Written by PETA
Joined by some fabulous Bollywood besties, PETA India celebrated its 10th birthday last week with a gala, at which vegan delights abounded and awesome melodies sounded. Hosted by superstars and longtime PETA supporters John Abraham, Hema Malini, Anoushka Shankar, Raveena Tandon, and Atul Kasbekar, the epic event featured performances by Ash Chandler and ishQ Bector, and lucky guests got the best goodie bags ever—cruelty-free chocolates and cosmetics included.
Happy birthday, PETA India!
Written by Logan Scherer
Update: PETA India has just announced that it will give its 2009 Proggy Award for International Leadership in the Field of Animal Rights to India's Central Zoo Authority (CZA) in recognition of the government organization's decision to ban the use of elephants in zoos and circuses.
That's right. India, which is home to an estimated 23,900 to 32,900 wild elephants, will no longer allow its most prominent national symbol—the elephant—to be imprisoned in zoos or forced to perform in circuses. The move by India's Central Zoo Authority (CZA) comes after years of campaigning by PETA India to improve conditions for captive elephants (it has already succeeded in getting performing elephants banned from Mumbai and other cities). PETA India repeatedly expressed concerns to the CZA about the mental and physical suffering endured by elephants when they are forced to spend all their time standing on hard concrete surfaces while confined to cramped enclosures that severely restrict their movement. Now the government has announced that all the elephants currently living in Indian zoos will be transferred to elephant camps run by the Forest Department. The camps will be located near protected areas, national parks, and wildlife sanctuaries in India.
Back in 2005, PETA India embarked on an investigation of 14 major zoos throughout the country and found appalling neglect at every single facility. The group discovered hungry animals who were forced to forage among rotten food and garbage, animals who were confined to barren cages and enclosures without so much as a blade of grass, and animals who were deprived of shelter from monsoons and the blazing Indian sun.
At the Aurangabad Municipal Zoo in Maharashtra, a PETA India investigator found that the elephants were confined to a bleak concrete enclosure. All the elephants were chained, and one was tethered by both front legs with a spiked chain, effectively (and painfully) preventing him from moving more than a few shuffling steps in any direction.
After Rajkumar, an elephant at the Mumbai zoo, attacked his keeper, his intensive confinement prompted PETA India to file a lawsuit against the zoo. The court ruled in PETA India's favor, and Rajkumar was moved to another zoo in 2007.
Over the years, PETA India's campaign against the abysmal conditions for animals in captivity has garnered support from numerous celebrities, including UK Big Brother veteran Shilpa Shetty, Beatles guru Ravi Shankar, and Shankar's daughter Anoushka.
Congratulations to PETA India on this groundbreaking victory. Now, if only North American zoos and circuses would follow suit.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Two years ago in Bangalore, a man named Vijay took a shine to one of India's numerous needy, homeless dogs. Vijay named the dog Johny and started feeding and caring for him. Johny quickly became a popular member of the neighborhood.
Little did Vijay know that his good deed was destined to lead to another.
When a thief snatched jewelry from a woman who was walking down Johny's street, it was Johny to the rescue! Johny chased the man down, caught him by the pants, and refused to the let the man go until police arrived and arrested the bandit.
With the perp in custody and the jewelry returned to its rightful owner, Johny has been promoted from favorite neighborhood dog to local hero, which just goes to show how a simple act of kindness keeps on giving.
Written by Jeff Mackey
While some PETA India members in Calcutta faced cop trouble at a demonstration outside the Calcutta Zoo earlier this week, others hit the streets in Delhi to help residents brush up on their ABCs: animal birth control.
Delhi, Bangalore, and other parts of the country are facing a critical animal overpopulation crisis that has left dogs and cats living in misery on the streets. Did you know that one female dog and all her puppies can produce a whopping 67,000 dogs in six years if none of them are spayed or neutered?
The solution to animal overpopulation in India—and the rest of the world—is simple: Always spay or neuter your companion animals.
Written by Liz Graffeo
As promised, here are the photos from PETA India's protest yesterday outside the Calcutta Zoo. You'll probably remember the protest because of a certain police officer's arrest "Fail."
Written by Amanda Schinke
My "case of the Mondays" went up in smoke as soon as I read about a capless, clueless cop who landed himself in hot water during a PETA India protest outside the Calcutta Zoo.
The officer, Assistant Commissioner Anil Kar, wasn't about to interrupt a smoke break to make an arrest. Instead, he held his coffin nail* (see note below) in one hand—and in the other, he held PETA India's own Chiranjeet Karar, who was decked out in a police uniform and monkey mask and was encouraging people to boycott zoos because they incarcerate and exploit animals, not to mention that Indian zoos are extremely substandard and that animals are frequently denied basic care.
