Fortnightly Commentary No 82: May 8th, 2015, 6000 people

Dear Friends & Members,

Obsession with cleanliness and “germaphobia” blights the minds of increasing numbers of affluent people who use huge amounts of chemical cleaners, bleaches, solvents and excessive commercial soap products on clothes, skin and hair. I am not exempt from the advertising hype that plays into the fear of grime. “No! Too dirty!” I thought I might have said facing a water tub that 15 dogs had swum in. We’ve converted a big water tank into a swimming pool for handicapped dogs. And in 44 degrees, a bit of floating dog hair is nothin’. One-on-one supervision means crouching neck deep in water that turns brown after just a few furry paraplegics plunge in. According to a report in MedicineNet, germaphobes suffer from obsession-compulsive disorder. Thanks to the disabled dogs, I don’t suffer from OCD. Their relief, as they motor along the surface, their useless hind legs floating up behind them and their front legs churning the cool water with confidence, is so beautiful it leaves no time to care about a little bit of dirt. Like the Ganges, this brown water is holy.


Fruits of Collaboration

Pune organisations met last week to discuss common problems surrounding ABC, displacement of dogs and the issue of minimum standards not being met in ABC facilities. Besides valuable information-sharing, the collective has also decided to approach the standing and monitoring committees together to advocate for better ABC. And that is not all – they are also collaborating for conducting a city-wide anti-rabies vaccination drive on the upcoming World Zoonosis Day on 7th July and sharing data to develop a strong case for ABC in Pune!
Meanwhile, national and local organisations conducted a joint operation in Thrissur last week to rehabilitate 19 animals in the possession of Grand circus. The animals are presently in the care of PAWS and PFA Trivandrum.


Dog Tales

Students – Onlookers – People – Passersby – Locals, these are all the people who have been sensitized in Varanasi, who spring into action whenever they are needed. Animal protection seems quite infectious and when such incidents happen, our team experiences a gush of motivation and excitement! Last fortnight, a female dog suffered from bad luck as she first suffered had an ear injury, then another accident with leg fracture and then diagnosed with cancer in genital region. Thanks to Lakhan- a local chaiwala, who actively reported about the dog to us who then received plaster of Paris and treatment. Current situation is that she’s happy with her pups at the tea stall, although her leg is in a cast.
Similarly, a barber saved a wounded pigeon by taking care until it could fly again and an old lady, who sells flowers on the roadside, is making 4 newborn puppies learn how to avoid being on the road to prevent accidents.
One gets flooded with heart-warming emotions to hear of such things which quite tell the fact that the actions we undertake are inspiring and get imbibed by the locals so well.


Living Free

“Don’t ignore pain; appreciate its message: You need to change now!” – Shannon L. Alder To make way for change, creating awareness is of great importance. One way to make a strong case for animals is to show videos! Exposing the hidden realities of farmed animals through videos is an extremely effective outreach format. We’ve compiled a video library to make it easier for you to start – access it here.
Another city also recently joined Living Free – Thrissur, Kerala! Save a Life foundation is all set to take command of its city and outreach and aware its people. With this, Thrissur becomes the second city in Kerala, after Trivandrum, where volunteers actively conduct outreach on reduction of consumption of animal products. To start Living Free in your city, contact


Farm to Freedom

As a result of the inspection activity conducted in collaboration with Food Safety Officers 15 days ago, chickens in the meat shops in Jaipur were seen to have significantly improved living conditions! These chickens had been provided with basic minimum amenities like food, water and shelter. Waste management was also seen at the shops along with temporary arrangements to separate/cover the slaughter area.
Based on the success of this activity, more such activities are now being organised and we are also now exploring working with the Municipal Corporation and the Pollution Control Board as well. The first complaint against a large number of meat shops of Jaipur is being made to the Pollution Board this week and we are currently helping the local activists gather evidence for this.


Stopping illegal slaughter and improving lives of chickens in meatshops! Help support our work. Click here to donate!

Industrialised dairy sector booming in India!

3.5 million small dairy farms having about 50- 200 animals have shut down in the last 18 years in Pakistan. This represents about 30 % of the total number. In India, Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana have seen an increasing number of smaller farmers opt out. Subsidies
on imports, uncompetitive prices, but mostly the sharp progress of the industrialised dairy sector have led to this predicament.
Thus, any ideologies of Indian milk ‘coming from small holders, well fed cows roaming pasture lands’ is now a utopian ideal. Intensive dairy farming is the here and now, and the only solution is to curb consumption. Voiceless, an independent, non-profit think tank tells us why intensive farming is bad for cows. Read more here.


Infocus: ResQ Charitable Trust, Pune

A quick response to street animal emergencies is their speciality. But, having contributed to the rehabilitation of 5 abused elephants so far, this organisation proves that it’s up for any mammoth task that comes along!  Read more here!

The sudden and quiet departure of John Hicks

FIAPO Chairperson Norma Alvares has written a moving tribute to animal rights advocate John Hicks, who passed away in February.
Read more here.


Forest Dept resists help for elephants but pressure forces change

In Thiruvananthapuram TOI reported that the Forest Department had resisted interfering in the welfare of two temple elephants, but after  pressure from animal welfare groups, government officials and the AWBI, the Chief WildlifeWarden has promised to shift one of the elephants to its rehab center in Kottur. A PIL had been filed by PFA demanding immediate medical help to the ailing elephants. Read more here.

Javadekar launches CPCSEA website

Minister of State for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar has launched a website of the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA). Javadekar said that efforts should be made to minimize the use of animals for carrying out experiments, and hailed the website as “another step in ushering in more transparency” in the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Read more here.


Himachal told to stop sterilizing monkeys; CM wants them killed as “vermin”

AWBI has asked Himachal Pradesh to stop its monkey sterilization programme till it ensures humane treatment of the primates, according to a report in Himachal’s Chief Minister is more concerned that monkeys should be killed than treated humanely. He wants monkeys declared vermin, so that anyone can kill them. The very status of “vermin” assumes that some species fall outside India’s constitutional directive to show compassion to all living beings. FIAPO strenuously objects to the suggestion that primates could ever be exempt from laws protecting animals from cruelty. Read more here.

Ever heard the expression “sweat the big things?” It means, don’t lose your cool over trivial matters. I heard an anecdote about one enlightenment-seeker who deemed himself enlightened only after his palms stopped perspiring when he greeted new people. The philosophers behind these sweat-references must have never lived in India during May. Buddha himself must have been sweating profusely right in the midst of paramAnanda, happy, blissful, the soul stilled in meditation and Oneness. Animals and people for whom the habitat is natural often have ways of making the most of the heat. The native Americans had the wisdom to create sweat-teepees so as not to fight against the current on their way to wisdom. I watch the dogs on the streets covered in sewer water with sweet smiles on their faces. Birds wet their wings on the moisture collected on little leaves from the morning dew, almost invisible to our eyes. But animals who came to states like Rajasthan by unnatural means–the aching elephants, the long-haired force-bred dogs like German Shepherds, the thousands of cows who were bred to stand endlessly in scorching barns, these animals can only dream of the cooling waters so beloved to their ancestors. FIAPO’s members are working to right these injustices. Working in the heat, powered by empathy.


Erika Abrams

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