaboration

The Jaipur Federation filed a complaint against the Resident Welfare Association of Pratap Enclave where street dogs were commonly harassed. The association also threatened Mrs. Ritu Singh, an animal activist who raised her voice for these dogs. While the police has listed the matter and are happy to help, the cruelty in the society is far from over. For this purpose, JFAPO has decided to counsel the members of the society to change their perception and approach to street dogs.
Meanwhile, local organisations in Kerala have started coordinated action against the Forest Department’s decision to bring 101 elephants from all over the state to a local event in Trivandrum.


Dog Tales

The recent First Aid Workshop at Varanasi was a huge success! More than 22 activists actively participated in the workshop, and more new faces are joining the movement to help animals in Varanasi! ‘Satya Manthan’ , an organisation that has been working with us in the city, also took keen interest in the workshop, sending more than five volunteers for the training.Over 15 animals were treated for injuries or illnesses this fortnight.


Living Free

On 20th March, Living Free conducted the “MEATOUT: Eat Vegan for a Day” campaign in which 7 cities participated and encouraged people to Go Vegan! Activities included fun quizzes, food tasting, leafleting, and much more! We reached out to 1436 people with the message of conscious consumption, and saw active participation from the audience across the country. Veganism is surely catching the eyes and ears of many!
And now Living Free is all geared up to celebrate the completion of one year of ‘The day of Living Free’ that is the 12th April! On this occasion we’ve got an exciting campaign lined up – Free Your Imagination!


Farm to Freedom

Setting up of all Holstein dairy farms in India is becoming increasingly commonplace – however, what is seen as a rising trend now is the use of PET bottles for packaged milk. While PET bottles have only been around for about 2 years or so in India, they are likely to constitute about 20% of the whole PET bottles share by 2020. Here’s another reason to give up milk today!

At the same time, animal activists all over are also uniting in their fight to save farmed animals! In the past two weeks, the Jaipur federation has been taking active steps in fighting cases of direct animal cruelty. Recently, two complaints were filed against illegal meat shops in Pratap Nagar in Jaipur and swift action will be soon be delivered with the help of Jaipur Nagar Nigam.


Make a donation today for animals, and help support our work. Click here to donate!


Click here for more pictures of ‘Meatout – Eat Vegan for a Day’ held on the 20th of March across India!


Help in Suffering completes 35 years!

One of India’s leading animal protection organization, Help in Suffering (HIS) is celebrating 35 years of service to the animals of Jaipur and surrounding areas. Established by the indomitable Crystal Rogers, and carried forward by Christine Townend and Timmie Kumar, HIS has been a pioneer of data driven ABC, care of captive elephants and runs the only camel rescue and treatment facility in India. The Indian animal protection community proudly celebrates this landmark event and congratulates the HIS team. For more information on HIS and their work, click here.


In Focus : Stray Relief Animal Welfare (STRAW India)

“A caring attitude is hidden deep inside each one of us and if we allow this attitude to be brought forward, even in small little ways, there would be no creature – big or small – on this earth ever in discomfort and pain’’ . Set up with this philosophy at heart, STRAW has enabled thousands of individuals to take action for animals! Read about them here.


Support the Code of Practices for Egg Laying Hens!

Conventional battery cages violate the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. Click here to send a letter to Mr. Kumar Anil from the Bureau of Indian Standards to extend your support for better practices for egg laying hens!


Mumbai abattoir workers want to lift the beef-trade ban

Repulsive as the job of slaughtering animals must be, protests broke out in Mumbai by workers demanding that the government overturn the beef-trade ban on grounds that they know no other “skill.” Read more here.

Unbearable life of a bull

Maharashtra’s beef ban makes it illegal to sell and possess beef, with punishment up to five years in jail. This is not just a reinstatement of the 1995 bill passed by the then BJP Shiv Sena government. That bill never got the President’s assent and hence never became the law. The present law has a much stiffer prison sentence. Unlike 1995, even the possession of beef is now a crime. Note that cow slaughter is already illegal in most states of India. The Maharashtra law extends that and now makes it illegal to slaughter bulls and male calves of cows and buffaloes. Adult buffalo slaughter is not illegal, but possession of beef can put you in jail. Consumption or import of beef is, however, not (yet) illegal. The ban has generated a huge debate. Read more here.

After dead croc, heads of ‘wild boars’ found near Vihar lake

The remains of dead and dismembered wild animals suggest hunting, poaching and consuming, but who’s doing it has the forest department responsible for Borivali’s Sanjay Gandhi National Park pose a mystery for the forest department.
This incident comes less than a month after the body of a crocodile with a bloated stomach was found on March 5 in the same area. A month before that, the bodies of nine monkeys were recovered from the banks of the Tulsi lake, on February 7. Post-mortem had confirmed poisoning of these protected wild animals. Read more here.


Maharashtra’s beef ban to boost chicken deaths

Chicken traders are hoping to get a rise in demand for bird flesh now that cattle killing has been banned in Maharashtra. Read more here.

Vizag zoo bid for “safaris”- additional confinements for entertainment

The Indira Gandhi Zoo Park in Visakhapatnam is hoping for permissions and funds to build a snazzy new complex to attract more tourists. Zoos are careful to educate the public that confining animals makes fun for humans. We’re against it. Read more here.

Maharashtra lost 10 big cats in two months

Three tigresses and seven leopards died within about two months in Maharashtra. Two were killed by speeding vehicles. The tiger census for 2014 counts 2,226 tigers, up from 1,706 in 2010. Maharashtra has around 190 such big cats; the number was 169 in 2010. Their habitat continues to be robbed and poaching proceeds. Pitiable that humans exert such self-centredness. Read more here.

Slaughter ban leaves animal killers in a quandary
The state government decision of a ban on slaughtering unproductive bulls and oxen has brought down their prices drastically. According to dairy farmers accustomed to selling off their older cows and male calves, are plumb out of ideas what to do. Breeding them for money and killing them for money was so much easier than taking care of them! Cattle traders need to learn some creative skills. Read more here.


We recently had the chance to meet an activist who has earlier this month been documenting the slaughter of birds and buffalo. Although she had previously seen many expose films she had never seen, heard and smelled the suffering of farmed animals in three dimensions. We talked about the short—and long-term—impact of absorbing the suffering. “I felt ashamed to be part of this despicable race,” she said at the beginning of our conversation. But as the evening wore on, we spoke of other things—her beloved dog, the outstanding people she works with, what work we can do to work together and the progress that the animal movement is making. By the end I could see the waves of peace washing over her good soul. “I know this is part of my work for animals. They need this, and for reasons I don’t even understand, I’m in this position to help them right now. I have to do it,” she said with a smile. “Even if it hurts me. Imagine what it does to them.”


Erika Abrams

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