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By Shakuntala and Debashish Majumdar, Thane SPCA

 

Two consignments of 540 Indian Soft Shelled Turtles (Nilssonia Gangetica)  and Spotted Pond Turtles ( Geoclemys Hamiltonii ) were seized by the Mumbai International Airport Air Intelligence Unit. All these Schedule 1 species of turtles were handed over to the Maharashtra Forest Department. The smuggling of these turtles was done in a very cruel manner, which involved packing them in zipper bags, then wrapping them in plastic bags and taping them with transparent adhesive tapes. Various wildlife offences were lodged with the jurisdictional magistrates. The judiciary then accorded its permission to release the seized wildlife in its natural environs in the respective cases.

3. RAWW volunteers cleaning Turtle Tank

 

Thane SPCA and RAWW (Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare) started coordinating with the Forest Department from the very first hour of seizing the turtles, with logistical help. While RAWW assisted in the physical distribution of the turtles at Dahanu and Karnala and Thane SPCA’s wildlife veterinarian checked each of these turtles for their physical condition, Thane SPCA also admitted the sick ones to their hospital and started to co-ordinate for the most suitable spot for the release of the turtles. This would be the first interstate repatriation of rescued aquatic turtles in the country and needed intense coordination between all parties involved. Finally, Turtle Survival Alliance, an organization dedicated to saving turtles, was identified as the agency for the translocation.

 

The Chief Wildlife Warden and the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Uttar Pradesh, accorded his approval for translocation and rehabilitation of the seized turtles at Kukrail Facility, Lucknow, from where, after a suitable quarantine, the turtles would be released in the Sarayu River.

7. Packing Turtles

 

The translocation was carefully planned for May 23, 2015, which happens to be World Turtle Day. To prepare the turtles for the long journey tomorrow (courtesy Air India) each of them were numbered, checked by Dr Deepa Katyal, our wildlife veterinarian and packed individually in netted bags. Each turtle was adequately hydrated and kept comfortably in well ventilated crates. 23 such crates were prepared. They will be hydrated every four to five hours until their unloading at the Cargo point tomorrow. Thane SPCA is privileged to carry the turtles to the airport in their ambulance at the request of the Forest Department.

9. Packed for air lifting

 

Five weeks after they were seized, the turtles will swim free in their own natural habitat, thanks to the incredible example of co-operation between Government departments and the Non Governmental sector, dedicated to saving the lives of these small creatures, so vital for the health of our ecology.

 

We wholeheartedly thank the Deputy Conservator of Forests, Thane Shri K. Thakre and the staff of the Forest Department, the PCCF and CWW (Wildlife), Uttar Pradesh, the officers of Turtle Survival Alliance, Air India and the staff and volunteers of Thane SPCA and RAWW for making this relocation an unprecedented success.

 

Top photo: Howard Cheng / Wikimedia Commons / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.” / Spotted Pond Turtle.

Second photo: Courtesy of Thane SPCA / RAWW volunteers cleaning a turtle tank.

Third photo: Courtesy of Thane SPCA / Courtesy of Thane SPCA / Counting, numbering and packing the turtles.

Fourth photo: Courtesy of Thane SPCA / Turtles all packed and ready for airlift.

 

To visit the website of Thane SPCA, click here 

 

To visit the Facebook page of RAWW, click here 

 

© Basphoto | Dreamstime.com - Cat At Ancient Egyptian Temple Photodreamstime_xs_18006751

 

Ismailia City lies in north-eastern Egypt, on the west bank of the Suez Canal. It was founded as the canal was being constructed.

 

On May 4, 2015, ESAF (Egyptian Society of Animal Friends) and Suez Canal University, the Faculty of the Veterinary Medical College, jointly sponsored an awareness program there to highlight animal welfare issues. Kindness to animals was shown to be a part of Islamic teachings. Fliers were handed out and TNR (trap/neuter/return) presentations called for the end of the mass killing of stray animals.

 

ESAF vets, Dr. Marwa Rabah and Dr. Ahmed Mansour, assisted by vet techs, Moh Ibrahim and Shaaban, performed a demonstration spay/neuter surgery on two cats, with the help of the Veterinary Medical Department of Suez Canal College.

 

Mrs. Dina Zulfikar, a dynamic spokesperson on behalf of animals, joined ESAF for this event. Support for the program was provided by WA, Werled Asielin Animal Welfare Society.

