Animal welfare issues often receive less coverage in the Nepali media and are not considered ‘newsworthy’ unless humans are affected in any way. However, our President Pramada Shah and members of our animal loving Board regularly pen down their opinions in leading national newspapers like The Himalayan times, Kathmandu Post, Republica and others.
Check out some of our articles below:
Retirement home for street dogs, that too in Kathmandu! Weird it may sound to many, but some people in the city have been advocating for it for around a decade now. And finally, the team’s dream is coming true within the next one year.
Animal Nepal, an NGO dedicated to welfare of animals, is building an ‘animal resource centre’ that also comprises a sanctuary for old and handicapped dogs. The organisation has bought around 65,500 sq ft land in Dukuchhap, a village in southern Lalitpur, for Rs 10 million and is planning to collect as much amount possible to build the resource centre.
“It took us eight long years to collect the money to buy the land,” the nine-year-old organisation’s President Pramada Shah explains, “We are a nonprofit organisation and we have not invested any money with a hope of profit. What we have been doing today are all due to donations we received from people with humane hearts who naturally have an affection towards animals.”
There are already shelters built for rescued street dogs and other pets and cattle in Kathmandu. Most of them are operated by individuals and are not big enough to house many animals.
“But, what we are trying to build an operate is not only a shelter,” Shah says, “It is a resource centre, a learning centre where anyone can see, learn, know and understand what animals are and how we should treat them.”
“Kids of Kathmandu do not know where the milk they drink comes from; they do not know how the meat they take in buff or chicken momo is produced and processed,” the organisation’s Executive Director Uttam Kafle shares, “The urban society is Nepal is gradually going far away from animals and it is a very serious issue. Our resource centre is a holistic attempt to address this problem.”
As the organisation has planned, the resource centre will house around 30 elderly dogs, around 20 handicapped dogs, and around 40 working (load-carrying) animals including horses, donkeys and mules. Likewise, it will have a treatment centre, a study centre and a farmland among other facilities.
For activists like Shah and Kafle, the philosophy of animal welfare is innate to all human beings, but waiting to be realised in most of them. They view affection of animals has been an integral part of human society since the beginning of civilisation in any part of the world.
Perhaps that is why all religions have been kind to animals. “Hindus worship animals. We have festivals dedicated to cows and dogs. Further, every god and goddess we worship has an animal as his or her bahana (vehicle) and we take them as their representatives. We are proud that Buddha was born in Nepal. We even sell his name to earn a global fame as ‘peace-lovers’, but we forget the essence of Buddhism: compassion to everyone and everything,” Shah presents herself as a spiritual lecturer as she lists out other sects and religions, “And, the western world has become ahead of us in terms of animal welfare.”
“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated,” Kafle quotes Mahatma Gandhi as Shah’s explanation reminds one of Augustinian theory of education from early Christianity, “Everyone is born learned with knowledge. What you require now is to revive it, to realise it.”
For many people in Nepal, animal welfare is an elitist agenda as there are thousands of people struggling ‘like animals’ for mere hand-to-mouth existence. They think the agenda just diverts the attention, as well as support, of Samaritans and other stakeholders from people to animals.
However, activists have an answer to them. “If there are more than 30,000 NGOs working for human beings in Nepal, there are less than a dozen working for animals,” Shah says, “Animals should also receive equal attention, support and care because they are also parts of our society and they have human sympathies.”
Shah says animals’ contribution to our economy is very much underrated and one of major objectives of her organisation is to make entrepreneurs and business community realise role of these innocent creatures in their businesses so that they can better treat animals.
“Have you seen how buffaloes are brought to Kathmandu for the momo business?”Kafle questions as he narrates that dozens of the animals are packed on a truck in such a way that none of them can move an inch during the whole journey, “And, how are they slaughtered very next day?”
“I do not have any problem with you eating meat,” he says, “But, know this scientific fact that meat from animals slaughtered when they are stressed cause stress in the eater.”
“On the other hand, why do our commercial farms separate calves from cows and buffaloes as soon as they are born even if the farm-owners know that these animals are what sustain them?” Shah wonders.
So animal welfare is not only a vegetarian business, you know!
Kafle stresses that treating animals better around us is a must to let children of our family and society learn love and compassion. “If you teach your kid to greet and respect you every morning and evening, but you kick a dog on the street, what do you think the child will learn? Remember that the child who sees torture in childhood grows violent in the future.”
“We are not talking about animal welfare only; the most important thing is the holistic development of our society.”
Shah says many accuse her organisation of campaigning against tourism and dairy business in the country. “No, we are not trying to destroy your business. We are for responsible and animal-sensitive tourism and farming.”
