Dear Animals for the Care of Treatment,
I hope all is well with you. You won't want to miss any of the highlights in this report! It's wonderful that so many animals benefited from Animal Rahat's work over the past month.
This handsome bullock, old Gabru�??who was the very first bullock saved by Animal Rahat from pulling an oil tank through the streets of Mumbai�??is wearing a colorfulgarland in celebration of the recent Bendur holiday (also known as Bail Pola).
Celebrated in rural communities, the festival is intended to be a time for owners to show appreciation for the bullocks upon whose backs they eke out a living. And even though the animals at Animal Rahat's home for retired bullocks are no longer working, they were honored for their former hardships with special treats, including sugar balls. This is especially meaningful for the bullocks who used to pull sugarcane carts, as they always wanted to eat the sweet cane but were never allowed to touch it.
Local villagers celebrate Bendur by decorating their bullocks' bodies with colored powder (which is often toxic), painting their horns (and sometimes rasping them, which can expose the nerves and cause extreme pain), and then parading them through the streets. So each year, our veterinarians go to the local festivals and convince as many owners as possible to pledge not to rasp their bullocks' horns or decorate them with chemical powders or paint (which can cause horn cancer). Animal Rahat provides free brightly colored tape to wrap around the bullocks' horns instead of paint as well as a safe powder that doesn't irritate their skin.
Of the many animals rescued by Animal Rahat last month, this puppy was perhaps in the most dire situation. He had fallen down a bore well, which as you can see, was far too narrow for a person to descend. So an Animal Rahat staffer fashioned a lasso and lowered it down the well. After 90 minutes of painstaking attempts, he successfully caught one of the puppy's legs and ever so gently pulled him to safety.
The staffer located the puppy's mother and siblings, and�??after having one of our veterinarians check to make sure the puppy hadn't sustained any injuries�??returned him to his family, who was overjoyed to welcome him back home. Afterward, the Animal Rahat team persuaded the villagers to seal the well by filling it with sand and stones and covering it with tile slabs.
We also rescued this Indian spectacled cobra, who had taken refuge from the monsoon rains on a villager's property and was being stalked by two mongooses. From now on, if you're having a stressful day, you can remind yourself that at least you aren't holding a cobra by the tail�??or on the ground trying to remain calm enough to take a photo like this!
Here are some other highlights from last month:
We held training workshops for government animal-care workers on a variety of animal welfare issues. (That's a grooming lesson shown above.)
We arranged for the retirement of three elderly bullocks who will stay with their families in the village but never have to work again.
We persuaded 11 owners to build sheds to protect their bullocks from the heavy monsoon rains.
We convinced 113 bullock owners to replace painful nose ropes with halters.
We held several village meetings in which we presented awards to owners who pledged not to rasp or use oil-based paint on their bullocks' horns. (An award recipient is shown below.)
And just look at the second photo above! Do you see how the bullock is touching his nose with his tongue? That's because an Animal Rahat staffer had just convinced his owner to remove the painful nose rope that had been cruelly used to tug at his nostrils his entire life. He can't believe it's gone. What an enormous relief that must be!
Finally, I'll leave you with an update on Sunder�??the young "temple elephant" Animal Rahat and PETA India got freed from a life of chains and beatings after a two-year legal battle. He's now living in a wonderful elephant wildlife park, where he has made friends with other elephants for the first time in his life. Here he is with his new friend Lakshmi:
Sunder absolutely loves the water. Please click here to watch a delightful video of him swimming and rolling around in the sanctuary pond�??it will probably elicit the same kind of smile you get when you see a dog ecstatically making "doggie angels" in the snow!
In the second photo, Sunder and Lakshmi are enjoying a blissful moment with a good massage and scrub given by their caretakers. Soon, we hope to be able to fence off the entire park for this wonderful group of elephants.
On behalf of the thousands of animals saved by Animal Rahat each year�??bullocks, elephants, dogs, donkeys, snakes, birds, hyenas, monkeys, civets, pangolins (you name them, we've saved them)�??thank you so much for keeping their welfare in your thoughts and in your heart.
Ingrid E. Newkirk
P.S. Please make a gift to Animal Rahat today so that we will be able to retire more animals from a life of grueling labor, broaden our community outreach, and save animals from life-threatening circumstances. Thank you!