 

Ahmed El Sherbiny, Chairperson of ESAF, expressed his gratitude to Professor Mamdouh Ghourab, the Head of Suez Canal University, to Dr. Ibrahim Fares, the Dean of the Suez Canal Veterinary Medical College and to Professor Atef Kamel, the Head of the Wildlife and Zoos Department, for their support of this program.

 

Soon ESAF and the Suez Canal University Faculty of Veterinary Medicine will initiate a project to present the many alternatives that are now available to using animals for experiments in education and training.

 

Every Saturday ESAF conducts a free TNR program at their shelter in Cairo for neighborhood stray animals, sponsored by WA and other ESAF supporters.

 

To visit ESAF on Facebook, click here.  

 

Photo: © Basphoto | Dreamstime.com – Cat At Ancient Egyptian Temple Photo

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Crossposted from Varanasi for Animals

 

April 15, 2015

 

Mrs. Abha Singh of Aashray for Sick and Helpless Animals successfully hosted yet another Animal Birth Control Camp, organized by Varanasi for Animals and funded by Help Animals India, with the kind assistance of HOPE and Animal’s support.

 

We successfully spayed or neutered 21 female and two male dogs in these two days. All the dogs recovered well and were released back to their respective territories. One female community dog was brought by a school parent!

 

Besides 23 ABC’s the vet also performed an eye operation for a “cherry-eyed” dog, who had been suffering for a long time, in front of Mrs. Abha Singh’s house.

 

A Jersey cow had her tibia (hind leg) broken, and she was lifted up with the help of straps and iron pipes along a tree. Thanks to the school staff of Mrs. Singh, around twelve persons slogged for two to three hours to lift the 300 kilogram cow with straps and to rest her midriff on tables with a thick mattress. She is receiving a lot of massage and medication. We pray that she survives this long phase, that her bones reconnect well, and that she’ll be able to get back onto her four legs.

 

Thank you all for your compassionate support; to contribute to future camps please do so through www.helpanimalsindia.org/donate

 

Photo: “Tina” got her operation with your kind support. Mr. Banarasi who works with Abha Singh at Aashray is her loving caretaker in Varanasi.”

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By Ahmed El Sherbiny,

Chairperson of ESAF

Cairo, Egypt

 

ESAF (the Egyptian Society for Animal Friends), working together with Vier Pfoten, the international animal organization based in Austria, Hauza Beach Resort, Sharm Safari Park, and Sharm Action for Animals are conducting a TNR program in Sharm El Sheikh that will run from November 29 through December 13, 2014.

 

The South Sinai Governor and the Sharm El Sheikh City Council are supporting this project.

 

We wish to express our heartfelt thanks to Vier Pfoten, Hauza Beach Resort, and Sharm Safari Park for their financial contribution, and to the SAFA group, particularly Diane Clement, Sally, and Roswitha for their efforts.

 

ESAF hopes to initiate more TNR projects in other governates in Egypt.

 

 

Photos: Courtesy of ESAF

 

To visit ESAF’s Facebook page, click here

 

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By Sharon St Joan

 

To read part one first, click here.

 

Opposition to the sacrifice grows

 

In the months running up to the time of the Gadhimai sacrifice, there has been a growing and very vocal opposition to the sacrifice, worldwide.

 

Baba Ramdev, a popular spiritual leader in India with a huge following, has spoken out against the sacrifice.

 

Dr. Chinny Krishna expressed his conviction that “this Gadhimai festival will be the last one to include any animals from India,” adding that “this year, there will be a major dent at least in the numbers of cattle.”

 

Buffalos, pigeons, goats, sheep, and chickens are also sacrificed. It is harder to catch and prevent the smaller ones from crossing the border.

 

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On another level

 

There have been no shortage of contacts with the Chief Priest of the Gadhimai Temple and with the Nepalese government, and these continue.

 

Rudra Krishna, of Blue Cross, has written, “A team from HSI-India consisting of its Chair, Dr Nanditha Krishna, Alokparna Sengupta and N Jayasimha, Managing Director, are reaching Nepal on Monday Nov 24, along with Ms Gauri Maulekhi – Consultant to HSI (who has been in Nepal fighting this case for the last few months) in yet another attempt to persuade the temple authorities to abandon this killing. We wish them all the best and our prayers are with them and the hundreds of thousands of innocent animals.”

 

Nepalese animal advocates working “flat out”

 

The Animal Welfare Network Nepal (AWNN) has not rested over the past five years in their opposition to the sacrifice, spending time in the field, in the Bara District, where the Gadhimai Temple is, and also in meetings in Kathmandu.

