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How Organizations Like PFA Are Campaigning For The Welfare of Animals

The plight of animals can be blamed on ignorance, and lack of proper legislation concerning animal cruelty. Deforestation has destroyed the homes of many wild animals. Loss of habitant has resulted in the extinction of various animals, while others have been deprived of food and shelter. The situation is getting worse with every day, but there is a still a ray of hope for them.

Over the years, a number of animal-welfare organizations have come up to end their sufferings in India. Organizations like People for Animals, India’s largest animal welfare organization, are doing a fine job. PFA has a nationwide network of hospitals, rescuers, shelters, ambulance services, treatment camps and sterilization programs. Headed by Alpana Bhartia, it has made contributions to promote animal-related issues.

One such example of promoting and campaigning for the welfare of animals recently took place in Thiruvananthapuram, wherein a 6-month old baby elephant was quarantined instead of sending it back to the herd. This is when Sreedevi S Kartha, an activist of PFA came to the forefront and launched a campaign, naming it ‘Give Ponnunni His World Back’. The baby elephant was brought to Kottur Elephant Rehabilitation Centre after its mother was found dead.

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Ms Kartha visited the rehabilitation centre to see the baby elephant, along with Latha Indira, the trustee of PFA. She highlighted the issue on social networking sites and flagged off a campaign for ‘Ponnunni‘. She warned the authorities about the well-being of baby elephant, and requested them to send him back to the herd, before he succumbs like any other animal.

This is not the first time that the activists of PFA have highlighted the plight of animals and raised the campaign to create awareness about their sufferings. The founder of this welfare organization Alpana Bhartia has often played a big role to save a number of animals from abuse, cruelty, physical violence and sufferings. The organization has produced books and expert guides on animal care and related issues. Apart from this, they have conducted several programs across the country to put an end to the vicious cycle of ill-treatment of animals.

The efforts made by these organizations cannot be ignored. But, the need of the hour is to collectively recognize the sufferings of these creatures to make their life beautiful.

With Sankranti around, danger of manja looms large

Alpana Bhartia: With Sankranti around, danger of manja looms large

While Sankranti is a time when the popularity of kite-flying picks up, it is also a time when animal and avian welfare organizations in Bengaluru receive most number of bird rescue calls.

Despite a ban on the use of manja that has a glass coating and is imported from China, the practice continues. According to Avian and Reptile Rehabilitation Trust in Horamavu, there has been an increase in number of rescues of birds entangled in manja in Bengaluru in the last few months. In November 2017, the team rescued 27 birds from manja while in December, 31 were rescued.

In the first six days of January, 10 ‘manja rescues’ were conducted. These figures only represent East and North Bengaluru, where the Trust operates. The numbers could be higher, as many cases go unreported, and bird deaths are not recorded, say volunteers.

“Flying kites is not a problem. It is the string used that is a danger to birds. Manja gets entangled on trees and turns into bird traps. There is a lot of discarded manja out there. It does not degrade easily. Though normal thread can also pose a problem, it is not as harmful,” said Jayanthi Kallam, co-founder of the trust.

Non-governmental organization People for Animals (PfA) gets more calls in January. “The number of rescues go up during the breeding and hatching season – November and March. Fledglings face the greatest risks during the kite-flying season,” said Alpana Bhartia, founder-trustee, PfA.

Most of the rescued birds during this season are kites, crows and owls.

Most suffer severe injuries to the extent that they can never fly again.

Ban has not worked

Experts say that the ban has been ineffective as manja imported from China has been replaced by different varieties called ‘desi manja.’ Strings made of nylon and plastic are equally sharp and can cause bird fatalities.

Animal welfare organizations are trying to create awareness against the use of manja. The Trust has launched a social media campaign. PfA also conducts events and campaigns during Sankranti.

A bird-friendly festival

The Rotary Bangalore Lakeside will be organizing the third edition of the Bengaluru Kite Festival on January 21 at the BBMP Playground in HSR Layout. “It is an eco-friendly festival and we ensure that no harm is done to birds or the environment. Visitors must buy the kite kit from us, which has paper kite and a cotton thread,” said Nabin Roy, club member. Last year’s festival saw over 9,000 participants and the club expects the number to go up to 15,000 this year. “The proceeds from sales of the kite kit will be used to fund our programmes in rural Karnataka,” Mr. Roy added.

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Alpana Bhartia: Animal Cruelty Should be Taken More Seriously

UK strengthens animal cruelty laws. Animal lover Alpana Bhartia wants a similar framework in India.

While the United Kingdom has strengthened its already stringent laws against animal abuse, India will fine you a small amount. Alpana Bhartia, the co-founder of People for Animals (Bangalore), calls it a joke and it surely looks like one. The cost of an innocent and lovable creature’s life is as low as Rs 50 in the land where the cow is worshiped.

