A cruelty-free world for animals: This is the proverbial pole star that guides the course of Humane Society International/India. While there is a lot to do and achieve for animals in the coming year, here's a small glimpse of how we made a difference in 2015!
Preventing animal-fighting events
January saw roosters, bulbuls, buffaloes, mynahs and bulls pitted against each other in cruel and inhumane duels, but HIS personnel and volunteers procured vital evidence against the practice and conducted outreach to raise awareness of the cruelty involved.
• After a petition supported by HSI/India, the Supreme Court upheld the status quo on a cockfighting ban. The Supreme Court of India maintained prohibition on cockfighting in Andhra Pradesh against a petition filed to lift the ban on it.
• We intervened and prevented cock-fighting events in Ulhasnagar in Maharashtra and Baripada in Orissa
• We successfully appealed to the government of Assam to ensure that no animal fighting events were organised in the state.
This month, HSI/India, backed by 35 NGOs and 8,000 postcards from members of the public, urged the Goa government to keep the ban on bullfighting and not legalise it.
Photo Credit: Biju Boro
Ending animal sacrifice in Gadhimai
HSI/India, with the support of its partner organisation in Nepal, Animal Welfare Network Nepal (AWNN), held intensive negotiations with key government officials and members of the Gadhimai Temple Trust that led to their decision to end animal sacrifice at the Gadhimai festival. HSI/India awarded the Sashastra Seema Bal -- the armed police guarding the Indo-Nepal border -- with the Leadership in Animal Welfare award for helping to prevent the smuggling of animals from India during last year's festival.
Photo Credit: Kuni Takahashi/AP Images for HSI
Capture of Indian rollers during Dussehra
HSI/India urged Telangana officials to crack down on the cruel and illegal capture and trade of the beautiful Indian roller bird during Dussehra. We worked with the Forest Department and other Government officials to conduct humane education about the issue for schoolchildren and the general public which resulted in a more than 70% reduction in the display of these birds.
Photo Credit: Rohan Chakravarty/HSI India
Relief work in Nepal and Chennai
When an earthquake struck Nepal this April, HSI/India, along with our international team swiftly deployed a group of disaster relief experts with medicines, vaccines, surgical equipment, food and other supplies to provide aid and prevent the spread of disease.
Photo Credit: HSI
In the aftermath of the deluge in Chennai this December, we deployed a rescue team of veterinarians equipped with inflatable boats, rope, life-jackets and veterinary medical supplies. We joined forces with Blue Cross of India to treat sick and injured animals; and also supplied local residents with food and other aid.
Photo Credit: HSI
After the tragic death of Chanchal, a former circus elephant living in deplorable conditions near Mysuru, HSI/India and others successfully urged the Karnataka Forest Department to rescue the remaining four elephants after more than five months of neglect. Efforts to bring the abusers to justice are underway.
Photo Credit: Vasudev Murthy
Street dog welfare
As part of the Centre's National Rabies Control Programme, HSI/India is addressing the challenge of street dogs in Hisar, Haryana. The Population Management Programme will comprise census surveys of street and owned dogs, community awareness drives, anti-rabies initiatives, immunisation and sterilisation of street and pet dogs, to cover at least 70% of the population.
When the Kerala government announced the mass culling of street dogs, HSI/India was instrumental in working with the state and central governments as well as the community on the impact of the Animal Birth Control programme. Consequently, the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India ordered the implementation of ABC to control the street dog population in all states of India.
Photo Credit: Frank Loftus
Help for thirsty animals
HSI/India collaborated with the Surat-based Prayas Team Environment Charitable Trust to launch a mobile app that will help people distribute and keep track of water bowls for animals. The installation and location of the pot is communicated via GPS coordinates and/or postal address. A real-time administration web-based interface tracks the stocks and distribution of pots and also sends reminders to fill the pot.
Navigating this course was not without its hurdles -- countless animals continue to suffer untold miseries at human hands. Still, they strengthen the collective resolve of the team to work harder for the welfare of animals in 2016. Please, join us in helping promote compassion and a humane society for all beings. Here's to celebrating animals and confronting cruelty till we meet again next year!
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