 

They express their profound gratitude to those providing support, including Humane Society International, One Voice, Maneka Gandhi, Compassion in World Farming, Dr. Jane Goodall, Animal People, the Albert Schweizer Foundation, Jane Goodall Institute Australia, Philip Wollen and Geoff Knight.

 

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AWNN is working with the Department of Livestock in Nepal to set up an Exclusion Zone around the temple to prevent illegal entry of sick animals, those without permits, and those being transported illegally. They have also organized a large team of volunteers to help out along the border.

 

They have met with everyone possible; the Nepalese Prime Minister, the President, the Secretary of State, and representatives of the United Nations. They have been assured that there will be no government support from the Nepal government for the sacrifice. However, as of this moment, the sacrifice is expected to be allowed to go ahead.

 

Among a great many other measures they are putting into place, AWNN has organized Children’s Protests “with children asking for their right to grow up in a society free from violence and bloodshed.” AWNN is also setting up preparations to encourage alternate offerings to the Goddess of lotus flowers, and at Gadhimai Temple, a lotus flower garden is being created.

 

AWNN states, “Every single life we can save is a victory, and we will not stop until we have saved as many as we can.”

 

 

The future

 

With so many groups and individuals working so hard with such great courage and determination, there is a sense that the momentum is on the side of the light, not the darkness, and that the time is drawing near when it will no longer be possible for the cruelty of the Gadhimai Festival to continue in years to come.

 

 

Finally, a word for those in the U.S.

 

It is hard not to notice a certain irony in the fact that the days of the Gadhimai sacrifice, November 28 and 29, are preceded, by just one day, by Thanksgiving. When around 320 million Americans sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, for the vast majority, there will also be a sacrifice, the death of a bird. There is an unmistakable similarity. Turkeys suffer at length throughout their short lives, and they are killed in numbers of a far greater magnitude than all the animals at Gadhimai. Let us say a prayer for all these innocent animals, while we do all in our power to prevent the sacrifice of any animals, anywhere, for any purpose.

 

Photos: Courtesy of Blue Cross of India

 

To visit the website of Blue Cross of India, click here.

 

For the website of Humane Society International – India, click here.  

 

For the website of PFA-Uttarakhand, click here.    

 

For the website of Animal Welfare Network Nepal, click here.

 

 

 

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By Sharon St Joan

In the late November cold, teams from Chennai and other Indian cities are camping out in the open along the Nepal/India border. They are there to stop as many animals as possible from crossing the border to become part of the horrifying scene of sacrifice during the Gadhimai Festival that takes place every five years, and which is due to happen on November 28 and 29, Friday and Saturday, of this week.

These brave volunteers work with the police and border authorities. The teams patrol between the police stations and border posts. They are not allowed to stop any cattle. Instead, they can observe and take photos and video, recording what they see. They report to the police any violations or any animals they see from India crossing the border. They will collect evidence.

In many places, the border crossings are three to five kilometers apart, so it can be easy for people smuggling animals to slip unseen past the border guards. The Nepal/India border is a remote area where conditions are harsh.

The police can confiscate or turn back animals being exported illegally. So far, hundreds of cattle have already been turned back from the border by the police, following tips from the animal advocates.

The Supreme Court of India intervenes

 

A suit related to Gadhimai was filed with the Supreme Court, in Delhi, by Gauri Mauleki, Trustee of PFA Uttarakhand (People for Animals – Uttarakhand) and Consultant to Humane Society International. On October 17, the Supreme Court issued a directive that all illegal movement of animals across the Indian border into Nepal, for the sacrifice at the Gadhimai festival, must be stopped by the police and the border patrol. Animals will not be allowed to be taken across the border.

Notices were sent out to federal authorities and to the border states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal to stop the flow of animals into Nepal. Around 70% of the animals sacrificed come from India so this is expected to greatly diminish the numbers of animals killed. Animal sacrifice is illegal in India.

In the past, although export of cattle and buffalo required a license, this requirement was simply ignored. Now, with the presence of so many volunteers assisting the police and documenting the movement of animals, the police cannot turn a blind eye, and action will be taken.

In issuing the ruling, Justice Kehar of the Supreme Court of India noted that the Gadhimai animal sacrifice is “demeaning and cruel.”

Brave volunteers

Major funding for this effort has been very generously donated by Kim Bartlett of Animal People News.

Dr. Chinny Krishna, Vice-Chairman of the Animal Welfare Board of India and Chairman Emeritus of Blue Cross of India, played a direct role in bringing together teams going to help along the border.

