Rescued Animals Enjoy Extra Treats for Diwali
Thank you, as always, for your support of Animal Rahat—it is so crucial. This month, the program’s vets and staff have relieved the suffering of thousands of animals, changed some truly awful practices, and rescued quite a few animals.
First, here are some of the sanctuary rescues, who are having an extra treat and participating in the recent celebration of Diwali—the "festival of lights," during which people share sweets and snacks with family members and friends.
Animal Rahat staffers groomed the animals and gave them massages, and they also performed the traditional Hindu rituals associated with the holiday. In the photos, you can see some of the bullocks in their holiday finery, enjoying their "Prasad" (offerings to the goddess Lakshmi—in this case, some tasty fruits).
This adorable donkey filly was also just rescued by the team after they spotted her in severe distress, limping in busy traffic. They immediately moved her to a safe location and called the Animal Rahat ambulance. While waiting for its arrival, they dressed the wound on her leg. Now safe and recuperating at the organization’s sanctuary, she quickly bonded with another resident donkey, Bondy—whose name is certainly appropriate in this case!
As you may realize, it is sugarcane season again, and the sugarcane mills of Maharashtra have long been a source of immense suffering for bullocks forced to pull horribly overloaded carts full of sugarcane. At the mills, one can see animals staggering, frothing at the mouth, and suffering from exhaustion, muscle strain, and labored breathing. Some bullocks break down completely. The Rahat team has been holding meetings with mill managers and law-enforcement authorities, with the result that some have promised changes, after initial resistance.
This month, the Sangli District Collector (the district’s single most powerful government official) issued an order, at Animal Rahat’s urging, to the district’s sugarcane mills telling them to immediately implement practices that protect working animals.
From now on, the load of each cart will be checked to ensure that the upper limit is not exceeded. The mills will make veterinary services available and accessible to animals in need of urgent medical attention, and they will provide shade—a godsend—and water. A sand pit for shoeing must also be available so that bullocks will no longer be painfully cast to the hard ground. The mills have also agreed to bar animal owners from tormenting their animals with any of the commonly used painful implements, including sharp wires and metal rods with protruding nails that are jabbed into animals’ necks. The Animal Rahat team will be checking that this order is followed!
The order—brought about with your help, because you fuel this program—could improve the lives of nearly 36,000 bullocks!
Speaking of those awful implements, the Animal Rahat team now has a mobile display of dozens of the barbaric devices that its staffers have seized over the past year.
Animal Rahat staffers recently set up the display in the city of Pune. The message? These items are illegal, so don’t use them! As you can see, the exhibit includes leather-tipped whips as well as the spiked rods that some owners suspend from bullocks’ yokes so that if the animal takes a step too far in one direction, he is met with a sharp stab in his neck. The public reaction was very positive, and the staff plans to show the exhibit in as many villages as possible.
At the Animal Rahat sanctuary this month, the current residents were joined by two newcomers. Barsya is 19 years old. Called by his owner, Mr. Yadav, to treat Barsya for various wounds, the Rahat team realized that the poor bullock was much too debilitated to work even a second longer. They talked Mr. Yadav into letting him retire, and Barsya is now enjoying his remaining years in the team’s care. Barsya has a cataract in one eye, but it is not causing him any pain, and Rahat’s vets will watch it carefully.
Another bullock, Raman, had been with his owner, Mr. Shaikh, since he was born 22 years ago, when Mr. Shaikh was still a child. When the team found Raman during routine scouting, Raman had no shelter from the elements and was grossly neglected and underfed. When the Rahat team spoke to Mr. Shaikh, he said he could not afford to provide this bullock with proper care and was considering selling him for slaughter. The staff talked Mr. Shaikh into giving custody of Raman to Animal Rahat, sparing this dear bullock from a painful and terrifying death in a crude slaughterhouse.
There were many critical wildlife cases this month in which the Animal Rahat team’s intervention meant the difference between life and death. One especially moving case involved a young hyena. This fellow had fallen down a deep well, and there was no way that he could get out by himself.
Do you see that little gray figure by the left wall? That’s him! Here’s a close-up:
It was not an easy rescue because the poor hyena was absolutely panicked. However, with the use of a dog net, organization staffers pulled him up and transported him to a reliable wildlife rehabilitation center.
There is also good news about Ram Prasad and Gajraj, the two temple elephants Animal Rahat staffers have been helping. As you may recall, despite serious resistance from temple authorities, the team convinced them over the summer to allow Rahat staff to administer a vaccine that is supposed to be effective in suppressing musth. Musth is a hormonal surge during which male elephants become extremely aggressive out of sheer desperation to escape and mate. During this time, the mahouts chain them by all four legs and stay away, because the elephants could easily kill anyone who gets too close. Their world becomes a living hell during this time, and it can last for months.
Organization staff have all been waiting with bated breath in the months since the vaccination took place, and it appears that it is working—neither elephant has gone into musth! Furthermore, their health has improved, as has their level of care.
Green grass is being included in Ram Prasad’s diet, and he is being taken for walks twice daily. In addition, the temple authorities have at last signed a document agreeing to a variety of responsibilities for Ram Prasad’s care—responsibilities that Animal Rahat’s team have long tried to get them to commit to in writing.
Think of how differently all these animals’ stories would have ended if it weren’t for Animal Rahat. I hope you are happy to know that you have helped make such a huge difference in the lives of so many animals. Animal Rahat depends on your support so very much, and the team is so very glad that you are a part of this effective program! This work simply couldn’t be carried out without your help and that of the small group of people who understand what these animals endure and give generously to help alleviate their suffering. Thank you!
TAGS: Bullocks, Donkeys, Our Supporters