Animals Asia (www.animalsasia.org) has welcomed news that China intends to end laws requiring cosmetics to be tested on animals.
Guidelines from the China Food and Drug Administration suggest animals testing will no longer be mandatory from June 2014. This will initially be applied to China-made products and eventually, it is anticipated, to imports.
Animals Asia Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale said:
“This is not the first time in recent weeks that we have talked of significant breakthroughs in terms of animal welfare in China. Young people are turning in greater numbers to animal welfare activism and they are being heard.
“This change has been long hoped for but few anticipated it happening quite so soon. In many ways this is a victory for all anti-testing campaigners. The people who persuaded Western governments to ban animal testing have caused a domino effect that has resonated with both the authorities and people of China resulting in this ground-breaking progress.
“The world has long talked of China being open for business – well now it’s open to discussion too. China is listening and it’s taking action.”
Past regulations meant that if international cosmetics companies wanted to market ranges in China they were forced to test on animals – a fact unlikely to go down well with customers elsewhere.
It’s hoped that while testing on animals has not been outlawed, the option now to create “cruelty free” brands will see increasingly aware consumers lured away from brands associated with animal testing.
Animals Asia founder Jill Robinson added:
“A changing China is the biggest story in international animal welfare activism today. Just as regulations for testing cosmetics can become internationally standardised – so can concepts of animal welfare and conservation.
“Environmentally speaking China is more self-aware than it has ever been. Young people, journalists, politicians, businessmen, China’s citizens – they are all pushing hard for change and there is much evidence to suggest they’re making headway.”
The power has been down here since the area was hit by cyclone Phailin and the floods that followed; this has meant that we’ve had no way to communicate.
Most recently, we rescued more than 1,000 animals from severe flooding in the Aska block of Ganjam District, where three villages were cut off for two days by floodwaters. They were in great danger, but thank God, we were able to save them.
(The Ganjam District of Orissa is on the border of Andhra Pradesh.)
Thanks to all our volunteers and supporters, and with the help of local farmers, we were able to give the animals shelter, a safe place for them to rest, and food.
We’ve continued our work of repairing shelters, and we’ve been educating the owners in the care and adequate feeding of their animals, sometimes returning to the same sites three and four times, as needed. Having repaired more than 1200 shelters so far, we’re happy to see the animals now resting in a dry place, with proper food to eat.
We wish we could cover the entire flooded area of Odisha, but we do as much as we possibly can, as much as time and our finances will allow. We are pleased that we’ve been able to help so many animals.
To visit the website of the Maitri Club, click here.
Conditions are improving gradually in cyclone- and flood-affected districts of coastal Odisha. But the situation in many places of Ganjam district remains grim. The catastrophe has been called the worst in living memory for Odisha. Our disaster response team is still on the scene and, as the roads are being cleared, is now able to reach remote areas to care for the animals.
As well as direct feeding of animals, we have also handed over food to village authorities and community groups so they can continue to feed stray hungry animals in their villages until the situation returns to normal. We are making good progress, but there is still so much to do.
October 29, 2013:
We conducted relief work in the worst affected villages of Niakanthapur, giving relief to 55 animals. We are thankful to the…
Our disaster response team is still hard at work conducting emergency rescue and relief efforts for the animals and people affected by cyclone Phailin and the flooding. The havoc didn’t end with the flooding, but another disaster in the form of incessant heavy rain due to low pressure across the Odisha coast since October 22, 2013 has brought flash floods to severely affected coastal districts. This has also hampered recovery and rescue efforts.
We are providing emergency food, water, medical treatment and, just as important, compassionate care to cyclone victim dogs, cats, goats, sheep, donkeys, and cattle. We are working in the worst affected areas of the Ganjam and Kendrapara districts of Odisha state.
October 24, 2013
We traveled to Kalyanipur village in the Kainchapur panchayat of the Ganjam district, one of the areas hardest hit by cyclone Phailin. Over a hundred homes were leveled. The scene, even more than one week after the cyclone, is truly catastrophic.
