Under the blazing sun, bullocks are being worked to death, enduring a life of suffering from the moment they’re born until they die.
These sweet animals toil for years with heavy loads on their backs, then face the searing pain of a dull blade to the throat in a slaughterhouse.
It is difficult knowing that this same abuse continues today-more than a half-century after I first witnessed it. But I can’t forget about it, and I hope you’ll join with me to stop it. Will you help me bring relief to these animals with a gift of any monatory amount.
These cattle are not “beasts of burden” – they’re individuals with hopes and fears just like you and me. And they aren’t the only animals I see abused and neglected when I return to India each year.
Horses are forced to dance while wearing painful spiked bits in their mouths. Elephants are chained for months so tightly to concrete floors that they can’t take a single step in any direction. Donkeys slave away in kilns hauling stacks of bricks on their backs.
And numberous dogs try to survive on busy streets, where they’re often hit by cars as they search for a few scraps of food. These dogs and puppies have mange and are covered with ticks and fleas. Their skin itches constantly, but they can’t expect even a friendly scratch under the chin for relief.
Animal Rahat is desperately trying to reach as many of these animals as possible. But your help is needed to save animals in dire conditions. The best and often only hope for these animals is Animal Rahat, a lifesaving organization based in India and supported by PETA. “Rahat” means “relief” in Hindi.
Hundreds of animals who are near collapse from heat, exhaustion, dehydration, and other mistreatment. They are beautiful animals, gentle and kind.
A bullock’s human family is often so fond of their four-legged companion that they would like to keep him even after he is too old to work. But they cannot afford to feed and care for him. In these cases, Animal Rahat offers families a small financial subsidy to provide for their bullock’s care. The family keeps their friend, and the animal is spared a gruesome death in a slaughterhouse.
It’s this kind of innovation and determination that makes Animal Rahat so effective.
For instance, Animal Rahat refused to give up when it came to saving Sunder, a 14 year old elephant who endured a life filled with beatings and loneliness. He was given to a temple, and officials kept him chained alone in a dark shed for seven  years. When the temple keepers walked him, they put a spiked chain on his leg so that any step in the “wrong” direction brought piercing pain.
Rescuing Sunder took years, and the campaign faced immense hurdles- including attempts at religious blackmail, court battles, and political corruption. But like you, when an animal is suffering, Animal Rahat doesn’t give up or back down.
Today, Sunder is safeat the Bannerghatta Biological Park, where he’ll be able to walk in the forest and bathe in ponds. Sunder’s life has changed forever-and watching him live in peace has changed those around him, too. A veterinarian who witnessed Sunder’s first greeting with another elephant joyfully recalls. “That was a moment I saw a glow in Sunder’s eyes!”
But other elephants, bullocks, and dogs are suffering right now-they need people like you to support the effort to save them.
Helping working animals means considering the needs of their owners. Impoverished villagers who use animals to haul loads depend on these animals for their income. The loss of even one day’s work can be devastating, which is why animals are pushed beyond their breaking point even when a veterinarian warns that without a rest period they may be crippled or even die.
Your emergency gift to Animal Rahat will give poor villagers nutritious food for their bullocks so that they can provide their animals with rest days without the expense of feeding them when they aren’t working. Your contribution will also help support an innovative program that provides subsistence farmers with mini-tractors to haul heavy sugarcane loads so that their bullocks don’t have to. So far, this project has saved nearly 5,000 bullocks from toiling under the yoke-and that’s just the beginning!
Animal Rahat also charters buses to transport villagers to annual festivals, sparing bullocks, horses and ponies prolonged, grueling, and deadly journeys.
I’d like to ensure that Animal Rahat can be there for every animal: the donkey who collapses on the side if the road… the bullock injured by heavy, ill-fitting equipment…even wild animals such as peacocks and hyenas who find themselves injured and distressed with no one to care for them.
Every day Animal Rahat’s scouts are out on the roads looking for animals in distress-and providing the help necessary to stop suffering and save lives. But with temperatures high and poverty rates even higher, more and more animals are in desperate need.
Some of their owners don’t even recognize their suffering. Centuries of misinformation have led people to believe that animals do well without water, that they don’t need rest, and that they are super-resilent to heat. Villagers have even been told that their animals have a special tolerance to pain, so they whip them harder and harder, not recognizing the physical and emotional damage that they’re causing.
The cruelty is heartbreaking. But unlike abuse that stems from malice and callous disregard for animals, abuse born of ignorance can be ended through education. Animal Rahat has convinced bullock owners to replace hideously painful nose ropes-which run through a hold piercing the bullock’s septum-with comfortable face harnesses. Many villager leaders have had sand pits built in their communities after attending Animal Rahat’s lectures on the injuries and stress caused by casting bullocks onto the hard ground during shoeing. Billboards featuring Animal Rahat’s phone number have generated a floor of calls from concerned villagers reporting animal emergencies and animalcare issues.
Animal Rahat stretches every dollar to the max because there are always more animals in need than financial resources to help; more donkey toiling under the crushing weight of bricks that they must haul day after day, more elephants chained to concrete floors for months on end, and more injured, sick bullocks sent to the slaughterhouse.
These suffering animals will never experience relief without the help of Animal Rahat and people like you who care.
Very truly yours,
Ingrid E. Newkirk, President of PETA