The multitasking officer didn't realize that smoking on duty is a no-no (Yes, Rule 13 of the Police Regulation of Calcutta states that police officers in uniform are forbidden to smoke on the streets), as is abandoning various parts of his uniform.
(*Or is it "coughin' nail?" I guess either one works, right?)
Written by Karin Bennett
Yesterday, PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk turned 60! (Can you believe it? She says, "Yes, count the crow's feet!") Our staff asked supporters who wanted to wish Ingrid a happy birthday to send a donation to one of her favorite programs, Animal Rahat. And boy, did you come through. So far, birthday well-wishers have donated more than $12,000 to Animal Rahat, and that means the world to all those bulls and donkeys!
The folks at Animal Rahat were tickled to be the recipients of such generous gifts, so they made a birthday cake and gave out celebratory fresh grass (a big treat for the animals) and vital nutrition packs along the village roadways. Here are some photos of the big shindig:
For those of you who aren't familiar with Animal Rahat's work, it provides desperately needed relief—such as food, veterinary care, water stations, and portable sunshades—to working animals in India. It also runs relief camps where injured, sick, and debilitated animals can recuperate as well as a retirement center where elderly animals can live out their golden years in comfort. Check out these photos of Animal Rahat in action:
Thank you all for helping to improve the lives of these working animals.
The always incredible PETA India wrapped up 2008 spreading the message of compassion for animals across the country. Check out some photos of their attention-grabbing demos below:
In Mumbai, two activists posed as horses injured by vehicle accidents to show how dangerous the streets can be for these sensitive animals. This demo encouraged Mumbaikars (Mumbai citizens) to say "neigh" to horse-drawn carriages.
Horses aren't the only animals suffering on the streets of Mumbai. Bullocks are forced to pull heavy oil carts and are denied basic necessities. Activists rode through the streets calling for a ban on these cruel carts.
On the other side of the country, in one of Ranchi's biggest schools, five children died and more than 60 became severely ill after being given tainted milk. PETA India immediately rushed to the school and distributed soy milk to more than 200 students.
PETA India also just released this gorgeous new ad asking kite flyers to stop coating their kite string (manja) in glass. While glass-coated manja may be effective in cutting an opponent's kite string, it's deadly for thousands of birds.
Way to go PETA India! Oh, and if you want to congratulate them for all their hard work in 2008, keep in mind their birthday is coming up (PETA India turns 9 on January 14!), and they really love cupcakes.
Earlier this year, I was driving along the crowded streets of Hyderabad in India, near one of the Mahatma Gandhi shrines, when I saw something I'd never seen before that almost flipped my lid. I was there to launch the Indian version of PETA's kids' book, 50 Awesome Things Kids Can Do to Save Animals, and I knew instantly that kids had to get involved in the atrocity that was unfolding right before my eyes.
It was a few days into the annual kite-flying contest, which Hyderabad is known for, and kitemakers were squatting at every curb, spinning colored kite string. However, the string was being coated in spun glass, much as you would coat a stick with cotton candy. This makes the string razor-sharp and able to rip through an opponent's kite in a millisecond.
Errant kites, set free to entangle in phone poles and trees, rip birds to shreds. So I set off with Jayasimha, one of the great movers and shakers in PETA India, to a bird sanctuary where we watched the volunteers gearing up for the coming horror: a grueling three-day festival in which hundreds of vultures, parrots, crows, and other birds were going to be wounded, many of them fatally.
PETA India started a petition asking kids never to buy glass-coated string, called "Manja." And here is the first demonstration against it in Hyderabad:
Written by Ingrid E. Newkirk
After learning from PETA just how hideous life can be for great apes who are kept captive and forced to perform in advertisements, thanks go to Ad Council president and CEO Peggy Conlon for signing our "Great Ape Humane Pledge," committing never to use great apes in ads! This means the Ad Council won't ever support the abuse of great apes in advertising.
To express our gratitude in PETA style, we sent Conlon a box of vegan chocolate chimpanzees and a big "thank you" for joining the host of companies that have stood up for great apes. The Ad Council joins the likes of Subaru, Honda, Yahoo!, PUMA, Movietickets.com, and SEGA, which also recently made this fantastic pledge.
Oh, and PETA will be following up with the CEOs of all the top U.S. ad agencies that sit on the Ad Council's executive board, requesting that they follow suit, so … expect more on this campaign in the near future! Of course, if you work in the ad world, you can save us the trouble of tracking you down by signing PETA's "Great Ape Humane Pledge" today! Yes, chocolate monkeys would follow shortly!
Written by Sean Conner
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.