Fortnightly Commentary No 88: July 1st, 2015, 6000 people

Dear Friends and Members,

Floods, storms and electricity out for 4 days. At my house it has meant no water for all that time. My house-helper has been out for 2 weeks with a sprained wrist. The sink backed up so that the rainwater I was attempting to use to wash the dishes flooded greasy water onto the already filthy kitchen floor. There are leaks throughout the house and I spend my spare moments running from room to room wringing out soggy towels and rugs. But there is something equalizing in all of this. Our staff come slogging through the mud and wet, rushing from animal area to animal area to catch leaks, stem floods, identify animals too weak or confused to take shelter under roves and behind tarpaulin and canvas sheets. We are one, we storm survivors. Being struck by floods or storms or earthquakes or fires makes family of strangers. The rich might be able to contract help services faster than the poor, but there are intervals when, without telephones and lights, we are sisters and brothers in inconvenience, to say nothing of sorrow. It’s not a bad reminder that we’re all one. There are many sayings about the need to be generous today, because “you can’t take it with you,” and  “there are no pockets in a shroud.” I’d say this flood bears a message in its sheets of pelting rain. It’s what cats know. Don’t worry. Be happy.

Fruits of Collaboration
In solidarity with local organisations and activists in Kerala, FIAPO is developing a legal intervention to foil attempts of barbaric killing of street dogs. Animal protection organisations in Kerala have been mobilised to pool in information on these killings from different places. This will add strength to a collective petition to stop the brutal killings. Living Free activists in Chennai partnered with one of our member organisations – Karuna International, to conduct a humane education programme for 40 educators. On the circus front, members of the Jaipur federation and activists in Maharashtra initiated action to free animals from captivity in circuses camped in their respective regions.

Dog Tales
A little effort made in time and a little sense of responsibility borne on our souls, go on to work wonders that can miraculously convert a life threatening situation to a life saving action. Time and again our activists in Varanasi have proved the aforesaid fact. A pup on the streets could have died of a serious maggot wound, a female dog could have succumbed to a vertebral fracture and three suckling orphan puppies would have had an uncertain future…had there been no action on part of the activists. ‘Building a movement’ isn’t always just the movement of masses, it’s basically the movement from within. This fortnight conveys just that.

Living Free

The month of July echoed with the splendour of International Justice Day and its success and enthusiasm from leaders, volunteers and public alike. Through this #JusticeForAnimals campaign, more than 5000 people were reached out to in 20 cities with as many as 42 events taking place from July 3 till July 17. Such has been the passion and fervour with which our Living Free leaders have spread the message of compassion to all animals. If you wish to be involved in more campaigns that we conduct, write to us at

Farm to Freedom
July saw a downpour of complaints being filed by activists in Jaipur against illegal slaughter in meat and chicken shops. The chicken shop campaign has inspired people in many areas of Jaipur to file complaints against illegal slaughter. Like in Gandhinagar, where a Jaipur federation activist filed a complaint with the Jaipur Municipal Corporation against illegal slaughter in several shops of that area.

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PFAPO Join Forces for City-Wide
Anti-Rabies Drive

Pune Federation joined forces to organize a city-wide anti rabies vaccination camp as part of the World Zoonosis Day, vaccinating approximately 370 dogs. Read more here.

Click here to see all the pictures of International Justice Day, including the demo in where it
got covered in
news as well!

Infocus: Humane Animal Society (HAS), Coimbatore
Rescue and rehab of street animals has been their forte. With the inception of more volunteers, this organisation is now leading public campaigns to reduce animal consumption in Coimbatore. Read more about them here.

Nepal temple bans mass animal slaughter at Gadhimai festival

In a victory for activists, Nepalese temple authorities have announced they will end a centuries-old Hindu tradition of mass animal slaughter that attracts hundreds of thousands of worshippers. Some 2.5 million worshippers sacrificed an estimated 200,000 animals during the most recent instalment of the Gadhimai festival held last November in the village of Bariyapur near the Indian border. Read more here.

Norms to hunt ‘vermin’ nilgais, wild boars relaxed

Amid pressure from people’s representatives, the Maharashtra state government has issued a Government Resolution (GR) making it easy to hunt nilgai and wild boar causing crop depredation. Generally, GRs are issued to frame proper procedure, but the GR on hunting of the two species itself lacks clarity. Wildlife experts fear the relaxation may be misused to kill the two herbivore species on a large-scale as the basic condition of killing the animals by registered hunters having licensed guns has been withdrawn. Read more here.

Tea gardens to turn wildlife mini-sanctuaries soon

A number of tea plantations in Assam would soon be converted into wildlife havens to protect its fauna and reduce cases of man-animal conflict. Read more here.

Govt lays down rules to ferry animals meant for slaughter

The Surface Transport Ministry notified changes in the Motor Vehicles Act that require animal transportation vehicles to be registered as such with the respective Road Transport Offices (RTOs) and specially structured for transportation of specific animals. The move comes after a series of petitions from animal rights activists about the harsh conditions in which animals are transported. Read more here.

Garbage mounds, Guruvayur’s jumbo woe

Mounds of garbage, that include dung, urine and leaves, pose a serious threat to the health of 58 elephants of the Guruvayur Devaswom at its anakkotta , the Thrissur-based Heritage Animal Task Force has alleged. The petition of the Task Force alleged that the Devaswom has not made any scientific waste management mechanism for treating the huge amount of garbage generated in the anakkotta. Read more here.

IISER registrar withdraws letter on export of canines

The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Bhopal registrar K V Satya Murty on Wednesday withdrew his statement on exporting dogs to countries like China, where dog meat is consumed, after receiving flak from animal activists and officials from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). Read more here.

The announcement a few days ago, that there will no longer be animal sacrifice at the Gadhimai festival in Nepal has brought upon great joy to animal advocates across the globe. Gadhimai intervention activists, letter writers, friends who shared stories about Gadhimai on social media, protesters, drew passionate actions not only from activists across India but across the world. What ultimately persuaded the temple priest? Was it the invitation to come to the India for Animals Conference? Was it private negotiations between himself and animal activists? Was it his being moved by the dedication of throngs of caring people from across India? Was it the letters and petitions? None of us—and probably the temple priest—will ever be sure. But it is a wonderful example of the way in which pressure exerted from many quarters in many different ways affects a change of heart, a change of mind. I am sure that not only has sacrificed ended in Gadhimai due to this mass protest, but this has also focused attention on animal killing for food and fashion. That is the take-away from Gadhimai.


Erika Abrams