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A stray bull being fed by Mr. Mantu Das, a volunteer with our disaster response team.

A stray bull being fed by Mr. Mantu Das, a volunteer with our disaster response team.

By Rashmi Ranjan,

On behalf of the APOWA team

APOWA has been providing relief to animals in cyclone- and flood-affected villages of Odisha, India.  Phailin left a trail of destruction.  According to the report of the Animal Resource Development Department, Government of Odisha, over seven million animals were adversely affected.

The cyclone, attaining a windspeed of 220 kilometers per hour (136 miles per hour) killed 1,500 large animals, 3,000 small animals and 600,000 birds.

Recent heavy rains, due to another low pressure system that formed over the Bay of Bengal on the Odisha coast, have worsened the suffering of Phailin victims. A continuous downpour has made life precarious and painful in the affected areas.

Since the cyclone struck, APOWA’s disaster response team has been conducting rescue and relief work on the basis of a war footing.  We’ve been helped by five animal caretakers who feed neighborhood dogs and an honorary animal welfare officer, certified by the Animal Welfare Board of India.

Our Kindness vehicle has been traveling from village to village in the affected areas, offering much-needed assistance and providing vital resources to the animals in distress. Our team of one veterinarian, three paravets (vet techs), and 14 volunteers has been on the go tirelessly, treating animals and providing emergency feeding.

Mr. Bijaya, of APOWA, with neighborhood dogs in  Singhagaon village.

Mr. Bijaya, of APOWA, with neighborhood dogs in Singhagaon village.

October 19, 2013

Our team spent a whole day at Singhagaon village, where a great many animals – neighborhood dogs, stray bulls, cats, and buffaloes were suffering from injury, hunger, dehydration, fever, and coughs.  Some kind volunteers from the community joined our team and pitched in, helping to feed the dogs, cats, and cows. Our team provided treatment and feeding to 68 animals in the village.

Mr. Mantu Das feeding hungry cows in affected areas.

Mr. Mantu Das feeding hungry cows in affected areas.

October 20, 2013

It’s been a full week since we started providing relief to the surviving animals of the cyclone and flooding. Today, we rushed to Bishnupur village, where we treated and gave food to 54 animals.

October 21, 2013

Today our team treated and fed 71 animals at Berhampur village of Pattamundai block.

October 22, 2013

A team from Humane Society International (HSI) Asia headed by Soham Mukherjee and two veterinarians joined our team at Kantiagarh and Laxmipur village of Ganjam District. There 133 animals were treated and emergency feeding provided.

Two volunteers brought two baby goats to Dr. Laxman Behera for treatment.

Two volunteers brought two baby goats to Dr. Laxman Behera for treatment.

October 23, 2013

We continue our lifesaving work for animals and our rescue and relief efforts.  Our team moved to Kusumi village of Aul block, which had been cut off, entirely surrounded by rivers and severely affected by both the cyclone and the floods.  There 83 animals were treated and 52 animals were given food.

Our disaster response team traveled by boat to reach cyclone and flood victims.

Our disaster response team traveled by boat to reach cyclone and flood victims.

Our priority in this disaster is to aid homeless, stray animals who need emergency vet care and food.  At the same time, we are continuing our regular work helping other animals.

Without proper electricity and no drinking water, food procurement is a big problem faced by our team.  Despite the difficulty, we’re doing everything possible to get food and treatment to the animals. Because of our love for the animals, we will continue to stay here, working on their behalf until the situation improves.

We are grateful to all of our supporters, well-wishers, and to the district administration for their timely cooperation in our work for the animals in the aftermath of cyclone Phailin.

To visit the website of APOWA, click here.

For an easy way to donate, via Help Animals India, click here.

Photos: Courtesy of APOWA

Voices and Visions

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Many groups have been very hard at work, in the midst of ongoing floods, rescuing, feeding and providing vet care to animals following cyclone Phailin.  Among them is The Maitri Club.

Due to the cyclone and power cuts, Kailash Ch Maharana, Chairman of the Maitri Club, writes that it has been impossible for him, until now, to receive or send emails.

They are located in the District of Ganjam, 30 kilometers (18 miles) away from Gopalpur, where cyclone Phailin stuck the sea coast of Orissa, India.

He writes, “Here the situation is horrible.”

On October 12, just before the storm struck, they safely evacuated all the cattle from 13 villages. The cattle are still feeling unsettled and greatly stressed.

Immediately after the cyclone, they were unable to move for two days due to fallen trees.  After the 14th,  they rounded up ten volunteers and set about helping the…

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© Tsiumpa  dreamstime_xs_21595354

By Faizan Jaleel

 

Faizan Jaleel, animal advocate and Muslim, gives a compassionate and clarifying insight into the original intent and meaning of Eid – Editor

 

Many million goats, cows, bulls, camels, sheep and buffaloes have already been slaughtered (sacrificed) in the way of Allah (the most merciful, beneficent and loving) – when we refer to Allah as a Muslim with faith on the holy Quran, it goes out without effort that we are referring to ALLAH – the most merciful, beneficent and loving and this does not limit only to Humans but to all the life and life forms in the entire Universe. When I see it in the reflection of blood and pain that poor animals are subjected to during the festival, I feel pained at the very abject misunderstanding of Islam and Allah’s wishes by my fellow brothers and sisters.

