Animal welfare

More than 1,000 activists urge government to take stronger action on animal welfare

Over 1,000 animal welfare activists, organizations and animal lovers have come together to highlight key issues that need immediate attention at the two-day India for Animals (IFA) 2022 conference, organized by the Federation of Indian Animal Welfare Organizations (FIAPO), held in association with The Dogs Trust Worldwide.

This was the fourth edition of the conference, which was held virtually for the very first time due to pandemic-related limitations.

The conference identified seven priority areas where the government needs to act urgently, for the welfare of animals, as well as because of the urgent need to counter the visible global impact of climate change. As a priority, tabling of the bill amending the bill on the prevention of cruelty to animals and introducing strict penalties for cruelty to animals.

Concrete improvement of the conditions of accommodation, transport and slaughter of a chicken, with in particular the end of battery cages. Clear policies and regulatory framework to regulate aquaculture farms and improve fish life.

Strict enforcement of slaughterhouse rules and action against illegal meat shops

Adoption of welfare measures to improve the condition of cows and buffaloes in dairies. No dilution of article 43 of the law on the protection of wild life, authorizing the sale of elephants. It is widely recognized that adopting a plant-based diet is imperative from an animal, human health and climate change perspective.

“On behalf of the animal welfare community, FIAPO is submitting resolutions to the government based on the seven priority areas identified at the India for Animals 2022 conference, seeking immediate action and collaboration between government, animal welfare organizations animal protection and civil society,” said Bharati Ramachandran, CEO of FIAPO.

On the opening day of the IFA, keynote speaker Dr. Peter Singer, acclaimed philosopher and author of Animal Liberation, who recently won the Berggruen Prize (equivalent to the Nobel Prize in the field of philosophy), set the tone with his searing rhetoric on speciesism, declaring that the use of animals, especially in intensive livestock systems, was morally indefensible, from the perspective of animal rights, climate change and the pandemic.

The conference also shed light on the plight of animals in captivity, particularly elephants. The exclusive screening of the haunting feature film, Gods in Shackles, by award-winning filmmaker Sangita Iyer, revealed the exploitation of elephants used in temples and for festivities in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

Animal rights activist Nikita Dhawan, 16, gave an inspirational speech about how she set up a global campaign to free Shankar, an African elephant who has spent most of her life isolated adult animal at Delhi Zoo. Suparna Ganguly, Founder of CUPA and WRRC (Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre), spoke of working with government authorities and policy makers, while organizing pressure campaigns, raising awareness and garnering broad support.

The conference ended by honoring individuals and organizations for undertaking animal protection work and encouraging them to help them grow and strengthen their efforts.

In addition to this, FIAPO has also announced a media grant to promote the coverage of animal-focused stories in mainstream media.