Written by Michelle Kretzer
What can you buy the bride and
groom who have everything? PETA found the perfect wedding present for PETA
supporter Alec Baldwin and his bride, Hilaria
Thomas, halfway around the world: an Indian bullock named Raja who had carried a heavy
weight on his shoulders for years, pulling a cart overloaded with tons of
sugarcane. Raja has now been renamed Baldwin Thomas in honor of the newlyweds,
and he will spend the rest of his days relaxing at the PETA-funded Animal Rahat sanctuary in India.
When Animal Rahat veterinarians
first met Baldwin Thomas, his owner had brought the aging bullock to them for medical care. But when the vets saw that the 22-year-old animal was
suffering from arthritis and squamous cell carcinoma in his left eye, they
convinced his owner to let him retire.
After a successful operation to
remove the cancerous growth, treatment for his arthritis, and lots of TLC, Baldwin
Thomas is now much healthier and much happier. And after a life spent toiling
under the hot Indian sun, the bullock with the famous name is content to spend
his "moment in the sun" resting in the shade.
It's a common sight in
Maharashtra during sugarcane season—bullocks panting
and frothing at the mouth from straining to pull carts piled high with
sugarcane. Their knees are swollen, and their necks and shoulders bear wounds that
are a silent testimony to their daily toil under the yoke.
The bullocks who are forced to
work on India's sugarcane farms are commonly denied proper food, fresh drinking
water, sufficient rest, and relief from the blazing-hot sun. They are yanked
roughly by wires threaded through their pierced noses and are often beaten or
whipped. Strands of barbed wire are sometimes put under the wooden yoke, and a thin
piece of leather is attached to the whip to make it sting even more.
PETA's friends at Animal Rahat, which offers relief for India's working animals,
are improving conditions for these bullocks. For years, Animal Rahat
has provided bullocks with medical attention, persuaded owners to let sick and
injured animals rest, and replaced painful nose ropes with harnesses.
But Animal Rahat's groundbreaking new initiative, "The Tractor Project,"
is a way to eliminate the use of bullocks completely
and replace them with small tractors. It's the start of a terrific plan that
could eventually relieve untold suffering.
Sugarcane farms are largely
staffed by migrant workers who live on the factory land for six to seven months
of the year, harvesting and hauling. These poor farmers cannot afford to buy a
motorized vehicle to haul the cane, but The Tractor Project is changing that. Animal
Rahat made a donation toward the purchase of five new tractors for workers at the
Kranti Sugar Factory. The factory then gave the employees an interest-free loan
for the rest of the cost.
week, the first five owners were presented with their new tractors, and their
10 old, worn-out bullocks were released from servitude in a touching ceremony
at the factory. When the bullocks arrived at Animal Rahat's Retired Bullock Home later that same day, caretakers
removed their nose ropes and offered the relieved animals jaggery, a sweet
treat that they love, to welcome them.
Animal Rahat and the Kranti Sugar
Factory plan to distribute more tractors as they find the funds to do so. And
Animal Rahat is preparing to expand The Tractor Project to other areas if
possible. Each sugarcane factory uses about 1,200 working bullocks, so it will
be no small task. But Animal Rahat is dedicated to ending the suffering of
To contribute to Animal Rahat's
overall efforts—which fund new
initiatives, including The Tractor Project—visit
Animal Rahat's fundraising
Written by PETA
the Indian festival of Diwali, people traditionally share
sweets and snacks with family members and friends, so it only makes sense that staffers
with Animal Rahat, a working-animal relief program
in India supported by PETA, would mark the festival of lights by paying a visit
to Animal Rahat's sanctuary for retired bullocks in Sangli to share some treats
with their friends there.
staffers also cleaned and groomed the animals and gave them much-appreciated
massages, as well as performing the traditional Hindu rituals associated with
the holiday. In the photos below, you can see some of the animals in their
holiday finery, enjoying their "prasad" (offerings to the goddess
Lakshmi—in this case, a tasty banana).
bullocks also enjoyed a special meal of green grass and molasses (an extra special treat), and the resident dogs dined on a holiday feast of rice and
out more about Animal Rahat's vital work to provide veterinary care, rest,
nutrition, shelter, aid, and retirement to working animals in India at AnimalRahat.com. Please also consider making a donation today to become a supporter of the Animal Rahat program.
I thought living downwind of the reeking refineries in east
Houston reflected badly on the oil industry, but that's just a mere annoyance
compared to the
suffering of bulls at the hands of oil companies in India.
That's why one of our friends from PETA India took over the stage at the Oil and Gas Review
Summit and International Exhibition in Mumbai to urge India's wealthy oil biz
leaders to replace carts
drawn by bulls with modern, non-animal forms of transport. The PETA India staffer was dragged out of the conference—chanting "Shame!"
Let's hope that she opened some eyes
(and hearts). Most of the bulls used to transport fuel from oil ports to
rationing stations in Mumbai are underfed and malnourished and kept in filthy
conditions, and many suffer from chronic inflammation, maggot-infested wounds, infections, or intestinal
problems. They are forced to work until they are exhausted, pulling
heavy loads through all weather extremes.
To learn how you can help end these bullocks' suffering, see
PETA India's action
alert and please make a donation to Animal Rahat, which was created to make a difference in the lives of working bullocks, donkeys, ponies and horses.
Written by Jeff Mackey
Great news from our colleagues at Animal Rahat, who not only stopped a bullock race in the Indian state of Maharashtra but also convinced the organizers to agree in writing to stop the races for good. This was no simple task: The team faced a mob of 5,000 people ready to participate in or watch the race. But with tact and persistence, they were able to spare the bulls from being forced to run.