The Bangalore woman, who murdered eight helpless puppies while their mother kept crying, got off easy. A question rises, why are human lives not equal to animal lives? Why can’t the killing of an animal be treated as murder? We are not even at the top of the food chain!

Animal Cruelty Should be Taken More Seriously

Animal Cruelty Should be Taken More Seriously

The United Kingdom recently amended its animal cruelty law. The penalty of ‘insignificant’ abuse has been increased to five years in prison. In India, the penalty for torture and murder of hapless animals can go up to only three months. Sometimes you’ll only incur a fine between Rs 25 and Rs 100. Cows are the exception here. In the recent past, self-proclaimed gaurakshak shave lynched unarmed cow transporters to death.

The authorities are guilty in this matter too. An RTI application in Chennai revealed the callous euthanization of over 2,800 stray dogs. The screening process of stray dogs is sketchy enough to call it a mass-murder. The rule 9 of the Animal Birth Control Rules (Dogs), 2001, allows this Nazi move. Had the authorities actually invested time and money in the care of the dogs, they could have survived. Alpana Bhartia suggests such dogs should be open to adoption after adequate medical attention and affection is given to them.

“Our country needs a revolution of sorts to bring awareness. Instead of gimmicks, we need animal lovers to take an initiative against such abusers and expose them”, states Alpana Bhartia, while talking about what’s the need of the hour.

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Bangalore’s change makers on the air

It isn’t often that you hear voices on the radio talking about Bengaluru’s public matters, concerns for the city and the interesting change making work going in the city. Even on occasions where you hear a little, it is not at the level of depth you will read in a news magazine.

On December 2nd, Sunday, between 9am-10am, M A Saleem, the city’s traffic police commissioner and P Manivannan, the head of BESCOM were on the air. They were speaking and responding to questions from noted radio and television journalist Vasanthi Hariprakash. Vasanthi has been hosting this series of shows on the city’s change makers from November 4th.

The show is an interview-discussion between Vasanthi and the invitees, many of whom are being nominated this year for the Namma Bengaluru Awards, and others who were earlier winners.

Alpana Bhartia. Pic courtesy: NBF

A week before this programme, on November 25th, Vasanthi hosted animal welfare activist Alpana Bhartia, and Mamatha Esteves, who heads chapters of the Tech Mahindra Foundation in Bangalore and several other cities. Aplana is founder trustee at People For Animals, Bangalore.

Megha Harish, founder of “I Believe. In You”, a kid-to-kid program that builds self-confidence among underprivileged children in Bangalore and Dr Naveen Thomas from Headstreams, a city NGO that creates better livelihood options for unemployed women and youth came on the show on November 18th.

In the programme on December 2nd, both Manivannan and Saleem demonstrated that they were individually very capable and public minded officials, running the city electricity and traffic police systems respectively. Both came prepared to discuss details with numbers. Manivannan also candidly made it clear that government authorities were running behind complex problems in a fast-paced modern society with organization structures and staff capabilities that were unsuited and archaic. He clearly wants to transform BESCOM into a better organization from within, and does admit that there is little point one top officer making things work better and leaving only for the system to reverse back to the old ways.

Vasanthi is articulate about the need for platforms in the media where citizens can get to know such genuine do gooders and hear them speak about their own work in their own words.

“Everyday when I turn the pages of my favorite news-source, the newspaper, I’m vexed to see the surplus of wannabe page 3 celebrities! Where are the people who are actually doing things for and in Bangalore?”, she asks, in response to her motivations for doing the show. “This is a format that is a first-ever for Bangalore’s radio scene”, she notes.

She would like more and more Bangaloreans to hear the city’s social innovators on air, get inspired and share with the city, stories of changemakers in their own neighborhood. “Why only share, even become change makers themselves”, she hopes.

Citizen Matters on the Changemakers show
Dec 9th: Radio Indigo 91.9 FM at 9am to 10am
Subramaniam (Subbu) Vincent and Jayanagar MLA B N Vijaykumar chat with Vasanthi Hariprakash

Even as the changemakers show is broadcasting the voices of several people working for a better city, it’s sponsor, NBF is encouraging Bangaloreans to nominate citizens and organizations for this year’s Namma Bengaluru Awards (2012).

The awards project was initiated by the NBF in 2009. “The awards are a tribute to the quiet unsung heroes of our city. Those who generously give their time and effort, often against great odds to genuinely make a difference”, says Dr M Sudhakar Varanasi, CEO of NBF.

The awards have been given for three years so far through a jury-based selection process in categories that include individuals and organisations. Currently nominations are on for 2012, the fourth editio, and the winners will be selected and felicitated by Feb-March 2013.