 

It is indeed very difficult for a Muslim to unlearn and relearn especially in terms of religion or may be this holds true for every religion as presented by humans in their current form. “How can we give up Qurbani (ritual sacrifice of an animal), what will people say” or “I have the best and the most expensive Bakra (Goat)” or “I sacrificed three goats and a bull” – this certainly is not what Allah wanted to convey through the pinnacle of sacrifice that Prophet Ibrahim undertook and selflessly performed. He was pained at the thought of sacrificing his son, with tears in his eyes and since he was not able to see what he was supposed to do, he blindfolded himself – that was the pain of sacrifice and there was this lesson – that Allah may want you to sacrifice whatever and however dear it may be to you! And today what have we made of this lesson is for ourselves to introspect and decide. You may not be able to or may find it very difficult to hold up against the communities satirical comments and remarks but in your heart you will understand and know that this is not what is required, may be letting go of a goat (letting her live) that you just bought out of your savings is a better sacrifice than slaughtering that poor animal to prove that you are an abiding muslim and live your life in accordance with what you have seen and experienced (not studied and understood)!!

 

Indeed Allah the merciful, beneficent and loving has created everything in this universe and mankind is supposedly the best of all the creations and yes indeed Allah has allowed to us the meat of certain animals and all the good things like fruits and vegetables but in giving us all this, Allah has given us a choice of selection – and the choice is ours to make!

 

There is nowhere in the holy Quran mentioned that you will not be considered a Muslim if you do not consume meat or you will not be a good muslim if you only consume veggies and fruits. So the choices we make are all ours and putting these choices on Allah’s will is sheer ignorance and lack of will to stand up to what is right.

 

To make my point more simple, Islam has defined what is called as the “Five Pillars of Islam” – to be considered as five primary obligations that each Muslim must fulfil in his/her life time and these are:

 

  1. Shahadah:The complete acceptance of faith that “there is no God but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God” – one statement or as we call it the “Kalma” that expresses a complete acceptance of Islam and commitment towards it.
  2. Salah: The prayers, (five times a day) second pillar of Islam, Islamic faith is based on the belief that individuals have a direct relationship with Allah
  3. Zakat: Almsgiving is the third pillar of Islam, it is an obligation for each Muslim to give Zakat, a certain percentage of the net worth (2.5%) has to be given on a regular basis
  4. Sawm: Fasting during the month of Ramadan is the fourth pillar of Islam
  5. Hajj: The pilgrimage to Makkah is the fifth pillar of Islam and a duty for all the Muslims in the world who are physically and financially capable of taking up the journey.

 

These five pillars provide the basic identity to a Muslim and as we can see, it no where includes eating meat, or slaughtering animals for business and food as a mark of a Muslim.

 

I can say from my own exposure and experience to a multitude of muslim communities across India that a majority of Muslims find it quite difficult to follow these basic pillars of Islam. But a majority of the same Muslims will sacrifice a goat or any other allowed animal to reiterate the misleading fact of being a Muslim or being a part or larger Ignorance of Muslims.

 

I get many messages with abuses, hurts and full of indecency for my efforts to portray the very polite, humane and natural side of Islam and I know with conviction that my Allah wants me to do this. However I best ignore them as they are work of misguided minds and lack of enlightenment. They have read the scriptures but haven’t yet understood the meaning – the same way as this year on Eid al Adha, they have slaughtered many animals, millions of them without making any sacrifice!!!

 

I have firm faith that things will change and cruelty will end – someday soon we will have our EID – of peace, love and compassion!

 

Do visit and like my page on facebook: “Celebrate Eid al Adha without Cruelty”

 

This year we did engage with some, Inshallah till next Eid we will have more enlightened minds to spread the message of peace and love for all life forms!

 

To visit the Facebook page “Celebrate Eid al Adha without Cruelty,” click here.

Caution: Some of the photos are very graphic.

 

Top photo: © Tsiumpa / Dreamstime.com

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Connecting the Dots: Perception of nature through artistic illustration

An exhibition of exquisite nature illustrations rendered on paper with ink by Saleem Hameed – Wildlife Rehabilitator, Photographer, and Illustrator.

October 28 – November 2, 2013  11am – 7 pm

Renaissance Gallery #104, Westminster complex

13 Cunningham Road, Bangalore

Telephone (Gallery) 080 22202232

(Gallery will remain closed on November 1.)

 

Invite online ver

 

 

Invite online ver

 

 

 

Invite online ver

 

 

 

APOWA’s disaster rescue team member, Mr. Subhajyoti Panda, feeds a homeless dog  in Pallibandha village of Ganjam district)

APOWA’s disaster rescue team member, Mr. Subhajyoti Panda, feeds a homeless dog
in Pallibandha village of Ganjam district.

