Animal Welfare - Introduction
As per the Indian tradition and culture, animals always had respect and a special place in society. Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism have always preached kindness and compassion to animals. Each Hindu God or Goddess is seen with an animal.
But today times have changed. With population explosion, urbanization and consumerism catching up, animals are easy prey for human greed. They are soft targets for any one trying to make a quick buck, and prime candidates for exploitation. Today even healthy, young animals are killed for leather, meat and tallow. Calves are kept hungry and emaciated, while the cow's milk is sold in the markets for human consumption. Chicken are kept in cramped batteries, either for the eggs or for slaughter. Slaughter animals are made to walk thousands of miles to slaughterhouses, or carted in trucks / tempos packed like sardines, with the result some of them die of suffocation before they reach their destination. Rhesus monkeys and Dancing Bears performing on the streets, with hordes of people watching them, is another eye sore in India. The fear of the baton falling on their backs is clearly visible in their eyes. Same is the case with thousands of animals performing in the circuses. Research on animals is another major issue that needs to be tackled. With tremendous pressure from animal welfare groups in the developed countries, companies are bringing their research work to India, where the laws are not strict and they can get away with just about anything.
In this situation, animal welfare in India takes on a whole new meaning. With so many animal issues and so many animals on the streets, the need of the day is to have several animal welfare societies in each community, whereas there is only one full fledged hospital in whole Mumbai city which is not at all sufficient to look after all the sick and injured animals. NGOs who are running the ABC centers also treat the sick, injured animals or house the abandon animals with very meager means and facilities. The Government of India is trying to encourage setting up of an SPCA in each District of the country, but there are few takers. IDA India also has a project on the agenda to build an animal hospital with latest technology and equipment.
The only ray of hope is the advent of television. Awareness about animal issues and environment is spreading among youngsters watching channels like Animal Planet, National Geographic and Discovery. They are becoming aware of the place of animals in our lives and the need to give them the due respect. IDA India hopes to tap the potential of these youngsters for welfare of animals, and has formed the 'Compassionate Children's Club'.IDA India also regularly organized the animal welfare and awareness programs in schools, collages, and socials groups which is playing very effective role in bringing wider vision for animal issues among the adult and children.