At Kalyanipur village, Bichi, Mantu, Sukumar and Bijaya pitched in to help with feeding stray dogs, cats and bulls. The animals were very happy to eat. They fed 86 animals in this village. Subhajyoti, Magta, Nimain, and Fakira assisted Dr. Behera and Dr. Piyush, who is a vet with HSI – Asia (Humane Society International), in treating affected animals. By the end of the day, they had treated 91 animals.
October 25, 2013
The APOWA disaster rescue team is continuing to bring food and treatment to affected animals. Our team, which includes two veterinarians and several volunteers, has been working continuously in the affected areas, supporting relief efforts and providing treatment and emergency feeding. Today, we visited Sanakainchapur of Kainchapur panchayat in the Ganjam district. 76 animals were given food and medical care in this village.
October 26, 2013
Today, our team visited Jagannathpur village of Kainchapur panchayat of the Ganjam district to respond to an urgent plea for help. Our rescue team worked long and hard, and were able to provide relief to 133 animals. They were also given a vitamin supplement. The team immediately got to work mixing vitamins and nutritional supplements into the food for the cattle. The team were helped by community volunteers from the village. This was truly an amazing community of animal lovers!
October 27, 2013
Our disaster response team has been working for the last two weeks to provide relief and rescue to the surviving animals. Today, we visited Borigaon village in the Humma panchayat of the Ganjam district. There we worked with our dear friend, Mr. Rabindra Sahu, and volunteers from the Rushikullay Sea Turtle Protection Committee, Ganjam. Our team treated 92 animals for various ailments, like fevers, coughs, and injuries caused by the cyclone and floods.
October 28, 2013
It was another long working day for APOWA’S disaster rescue team in Satrusoul village in the Subalaya panchayat of the Ganjam district. Our team reached 208 cyclone victim animals providing food and medical treatment. This was a tiring day especially for the drivers Subhajyoti and Mantu who had to drive ten hours straight. The drivers’ dedication to APOWA’s mission and to the animals cannot go unmentioned. Nonstop work, loading, walking, and handling animals illustrate what teamwork and love for animals really means.
This disaster makes everything worse for animals that are already hungry and scared; they search for food. It is estimated that thousands of animals, mostly dogs, cats, and cattle were impacted by the cyclone and flood. Many were injured, sick, weak, and suffering from malnutrition. The unspeakable misery of animals cannot be described in words. APOWA has a long history of responding to natural disasters, which happen in Odisha regularly. “We were one of the few animal welfare organizations on the ground in the aftermath of Cyclone Phailin,” says Dr. Laxman Behera, veterinarian, who is leading our disaster response team. “Not only have we been rescuing hundreds of animals, but we gave them the food and medical care they needed.”
We are grateful to over 20 volunteers who devote their time and love to help us in our mission to rescue, nurture and provide emergency feeding to cyclone and flood victim animals in Odisha. Mr. Bichitra Biswal, who traveled from the Puri district, is part of a dedicated group of core volunteers who have been helping us since the beginning of the cyclone. We are also mobilizing village volunteers who come forward to help in our relief efforts for animals in their village. They are a terrific group of volunteers and we thank them for all of their hard work and support! It is a great feeling to know that we are making a difference for animals. It has always been and will continue to be all about the animals.
In this precarious situation we would request to all to extend your kind support to continue our life- saving work in areas hit hard by the cyclone and floods.
Cyclone Phailin took a profound toll on the colony of Asian open billed storks living in a coastal wetlands on the Bay of Bengal, in Andhra Pradesh. The VSPCA (Visakha Society for Prevention and Care of Animals) has protected and cared for these wild storks for a number of years, working with village people to protect their habitat and prevent poaching.
The storks migrate to Telekunchi in Icchapuram, at the northern tip of Andhra Pradesh, in the Srikakulam District.