Despite a recent ban on bullock racing, these cruel events are still being organized in rural areas. The bullocks are malnourished and thirsty and are routinely whipped and beaten. Cruel methods are used to keep them moving, like having pieces of barbed wire wedged underneath their harnesses. Ropes that are jammed through holes pierced in the bulls' nostrils are yanked and pulled so hard that their noses are often ripped open.
Don't let "entertainment" events involving animals in your area go unchallenged. Contact the organizers to get it stopped and contact us so that we can help.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor
Every year, thousands of people from all over the Indian states of Maharashtra and Karnataka travel to the village of Chinchali to attend the annual fair celebrating the goddess Mayakka Devi. Entire families pile into carts pulled by bullocks, horses, and donkeys for what can be a two-day trip across hundreds of miles. The animals often suffer from dehydration, wounds, and lameness, and some even collapse from the strain.
Animal Rahat, a working-animal relief program supported by PETA, has provided aid and emergency veterinary care to the animals in years past, but this year, under the direction of Dr. Manilal Valliyate, it went a step further and chartered buses to transport villagers to the fair in order to give the hardworking animals a long-overdue rest.
To help animals along the route to the fair, Animal Rahat deployed four relief teams, including a full-time veterinary team at the busiest rest station, a veterinary team at the fair itself, an on-call emergency veterinarian for the entire route, and an education team that discussed proper animal care with animal guardians.
Animal Rahat's veterinarians estimate that they treated hundreds of bullocks and horses for dehydration and injuries—but by providing bus transport, hundreds more animals were spared from having to make the grueling trip at all.
Written by Alisa Mullins
Tomorrow, PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk will celebrate her big 6-0, and we've received some queries from people wondering what to get her. Well, wonder no more, friends. We've got just the thing!
One cause that's very close to Ingrid's heart is Animal Rahat, and no wonder: Animal Rahat helps hard-working bullocks, donkeys, ponies, and horses in India, where Ingrid spent much of her childhood. Animal Rahat gives them relief (that's what "rahat" means) from the heat, water to quench their raging thirst, a place to rest when they fall lame, veterinary care for their yoke and harness injuries, and sometimes even fodder during periods of draught when the subsistence farmers who own them can't afford to feed them.
Rahat also offers a program that allows bullocks to retire and live out their lives with their human families instead of being sent to slaughter. You may recall the story we shared with you recently about Shilya's retirement—and he's just one of Rahat's success stories.
Animal Rahat is doing great things for some of the least fortunate animals on Earth. To help them out—and to sign Ingrid's birthday card—just zip over here.
What if you could help a truly worthy cause, which helps animals who have some of the worst lives on the planet? Well, snap, you can!
Forget Heifer International (I'll tell you why in a minute)—here's the wonderful Animal Rahat, which means "animal relief." Animal Rahat is based in Indian villages that produce bricks and sugar cane and was created (with PETA's help) to provide relief to the working bulls, donkeys, ponies, and horses the impoverished villagers rely on. Animal Rahat has greatly improved the lives of these animals by giving rest to the lame—something the owners could never afford by themselves in their hand-to-mouth existence. Animal Rahat also provides free medical relief to lame, sick, and injured animals. The owners of these animals are often too poor to afford even the most basic nutrients that the animals require to stay strong and healthy—let alone pay for veterinary services.
Animal Rahat has even created a retirement program in which owners are offered a small subsidy to "retire" older animals and allow them to live out the rest of their lives with their human families—rather than send them to hideously cruel slaughterhouses.
With the holidays upon us, kind folks are opening their checkbooks in the spirit of helping others. Please, let's not forget about those hard-pressed working animals who need a day's rest, a poultice for a wound, a bridle that doesn't eat into their faces, and more.
And let's not be fooled by organizations like Heifer International, which send animals to families abroad. This only perpetuates the cruelty to which animals raised for food are subjected—and they always end up slaughtered. And in addition to preventing daily cruelty, it's far more efficient to feed the hungry on a vegetarian diet, as the resources stretch a lot further. After all, it takes 6–16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of meat—and that's a lot of wasted food …
So, why not save a life this holiday season and help these working animals? You know you want to …
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
I wonder who in today's day and age thought that bullock carts were still a good idea.
After teaming up with Bollywood celebrities to protest this inhumane use of bullocks, PETA India has now turned to a creative street-demo approach! In Mumbai—a traffic-congested, bustling rich city—the local kerosene companies (which are not poor by any stretch of the imagination) use bullocks to pull rickety carts heavily laden with kerosene barrels. Between shipments, the bullocks are also forced to stand for hours without any shade in the sweltering sun and are not given sufficient food or anywhere near the amount of water they need. PETA India has discovered that sick and injured bullocks are being forced to pull the extremely heavy oil carts through the city and that they do not receive any veterinary care.
Join PETA India—and the Bollywood humane set—and sign the petition asking Mumbai's controller of rationing to end this cruelty to bullocks. Also, check out these great photos from the PETA India demo
As the Michael Moore juggernaut continues unabated, I thought it might be nice to take a quick breather and check out some of the amazing work that PETA India has been doing this week, which, because it's not quite so sensational, probably won't be getting the attention it deserves. Animal Rahat is a program that works closely with PETA India to bring relief to working bullocks, donkeys, ponies, and horses in India by giving them the rest, drinking water, and veterinary care that they so desperately need.
The sad situation for most working animals in India is that the people who use them simply can't afford to ever give them a day off, let alone veterinary care, and the reports and pictures that we get from India about these animals' lives and deaths are heartbreaking.
Which is why it's always so great to get photos like these, from the team at Animal Rahat, who spent last weekend fixing water troughs in a local square near their facilities.
If you'd like to sponsor a working donkey, buffalo, bullock, or pony in India through Animal Rahat, you can learn more here.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
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.