I hope you are well. Great stuff here: More than 1,200 animals directly benefited from Animal Rahat’s hard work over the past month! Let me show you just a few of them, and please don’t miss the dog who had her head stuck in half a jar. They are all fantastic individuals.
Below are some of the newest residents of Animal Rahat’s Home for Retired Bullocks. Rhamba is one of the 22 donkeys we recently saved from a life of grueling labor at a brick kiln. Here she is, along with her dear newly born foal, Bawari.
Thanks to Animal Rahat, Bawari will never experience the misery of stumbling along in the heat, hauling enormous loads of bricks on her back. For Rhamba, those days are behind her now that Animal Rahat has persuaded the owner of the brick kiln to use a tractor instead of donkeys. Because Rhamba was pregnant when she was rescued, she was not able to make the journey to our sister sanctuary in the Nilgiri Hills, where the rest of the donkeys went, but she and Bawari will be joining them there soon.
Last month, the donkeys got two new neighbors. The handsome horse above is Abdulla. His owner was forcing him to give rides to tourists on Juhu Beach in Mumbai. He was rescued by a local animal-protection organization, but when that group was unable to provide him with a home, we stepped in.
Abdulla is 11 years old, which is relatively young for a horse, but he had been badly neglected. His rear hooves had not been trimmed for far too long, which made it difficult for him to bear weight on his hind legs. The day he arrived, we removed his shoes and trimmed his hooves, and he was immediately much more comfortable.
The second neighbor to join the crew was Surtya, a newly rescued bullock. In the photo below, you see him as our staffers found him—tied to a pole with no shelter from the driving sun. While on a call for a different case, two Animal Rahat team members noticed that this bullock was repeatedly swaying his head, which is a sign of confinement-induced psychological distress.
Our staffers learned from nearby villagers that the owner had retired Surtya and had even been convinced by Animal Rahat to remove his nose rope, both of which seemed like great news. However, apparently his owner was the only person Surtya wasn’t afraid of. Now that he was left home all day while his owner went to work, Surtya would attack the owner’s wife and children out of fear if they came near him. So they tied him tightly to this pole, where he was kept day in and day out.
Our staffers taught the family how to use a grooming brush on Surtya, in order to give him pleasure and therefore increase his trust. However, after following up a few days later and seeing that the family was still too scared to groom the frightened bullock, our team persuaded his owner to give him to us.
Surtya is now learning how to trust the Animal Rahat staff and has befriended a bullock named Zhendya in the night stall next to his. Finally, this dear soul can enjoy plenty of shade, stretch his limbs instead of being tied up, and become comfortable around people instead of living in constant fear.
Above is an example of an illegal practice that has been greatly reduced as a result of Animal Rahat’s work but still crops up from time to time. Animal Rahat stopped the driver of this cart and warned him that it is unlawful to yoke a pony and a bullock together because ponies’ necks aren’t built to bear yokes. (Pony carts use harnesses instead.) Additionally, most of the time, the bullock is bigger, and therefore most of the yoke’s weight falls on the pony. In this particular instance, the calf was smaller, so most of the weight fell on him. Nevertheless, it’s still unlawful because the pony’s neck is harmed by the yoke, and the two species’ differing gaits make it difficult for them to pull the cart.
Among the many animals treated or rescued by Animal Rahat last month were this dog, whose neck was stuck in a broken plastic jar so she could neither eat nor drink; the bullock above, whose cancerous eye we removed; and the cow below, who had fallen into a newly constructed septic tank and become stuck. By recruiting help from several villagers and carefully threading ropes beneath her, we were able to pull her free.
Animal Rahat also convinced 16 bullock owners to permanently remove the nose ropes from their bullocks this month. When calves are young, their septums are pierced with a hot needle and threaded with a rope that is then tied tightly behind their ears. This hideous rope tugs at their nose 24 hours day for the rest of their lives and is used to control their movements.
Animal Rahat is slowly but surely persuading people to do away with these torturous nose ropes and switch to morkees (halters). The owner above has just permanently removed his bullock’s nose rope. The photo was snapped right at the moment that the bullock was giving his nose a disbelieving swipe with his tongue—imagine his relief!
Last month, Animal Rahat set up shop at four major fairs, where we treated dozens of sick and injured bullocks and horses and where thousands of fairgoers who had come to buy and sell animals learned about welfare issues through our street plays, poster galleries (like the one shown below), and outreach meetings with small groups of animal owners.
In the meeting shown above, an Animal Rahat staffer is demonstrating a grooming brush and explaining the many benefits of grooming—including keeping animals’ fur clean and free of ectoparasites such as fleas, increasing their trust, and using positive reinforcement to modify their aggressive or fear-based behavior.
I’ll leave you with one last piece of good news. We recently met with the council members of Bakshi-Hipparga village. Based on our success in Wadji village, where Animal Rahat sterilized every single community dog, the Bakshi Hipparga council requested that we do the same in its village. The fact that we didn’t have to sell the council members on the idea but rather that they invited us is a fantastic sign of progress in a region where spaying and neutering was unheard of before Animal Rahat came along.
None of this vitally important work would be possible without the generosity of our kind supporters. Thank you for caring about Animal Rahat so that we can make a meaningful and lasting impact on animals’ lives every single day.
P.S. Please consider donating to Animal Rahat today to help us increase our educational outreach, reduce the suffering of stray dogs through spay/neuter programs, rescue animals from life-threatening circumstances, provide crucial veterinary treatment, and replace the use of working animals with tractors and other modern equipment. Thank you.
P.P.S. Help spread the word about Animal Rahat’s important work with Animal Rahat logo items—including T-shirts, mugs, and water bottles—available through CafePress.
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