Meanwhile, Kafle shares how elephants used in tourism business are trained to overcome their patience when Shah remembers her personal experience that walking with elephants is way happier and more pleasurable than riding them.
“Fine, we have been using animals for our livelihood since ages. But, it can never be good to deprive them of their basic needs for our greed,” Kafle explains and informs that global animal welfare movement has recognised five freedoms as basic rights of animals living under human control. They include freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury and disease; freedom to express normal behaviour; and freedom from fear and distress.
Animal Nepal is organising a charity event ‘The Connection’ this Friday evening in Sanepa of Lalitpur in order to collect funds for the resource centre. The event will be chock-full of various entertainment activities including music and dance performances.
However, financially, the organisation has not expected much from the event. “As we need Rs 10 million, it will be great if we are able to collect half million rupees from the event,” Shah says, “But, more important than money, what we are trying to build through this event is obligations in native Nepali people towards animal welfare.”
“Our society should contribute to developing itself. We should not always rely on foreign aids for every single project.” Nevertheless, she has expected a good support for non-resident Nepalis as they have been grateful to various development projects in the country.
Kafle says the organisation wants big business houses and industries of the country to donate whatever they can for the project, and the Friday event is just a beginning.
“Not only business houses and industries, but also media, schools and social organisations can support us. They can take the responsibility of building some section of our big project, be it a single pillar or just a roof for a structure.”
“We have already collected around Rs 2 million for the project and we will continue to give and seek support,” Shah says, “Brick by brick, we shall build our dream house.”
When dogs are bred for sale, they automatically become commodities. I can see dogs kept in small cages, suffering under the scorching sun or trembling during cold days. I have seen breeding centres swamped with countless breeds of dogs kept in unspeakable conditions.
“I feel very happy when I see some dogs being walked, looking healthy and loved. A well cared for and loved dog has that air of confidence around them which is such a pleasure to see. It is heartwarming to see a growing number of people who love their dogs and treat them like family. They cry when they lose their pets, take them to the vets when they are sick and fuss over them like they would over their own children. But there are many who buy pure breeds simply as status symbols. It is this group of people that I am appealing to, through this article.”
“Let’s assume the buffalo lives in Saptari. For years the animal has loyally served a family or community, ploughing the fields and pulling carts. The buffalo must feel bewildered when it is walked down to the road, leaving the village, and continuing for hours until they reach the road head. Here, it is rounded up with some 50 other buffaloes, among them mothers with their young, and is forced into a truck.”
Nepali Times reports on how our sanctuary in Badikhel provides a well-deserved retirement home for former brick kiln donkeys of Kathmandu
“With such sinful acts, one cannot expect to be blessed with prosperity, good fortune or happiness. Such sacrifices do not please any god or goddess.”
“Moving away from elephant safaris 50 years after we introduced them, seemed too big a step, but I had seen young elephants being trained at the breeding centre. It was horrifying, they are scarred for life,” Edwards recalls.
A poisoned plan by Pramada Shah and Lucia de Vries
Pramada Shah and Lucia de Vries, volunteer directors, at Animal Nepal, expose the regular poisoning campaigns by local governments in Republica. “Betraying our canine companions by feeding them poisoned meat is an example of unmatched cruelty,” they write.
Gaton notes: “This week´s Pharping CNVR proved to be a great success (many congrats out to them), and was kicked off by dozens of volunteers establishing a temporary operating theatre.”
“The hunt for any living poultry is on, and terms like ‘culling’, ‘slaughtering’ and ‘destroying’ do little to soften the ugliness of the untimely deaths of these sentient beings. We are made to believe that these dangerously sick animals have become our enemy, instead of blaming the real culprit, we humans, who have caused this crisis.”
“The movement is already gaining momentum and will continue to grow after images from the killings fields of Gadhimai are broadcast across the nation and the world. Animals cannot speak for themselves. Until now it has been the priests and business community to speak for them: bring more, kill more animals. It is high time for every concerned citizen to speak out and stop inhumane killings in the name of religion.”
“Consumer power increasingly decides what is being produced and in what manner. Next time you order a stack of bricks make sure they have not been produced with the sweat and blood of children and donkeys. For the sake of Shakti and Mukti and thousands of working children please opt for clean and green bricks. “
“Finally, and very importantly, Animal Nepal has introduced a certificate system for every brick produced. Bricks are classified as red, orange and green. Red are the blood bricks produced in the very worst conditions for the animals and the environment.”
“Once a year, a dog’s existence gets celebrated in Nepal. On dog tikka day, stray dogs without rabies and other ailments get rallied up and adorned with tikkas (forehead decoration) and flower garlands around their necks.”
“I am not an animal rights activist, but I don’t have to be one to say that this brutality against animals must come to an end in Kathmandu.”