Every year, thousands of people from all over the Indian states of Maharashtra and Karnataka travel to the village of Chinchali to attend the annual fair celebrating the goddess Mayakka Devi. Entire families pile into carts pulled by bullocks, horses, and donkeys for what can be a two-day trip of hundreds of kilometres. The animals often suffer from severe thirst or lameness, and some collapse from exhaustion and despair.
Animal Rahat, a PETA-supported relief program for animals who have been forced to work, has provided aid and emergency veterinary care to animals in years past, including a phenomenally successful program that transports villagers to the fair in chartered buses. More than 600 people availed themselves of the free rides the first year that they were offered.
This year, outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) have occurred in regions near the Chinchali Fair site, so Animal Rahat met with local authorities and succeeded in convincing them to ban bullocks, horses and ponies from the fair in order to prevent further outbreaks. FMD can cause bullocks to develop painful blisters in the mouth and on the feet and is often fatal. Although horses and ponies cannot contract FMD, they can spread it to other animals.
This ban will save thousands of animals from a marathon of misery, and Animal Rahat is pulling out all the stops to publicise it, make sure it’s enforced and let fairgoers know that buses are available. We feel certain that once people ride the bus, they’ll never want to go back to carts. Everybody wins!
This year’s goal to supply 50 buses to transport people from 20 villages is more urgent than ever. You can be a part of this campaign in so many ways.
By supporting Animal Rahat, you can help hire street performers to visit numerous villages in advance of the fair in order to promote the bus rides. Your donation will support veterinary relief teams that stand ready to provide emergency medical treatment, food and clean drinking water for any animal still (illegally) forced to make the trip.
Animal Rahat will also be posting billboards along the routes to show which animal practices are punishable offenses under the law and will have monitors along the route to demand enforcement of anti-cruelty laws, including confiscating torture devices such as rods, whips, barbed wire and metal yoke spikes – hideous devices that stab bullocks in the neck and face if they step or turn their head too far to the side – and detaining owners who use cruel yoking practices, such as putting a log across the necks of ponies and bullocks, which sometimes causes ponies to collapse from the uneven weight.
Your support saves lives. Please make a generous donation today.TAGS: chinchali, victory