Daya Menon, Executive Director at NBF, is a passionate supporter of change making in Bengaluru. She says that the smallest acts can have immeasurable consequences. “We are all connected. We breathe the same air, drink the same water and travel the same roads and our kids will all inherit the same city we leave behind…hence it is up to us to take ownership”, says Daya, in response to a question on how she relates to change making and the city.

NBF says change makers can be from any of the following sectors: environment, health, infrastructure, women’s rights, child rights, human rights, right to information, and so forth. The last date for nominations in December 15th 2012.

Meanwhile for those of who missed the previous Bangalore’s Change makers shows, you can listen the archived programmes online at the NBF’s website.

And don’t miss the special one! Citizen Matters is on the show to be telecast on Dec 9th Sunday. Tune in between 9am-10am to hear Subramaniam (Subbu) Vincent, co-founder and editor, in conversation with Vasanthi and Jayanagar MLA B N Vijaykumar. Vijaykumar is also a NBA 2009 winner. Hear Vijaykumar also speak about his work, and the city’s latest and perhaps starkest crisis apart from water, garbage.

“I am happy that the Namma Bengaluru Foundation has taken the initiative to do such a show with all its conviction”, signs off Vasanthi.

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Alpana Bhartia Says Rehabilitation of Circus Elephants is a Long Process

The classic Walt Disney feature Dumbo looks cute on the DVD cover, but reality speaks otherwise. Performing elephants in ‘cruelty-free’ circuses go through a heartbreaking ordeal to become ‘stars’ that circus-goers talk so fondly to their children about. As a matter of fact, ‘cruelty-free’ circus is an oxymoron. Newborn elephants are torn away from their mothers and are made to stand on hard concrete floor to break their spirit. Luckily, a recent communication made by Central Zoo Authority to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change will push circuses to stop the cruel subjugation of elephants. Animal rights activists like Alpana Bhartia from Bangalore-based People for Animals are lauding this spectacular move.

Even thought there are laws against animal cruelty, people are generally apathetic and ignorant when it comes to animal rights. Article 51A(g) states that it’s the fundamental duty of Indian citizens to be compassionate towards all living creatures, irrespective of their size or how dangerous they can be. Ill-treatment and physical abuse, including murder are punishable through IPC section 428 and 429. CZA figured that the water was too deep, as a result, they requested the state forest departments to cancel animal ownership license of circuses. As told by Alpana Bhartia, this will lay a strong foundation for the rehabilitation of elephants and other maltreated beasts-of-entertainment.

Alpana Bhartia(the wife of industrialist Alok Bhartia), is one of the founders of People for Animals, who believes animal rehabilitation is a difficult process since it’s not always possible to release the rescued into the wild. It’ll be a challenge for the Central Zoo Authority and state forest departments to breathe back in the spirit of these majestic creatures. Arpan Sharma, the director of Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organization(FIAPO) thinks CZA’s initiative to be the most progressive move ever made by a government body.

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Animal shelters doing a commendable work, reckons Alpana Bhartia, a member of PFA

We often ignore the sufferings of animals, who are repeatedly bearing the brunt of our careless attitude towards Nature. Alpana Bhartia, a member of PFA (People for Animals) NGO, which works for the rescue and rehabilitation of animals and birds, says that it is our responsibility to end the sufferings and miseries of these animals.

At present, a lot of animals are being injured and tortured frequently. People are using them in circuses, putting them in cages and using them for their own benefit. But, in recent times, there has been a rise in the number of organizations which have come forward to help these animals. A member of one such organization, Alpana Bhartia is happy with the efforts put in by animal shelters across the country and hopes that they continue to put in the hard yards.

Animal shelters and NGOs across the country have been running a number of campaigns across India to educate people about the malpractices against animals and birds. A lot of seminars are conducted in various cities to bring this issue to the fore.

Apart from spreading awareness, these NGOs are actively rescuing injured animals, and ensuring their complete rehabilitation. Sometimes our own activities are causing injuries to these animals. But organizations like PFA have changed the scenario to quite an extent.

However, there are some issues faced by these rescuers themselves. One cannot overlook the need of funds. The requirement of funds keeps increasing with every day, and it is very important for these shelters to arrange money in advance. According to Alpana Bhartia, apart from funds, one of the major issues faced by these shelters is the continuity of volunteers. The network of volunteers keeps changing, as majority of them move on with their lives after spending some time with the organization.

In spite of all these problems, these organizations are doing a commendable job. A lot of animals are treated by these shelters daily. They have shared phone numbers for emergency cases and have their own network of logistics to bring these distressed and injured animals to the shelters.

Alpana Bhartia, an active member of PFA, believes that the network of these shelters can expand if people come forward and lend a helping hand to these NGOs for the betterment of our society.