India on lockdown! – Help Animals India - Saving India's Forgotten Animals

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India on lockdown!

April 2, 2020

Dear Friends of India’s animals:

As you know, at Help Animals India we don’t like to deluge you with emails, but now we need to ask for your help and inform you about the current crisis.

Show Karuna during Corona

“Karuna” means compassion in Sanskrit. As the hot winds blow through Chennai’s Marina beach, the largest of its kind in Asia, it carries with it a sad song. A song of hundreds of stray dogs suffering without food or water as humans hide safely in the comfort of their homes. Read more about Blue Cross of India way below...

Photo credit: Blue Cross of India

The crisis

On March 24, with four hours’ notice, India’s prime minister announced that no one could leave home for 21 days — the most severe step taken anywhere in the war against the coronavirus.

As always, the poor are the worst affected. As work began to dry up, many thousands of migrant laborers were forced to leave the cities and head back to their villages. Some of them probably brought the virus with them to the villages that have little access to basic infrastructure, including running water.

Mr. Modi’s lockdown is the largest confinement in human history, with 1.3 billion people abruptly shut in. Neither the system nor the citizenry is prepared for it. No financial package has been declared by the central government to help the poor who live off daily wages. There is no plan in place for what millions of Indian farmers are to do at the coming harvest time.

This cow has nothing to eat except plastic! Photo: Sarnath Animal Welfare.

For those of us concerned about the animals the biggest emergency is the large number of pet shops and animal breeding facilities abruptly shut down and activists are demanding they be open and animals fed! Official declarations from Maneka Gandhi’s office and the AWBI (Animal Welfare Board of India) are designating special privileges for animal feeders and veterinary services to be able to perform besides the quarantine.

Like everywhere else, there are good and bad stories. Police in some areas are very helpful in other areas behaving like thugs. However when emergencies like this happen the animals always need more help! Even though the disease may not kill animals but the apathy of the people will.

So many of us are sitting at home wondering when it will all end. How we can help others. As bad as it is for people, imagine being a street dog , cat or cow in one of the developing countries in the world? Now imagine that all of the tourists have fled, all hotels and restaurants shuttered as well as all vegetable markets and food vendors. Imagine that you go to the place you go every day to eat from heaping garbage piles that these establishments throw out each day and finding nothing there. The hunger and desperation becomes intolerable. There is no one outside to see you suffer or lend a small bite of food. They are scared to come out of their homes and you starve to death. You can make a huge difference in the lives of these forgotten and neglected animals through our supported organizations.

Our response

Help Animals India is issuing emergency grants to the partners who are also helping supply food for the volunteers feeding their “streeties” (dogs, cows, cats). Those dedicated people who will still leave their house, perhaps you would also if you saw a starving animal outside to help?

Here is video summary of some of the help given so far:

Here are reports from a few of our supported groups in the field, please help if you can! The full list of “groups we help” is on our website.

From Blue Cross of India, Chennai:

Although the Animal Birth Control operations are on hold our rescue operations continue at all our three centres. We also went into responsible stocking mode to ensure enough stock of food, medicines and supplies for one month. We requested all of staff to stay at the shelter and around 15 staff and two doctors have agreed. We are continuing to pay full salary for all our workers even if they cannot attend.
Our Prime responsibility now has shifted to feeding , medicating and sanitising the Shelter as these are operations we cannot stop for the over 1800 animals there. For the street animals we are now covering over 600 animals every day and are looking at touching 1000 in the coming few days. As street dogs here are fed by the community and with all tea shops and restaurants closed, there is not even enough in the garbage dumps to eat.
We have about 100 community feeders to network to look after animals in their area . Our water bowl project is being expedited this year so that the animals can get at least clean water. These bowls are kept just outside homes or apartment complexes and are cleaned and filled several times a day. As of now we are able to deal with the situation even though we are facing many challenges, we really want to thank you for the support given and the trust placed in us as we value this a lot and it helps an immense deal in these times of crisis.

