I hope 2012 is going well for you. This year, thanks to Animal Rahat’s supporters, thousands of working animals in India will be saved from wounds, lameness, beatings, and other abuses. Here are just some of the ways in which your support made a difference for animals in recent weeks:
My last message mentioned Animal Rahat’s work with sugarcane factories, and I’m happy to tell you that even more improvements are being made to alleviate the suffering of the bullocks who haul enormous loads from the fields to the factories.
Temporary thatched shelters are now being erected at the factories to provide bullocks with shade so that they no longer have to stand for hours without protection from the blazing sun. In order to prevent bullocks from slipping and injuring themselves in the sugarcane weighing area, large rubber mats have also been installed.
Animal Rahat staffers are constantly persuading owners—like the one below—to remove hideously cruel nose ropes and replace them with face harnesses (morkees).
The Animal Rahat team’s work has also resulted in more owners who are using a support like the one above to bear the weight of the yoke during the long waiting periods at the factories. The unfortunate bullocks without these supports must stand for hours bearing crushing amounts of weight on their necks.
Other exciting achievements this month include stopping several more illegal bull races from taking place, as well as holding a training session on humane animal handling for municipal shelter workers. Several months ago, the Animal Rahat staff discovered—and then videotaped—staff members at municipal animal pounds who were handling donkeys so roughly that the animals were terrified and injured. During the training, Animal Rahat staff showed the video taken that day and explained how these methods harm the donkeys. Astonishingly, the man who was shown handling the donkeys the roughest on the video started to cry when he saw what he had done! All the workers have pledged to incorporate into their work the gentler methods that they have learned.
That was just one example of the many educational directions that Animal Rahat’s work took this month. And for the first time ever, the Animal Rahat sanctuary was a feature story on a television news program!
In another exciting first, Animal Rahat held a contest in which 500 children in 10 schools in the village of Budhgaon participated. Each child was asked to make a poster with a drawing and a caption to convey the importance of giving bullocks proper care. Not only did this project help cultivate compassion in children and their families, it also served as a method to reinforce the commitment of former bull racers never to go back on their promise not to race bulls. Several of the former racers—who had a change of heart after Animal Rahat’s intervention—agreed to present the awards to the contest winners.
The presenter of the award in this photo, though, is Animal Rahat boardmember Nigel Otter, who runs a partner sanctuary in the Nilgiri Hills, where the mountain soil is better for the legs and hooves of rescued donkeys and horses and where rescued dogs have more room to run and play than they do at the bullock sanctuary.
At the end of his visit, Nigel returned to the mountains with the newly spayed and neutered rescued puppies Paul and Nancy (pictured above), Incy, Wincy, and Dale, as well as with the inseparable donkey duo Bondy and Little Jock (below).
Speaking of the Animal Rahat sanctuary, it was officially given a new name—Simone’s Place—in honor an active and dedicated longtime volunteer, Simone Reyes.
At Simone’s Place, staffers have recently erected new partitions that will allow room for more bullocks. As you can see in the photo below, the bullocks can enjoy the sun’s rays when they’re chilly in the morning or move under the shade of the roofs when they’re hot. The green field next to the pens offers them a lush grazing area.
Of course, there are countless animals every month who, only because of Animal Rahat’s intervention, get a second chance. Among this month’s rescued animals were this kite, whose injured wing healed under the Animal Rahat team’s care, and this puppy, who was scooped up and nursed back to health by an Animal Rahat staffer who answered the call and found him suffering from a leg injury on the streets of Solapur.
On behalf of the thousands of animals each year whose suffering is relieved by the work of Animal Rahat, thank you so much for your generous support. You are making an enormous difference for these deserving souls!