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Fourteen volunteers from Blue Cross of India have gone, including Dawn Williams, Blue Cross’s General Manager, who regularly leads rescue teams on daring and difficult rescues in Chennai. More volunteers will join them over the next few days. Altogether, 25 volunteers from Chennai are in the field, from Blue Cross and FIAPO, bringing eight motorcycles with them. All-wheel-drive vehicles have been hired in Bihar.

They traveled by train. It’s a long trip from Chennai – 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles). TVS Motors donated two of the motorcycles.

When there was a snag getting the motorcycles on the same train as the volunteers, the office of Maneka Gandhi, of People for Animals, and a senior Minister in the Union Government, intervened, and all was soon resolved.

Because of the extremely primitive conditions along the border, the initial thought of Blue Cross was that only men should go. This was met by charges of sexism, so the decision was reviewed, and it was announced that women are welcome to participate. Three women from Hyderabad are taking part, and part of their expenses are being paid by Blue Cross.

Another team has been sent to the Uttar Pradesh/Nepal border.

 

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“A financial aspect”

Speaking about the horrifying sacrifice of around 500,000 animals, which takes place in Bara, Nepal, around 100 miles south of Kathmandu, Dr. Chinny Krishna commented, “There is always a financial aspect.” The remains of the sacrificed animals; cattle, buffaloes, goats, pigeons, chickens, and rats, are already contracted to be sold to a Chinese company.

The festival was started in modern times, about a hundred years ago, by a man who was a convicted felon. Today, his grandson is the chief priest of the Gadhimai temple. This is the largest single sacrifice of animals anywhere in the world. Virtually every temple in Nepal does some animal sacrifice. The only one that does not is Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu which was founded by Adi Shankara, one of the greatest of all Hindu saints, who lived in the eighth century BCE and who was a strict proponent of the Hindu vegetarian tradition. The priests of Pashupatinath come from the south of India and would never perform any animal sacrifice.

Animal sacrifice is no more a part of Hinduism than witch burning is a part of Christianity. There are fanatics in every religion who propagate false teachings of violence and hatred.

Continued in part two. For part two, click here.

 

Photos: Courtesy of Blue Cross of India

 

To visit the website of Blue Cross of India, click here.

 

For the website of Humane Society International – India, click here

 

For the website of PFA-Uttarakhand, click here.  

 

For the website of Animal Welfare Network Nepal, click here.

 

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The October 5, 2014, article “Bunny-free beauty” by Sriya Narayanan and Preeti Zachariah in The Hindu reports that in November, India will become the third place in the world to ban the import of products tested on animals, joining Israel and the European Union.

 

In 2013, India banned the testing of cosmetics within India. Now the import of cosmetics that contain any ingredients tested on animals has also been banned.

 

This remarkable step will make India a cruelty-free zone with regard to cosmetics.

 

Dr. Chinny Krishna, Vice-Chairman of the Animal Welfare Board of India is quoted as noting that it is only fitting that India, the land of ahimsa (“do no harm”) is leading the way with this ban. He said, “Cosmetics testing is a frivolous thing – thousands of animal lives are lost because of it.”

 

Organizations like Humane Society International and PETA India have worked with great determination to bring about this ban, conveying the message that modern science now offers many compassionate alternatives that render animal testing superfluous, as well as being generally unreliable in its ability to predict how chemicals and various ingredients will affect humans.

 

Alokparna Sengupta of HSI, who has worked tirelessly for this cause, commented on the uncertainty and unpredictability of animal testing, which makes it pointless, especially considering the vast amount of suffering involved. She said, “We’re elated and proud of India’s progressive step.”

 

Dr. Chaitanya Koduri, policy advisor to PETA India, talked about the advantages of some of the non-animal testing methods. There are now skin tests that use reconstructed human skin.

 

The ban will be of benefit, of course, to the animals; rabbits, hamsters, mice, and others, who will no longer suffer and be killed, but also to humans, who will have safer and more precisely-tested cosmetics, free of any guilt attached to having caused the suffering of animals.

 

It is anticipated that the cosmetics testing ban will pave the way for more alternative testing to take place in the pharmaceutical industry, over time replacing cruel testing on animals.

 

Alokparna Sengupta described her rewarding experience with a rabbit, now released from being a lab rabbit, who is cautiously learning to trust and relate to a human.

 

Congratulations to India and to the Indian animal groups that have brought about this compassionate victory for animals.

 

To read the original article in the Times of India, click here.

 

Photo: Larry D. Moore CC BY -SA 3.0 / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rabbit_in_montana.jpg