By Rashmi Ranjan,

On behalf of the APOWA Team,

Odisha, India

APOWA’s Disaster Response team is working to help the animal survivors of the devastating cyclone and flood in Odisha. Our team has been working relentlessly since the cyclone ‘Phailin’ hit the Odisha coast on October 12, 2013. The footprint of the cyclone is huge and immeasurable.

October 16, 2013:

One of our teams, headed by Dr. Laxman Behera, reached Pallibandha in the Ganjam block of Ganjam district, a village with a mostly homeless dog and feral cat population, already struggling to survive before the cyclone. We helped 64 distressed animals by providing food, water, and treatment.

APOWA is a non-profit organisation that mobilizes volunteers and resources for animal victims.

A volunteer helps an injured stray dog, about to be treated by APOWA’s vet doctor, Dr Laxman Behera, at Pallibandha village in Ganjam district.

A volunteer helps an injured stray dog, about to be treated by APOWA’s vet doctor, Dr. Laxman Behera, at Pallibandha village in Ganjam district.

Injury and disease are always common following a severe cyclone, whenever saltwater pours into a seaside village.

October 17, 2013:

Our team rushed to Purunabandha, a seaside village in Ganjam district, severely affected by the cyclone. Mr. Bichitra Biswal and Mr. Sukumar Parida, along with two other volunteers, gave emergency feeding to stray dogs, cats, and cattle. Meanwhile, Mr. Subhajyoti Panda and Mr. Rabindra Sahoo assisted Dr. Behera with the treatment of animals. 59 animals were treated by the team in this village.

Mr. Sukumar Parida, one of APOWA’s disaster response team members, caring for a surviving cat at Purunabandha village in Ganjam district.

Mr. Sukumar Parida, one of APOWA’s disaster response team members, caring for a surviving cat at Purunabandha village in Ganjam district.

We bring food to many cattle roaming in cyclone-affected areas.

We bring food to many cattle roaming in cyclone-affected areas.

A surviving feral cat walks along a street in Purunabandha village.

A surviving feral cat walks along a street in Purunabandha village.

October 18, 2013:

It was another long working day for our team at Binchanapalli in the Palibandha Panchayat of the Ganjam block of Ganjam district. Our work is saving lives through emergency feeding and treatment efforts; we’re giving the most vulnerable animals a chance to get back on their feet in this emergency situation. Over 83 animals have been treated for fevers, coughs, and injuries.

These rescued dogs are so happy to eat, they have no problem sharing their food.

These rescued dogs are so happy to eat, they have no problem sharing their food.

Cows are roaming the streets in cyclone-stricken parts of Ganjam district. One of our volunteers is providing emergency feeding.

Cows are roaming the streets in cyclone-stricken
parts of Ganjam district. One of our volunteers is providing emergency feeding.

After the cyclone moved along the Odisha coast on October 12, 2013, it left both people and animals feeling insecure and unsettled.

After the cyclone moved along the Odisha coast on October 12, 2013, it left both people and animals feeling insecure and unsettled.

“Animals are the most innocent and helpless victims of this catastrophe,” said APOWA’s vet doctor, Dr. Laxman Behera. “They are frightened, injured and hungry. We are providing veterinary care, as well as emergency feeding and planning for vaccinations and measures to prevent a disease outbreak.”

Because of our past disaster response experience, we now have in place dedication and commitment to hard work, and an understanding of what is needed to deal with the situation. Combined with our genuine love for the animals, our teams will be in place until the situation improves. There is still flooding and anguish in most villages. People’s frustration is running high in affected areas.

For more information or to help APOWA’s flood relief work with a donation, visit the website of Help Animals India.

Photos: © APOWA

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APOWA’s flood relief work in 2011

 

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Providing food to stranded cattle in 2011

 

 

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Giving food to a hungry bull – 2011

 

The fierce winds of cyclone Phaillin blew away the outside extension roof of APOWA’s animal shelter, though the rest of the shelter is okay.

 

Cyclone Phaillin was the strongest cyclone to hit India in 14 years, and it caused widespread damage. Nearly a million people were evacuated before the storm hit, which saved a great many lives, and the human death toll was low.

 

However, many homes were lost; there are many displaced pets, and farm animals are left without a source of food, since pastures are covered in water and food supplies were drenched by the storm.

 

At APOWA’s shelter, they are coping with an influx of new animals, brought to them when people in the nearby villages, Poipat and Ghigidia, rushed to take cover from the storm in their shelter.  There are now 48 animals, both large and small, being cared for at the shelter.

 

APOWA has sent a team of rescuers to the worst-hit areas nearby in the Kendrapara district.  The team is providing vet care, food and medicine to animals stranded in the floods.

 

The electricity is still out most of the time, and the flood relief team has not yet been able to send back reports or photos.  The images above are of the work that APOWA did in 2011, following another cyclone, in which they provided much-needed food and vet care to thousands of cows whose pastures were covered in floodwaters and rescued many pets who were left homeless.

 

For more information or to help APOWA’s flood relief work with a donation, visit the website of Help Animals India.

 

Photos: Courtesy of APOWA