Pradeep Nath, Founder and CEO of VSPCA, writes that the birds “have met with a disastrous situation due to the super cyclone ‘Phailin’ that ripped through north Andhra Pradesh and Orissa in the early hours of October 12.
“Some 4,000 storks perished that night. Another 2,000 were left grounded with trauma, fright, separated from their families and abandoned, terribly wet and unable to move and feed by themselves.”
Quite a number were injured and “around 33 were just chicks who required hand feeding.”
The day after the cyclone hit, a VSPCA team was out combing the beach looking for injured animals, moving north from the town of Srikakulam towards Palasa, when they began to get calls about the storks in distress.
They immediately left the beach and traveled to Icchapuram to aid the birds.
Arriving on the site, the VSPCA team began rescuing hundreds of birds, providing emergency treatment and medical care.
For weeks, they worked to save the lives of the birds, setting up a hospital in a darkened school building, with open doors and windows, in conditions that could not be kept sanitary. Outside there were fallen trees and electric poles. The power was always out.”
In these far from ideal conditions, the VSPCA team did a heroic job, despite not having much in the way of good food, or a proper place to stay, or a chance to catch up on sleep.
Pradeep Nath explains “We focused on keeping the birds warm, cleaning them, providing vitamins, and supportive care. Soon, around 1,650 birds were strong enough to fly up into the trees.
“Seeing them active and able to fly gave us a huge sense of relief.”
Progress made despite difficulties
Over the next few days, there was quite a lot of flooding, but they were still able to make progress in getting the remaining birds back on their feet.
“Some of the birds were injured, and there were very critical cases too, requiring special treatments. Following our appeal, teams from Wildlife Trust of India, Wildlife SOS, and PFA – Bangalore came to help out. Saleem Hameed, an experienced wildlife rehabilitator, sent by PFA – Bangalore, stayed and worked with us for an entire week.
“The WTI sent a second vet a few days later, after we again appealed for help because of renewed flooding, including in the wetlands where the bird colony lives.
“The 350 birds that had remained in the school for special attention were treated, and later on, having recovered well, many were released.
“Quite a few walked out of the building, which did not have doors and windows, on their own, as soon as they felt better.
“Sadly, some had died from infections or from severe injuries.
“After a week, we had less than 46 still in our care and under close watch.”
Heavy rains bring a turn for the worse
Unfortunately, all did not continue to go well, and on October 19, there was a disastrous turn in the weather.Heavy, pounding rains came in from the coast. The rain did not stop falling and inundated the entire state, especially the coastal areas.
The weather was so bad that roads became impassable, and the team, who were staying nearby in Icchapuram, had trouble reaching the birds to give them food and medicine.
On top of that, because birds, when subjected to extreme stress and bad weather, lose their water proofing, which causes them to become cold and ill — many of the storks could not withstand the heavy rains. Many had to be recaptured, dried, and warmed up. Keeping them warm and finding adequate supplies of food for them was a struggle.
The skies clear
Eventually, the rains dissipated. Fortunately, in the end, they were left with only one bird that could not be released. This bird will either be placed with the Forest Department or will have a home at the VSPCA Kindness Farm.
Sadly, some of the recaptured storks died. All the others have been rereleased, are gaining strength day by day, and bit by bit are making their way up into the trees.
The VSPCA team has stayed with the birds throughout all the flooding and the many challenges, doing everything possible to care for them, and they continue to provide food for those still on the ground.
Pradeep Nath writes, “Our team will continue to stay until 100% of the work for the safety of the birds has been done. We have identified one elderly person who will represent us and inform us of any problems. Our team will continue to help the birds on the ground until they fly up to the trees and then onwards. And our team will encourage local authorities to inform people using vehicles to go slowly in these areas because there are many birds still on the ground.
“At the moment, our work for the Asian open billed stork is almost done. We will be there only another week or ten days.
“It is so heartening to see them flying higher and higher in the skies.”
Thanks to VSPCA for their steadfast help for these magnificent birds caught in such a perilous situation.
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