From CUPA (Compassion Unlimited Plus Action) Bangalore:

In spite of an uncanny quiet spread over the city with the current lock-down, CUPA centers are working as usual ... our front line workers for the animals are the kennel cleaning team, medical attenders, ambulance drivers, vets and managers ... Fortunately, only the CUPA animal ambulances are allowed to run through the locked down city !
Unfortunately, our drivers are quite exhausted with extra duties like picking up food and fodder, medications, apart from attending to seriously ill or injured animals, of course.... CUPA with its seven domestic animal centers and its sister organisation WRRC, with two wildlife centers are all far flung apart, hence vehicle co ordinations are based on priorities and animal needs.
So right now, the in house animals are being maintained and treated, but with skeletal staff and vets.......Emergency cases are still being picked up but with added tension of keeping the staff safe from exposure or taking undue risks...
Cooked food for community dogs in the south zone of Bangalore and distribution of packaged food to support the awesome work individual feeders are doing in the city ... is a lifeline CUPA is extending to the animals, most in need during this Covid 19 unprecedented crisis.

Varanasi for Animals

Varanasi for Animals is standing for animals, working with volunteers in entire Varanasi, any animal that needs help is being picked up and treated. We spread out our 24x7 hotline number for people to call and providing help to all animals as much as possible. We are not doing any sterilization work, our focus is to work with Volunteers and help them in feeding and provide treatment. While we are working for animals, we are not neglecting our staff, we are providing them with Mask, Handwash, Sanitizer, it is our prime responsibility to protect them as well who are going out in the field and rescuing animals.

Rahaat for Animals , Dehra Doon (a vegan sanctuary)

Raahat Animal Hospital & Animal Sanctuary, continues to provide rescue, medical, surgery and sheltering facility, to the community as well as companion animals of the city. We remain committed to the cause of helping animals, albeit with great responsibility, under the extraordinary and troubled times the world is passing through. Given the lockdown situation, Raahat has also stepped up and is serving vegan meals to community dogs and fodder to free-roaming calves and donkeys.

Animal Nepal

Despite, the sheer number of animals that require our help on a daily basis, Nepal is one of the very few countries, which does not list veterinary care as an 'essential service', meaning at times like these, there is no safety net for them. There is no plan on feeding them, there is no plan for healthcare provision and there is no plan for their well being. Animal welfare organizations like Animal Nepal have found it incredibly tough to receive a vehicle permit from the government thus limiting our movement at this crucial time.
With the government's nonresponse, welfare organizations and individuals have come together to organize feeding and healthcare for our animals. Feeding routes have been allocated to specific groups in order to avoid duplication, to ensure as wide a coverage as possible and to avoid large gatherings of people. Animal Nepal's key activities during this time include:
  • Daily feeding of street dogs in certain parts of Lalitpur and Kathmandu district
  • Rescue and treatment of critically sick / injured animals
  • Telephone consultation service by Animal Nepal's vets for pet owners and non critical cases.
  • Community awareness - asking households to leave a bowl of water and food outside their homes
  • Installation of water points made of up-cycled soda bottles along our feeding route
  • Provision of relief material (food and other essentials) to equines and their owners stranded at brick kilns in Lalitpur and Dhading districts
  • Continued dialogue with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Department of Livestock Services, Nepal Veterinary Council and the law enforcement about recognizing veterinary services as essential and to be proactive in ensuring the welfare of animals.

Your donation WILL change lives. One USD = 76 Indian rupees (an all time high)!

With love and deepest appreciation from Eileen Weintraub and the Help Animals India team, all of the animals, and our colleagues in India and Nepal who serve them. We wish you success in your own worthy activities to bring happiness to all! Please take care!

P.S. Help Animals India is a member of Asia for Animals, please see the latest on corona virus and animals. Also, watch this short video on current conditions for migrants in India.