Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help, shall they be saved. — Jane Goodall
Indian religions have always preached kindness and compassion towards all sentient beings. Even the many gods of India weren’t without an animal (Lord Krishna with a cow, Lord Shiva with a snake, Lord Vishnu with an eagle, etc.) Every house used to be a self-sustaining, animal protecting unit. There used to be no need for any ‘animal welfare organization’ as such.
But, with inevitable change comes new times and tides. Today, animals in India are prime candidates for exploitation and easy targets for anyone trying to make a quick buck. Cows are starved and milked, chickens are stuffed in cramped spaces, slaughter animals are made to walk miles to reach the slaughterhouse, young and healthy animals are killed for leather, and monkeys and elephants are turned into show puppets and gawked upon. This list knows no bounds.
In light of this, and in spite of economical limitations and indifference of government bodies, a wave of promising animal welfare and rehabilitation organizations have made a big difference. Here’s how.
People for Animals (PFA) Bangalore
Launched in 1996, Bangalore, the goal of People for Animals (PFA), a non profit organization recognized by Central Zoo Authority (CZA), is to provide professional care to injured, sick, and orphaned urban wildlife, so that they can eventually return to the wild. Once the rehabilitators feel that the animal can survive independently in the wild, they are set free. Wild animals that have recovered from injuries, but still require constant care and attention are transferred to the Lifetime Care Unit at PFA.
PFA works with veterinarians to assess and diagnose a variety of injuries and illnesses. The helpers at PFA are trained in physical therapy and basic first aid, and also understand the dangers the animal might present to the rehabilitator. With the training they receive, PFA volunteers can rescue animals and help concerned people decide whether an animal truly needs help. The secure home and reliable health facilities that PFA provides extend to various species of mammals, birds, and reptiles.
PFA even provides a unique pet cemetery service, which can be availed with a stipulated donation towards the welfare of the animals. Apart from this, PFA is operational by the grace of voluntary donations from environmentalists, animal activists, and animal lovers from across the nation.
Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA)
CUPA, founded in 1991, has established 7 successful centres in Bangalore, and has played an active role in protecting all animals - domestic and wild. Whether it’s stray dog rescues, animal hospitals, geriatric clinics, trauma centres, wildlife rehabilitation, adoption of abandoned animals, or even animal protection law issues in the Karnataka High Court, CUPA handles all.
CUPA has a wide range of animal projects that extend throughout India (Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Kerala, Rajasthan, Andamans, etc.) Currently, the organization works closely with Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), to study the welfare of elephants in captivity and to bring about positive change. A plethora of legal initiatives have also been undertaken by CUPA to improve the conditions of rural and urban animals.
Stray Relief and Animal Welfare (STRAW)
STRAW, recognized by AWBI, seeks to rid our country of the mistreatment and exploitation of animals. Since its launch in Delhi, in 2002, the non-profit organization is the supporting link between animal welfare groups and individuals working with animals at the grass root level. STRAW believes it is essential to start educating children at an early age to be compassionate to all beings. By spreading animal welfare awareness on a large-scale, STRAW has enabled a number of animal initiatives to see light of day.
STRAW’s primary concern is to reach out and bring comfort and relief to distressed and abandoned animals. The organization is functional as a result of resources in the form of donations and volunteers. Dedicated individuals contribute their valuable time, money, and skills towards this cause, making STRAW a successful organization that raises awareness on animal welfare.
Plant and Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
In 2002, PAWS, an independently run stray-rescue organization, started striving towards animal welfare by providing care and medical aid to local strays that were injured. Shortly after its launch, a group of environment-conscious youngsters roamed the streets of Mumbai at night on foot or bike, with a first-aid kit to cure animals in distress. A dictum that PAWS firmly follows, is that hard work pays off.
Prominent investors soon funded the organization which led to the introduction of a fleet of animal ambulances, and PAWS inclusion in animal issues on a wider scale. PAWS started work with the Forest Department of India to rescue and rehabilitate wildlife.
PAWS is among the few animal welfare organizations that is run completely by youngsters, making it its biggest USP. The organization receives donations from celebrities as well as animal activists from across the nation.
Help Animals India (HAI)
Founded in 2008, this is a registered US non-profit charity, which facilitates the flow of support from donors all over the world towards saving animals in India. The charity is aware and understanding of India’s challenges of protecting their animals. Every donation made in Help Animals India, directly benefits India’s animals. The funds are transferred to top animal welfare organizations such as Rishikesh Animal Care, Elephant Watch Nepal, MAITRI Trust Bodhgaya, Karuna Society Putharpatti, and Arunachala Sanctuary, to name a few.
Help Animals India has helped provide essential infrastructure for animal facilities. Special kennels for special animals in PFA Dehradun, a dog shelter in Visakhapatnam, post Himalayan Tsunami and Bay of Bengal cyclone care for animals, animal sterilization practices, and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, were all made possible by HAI.
Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO)
Formally launched in 2010, FIAPO was conceptualized as an idea soon after the Asia for Animals conference in Chennai, in 2007. This is when animal activists all over the country met to unify their dreams in making India a better place for animals. Rather than FIAPO being an alternative to existing animal organizations, it is the amalgamation of all organizations in their strengths and intention.
In order to make animal protection more formalized, FIAPO brought together animal protection groups on a local scale, and set targeted goals to encourage a more unified voice for the animals. Training workshops and support systems are provided to fill the knowledge gaps within organizations.
Currently, FIAPO guides local animal welfare groups to raise awareness and educate people on the consumption of animal products, and to improve the conditions of farm animals.
International Animal Rescue Goa (IARG)
Established as a charity in 1998 with the sole purpose of saving Goa’s animals, IARG has come a long way in sterilizing and treating a variety of animals. The organization is packed with modern facilities to house over 50 cats, 100 dogs, 50 kittens, 50 puppies, and 30 cows/bulls at one time.
IARG is both selfless and successful, as it provides free medical aid to those animals with owners who can’t afford the bill. For those who adopt an animal and give it a home, IARG provides one-year treatment, free of cost. IARG teamed up with People for Animals, Goa, and won a High Court decision, making it illegal to shoot stray dogs. If one is walking down the streets of Goa and sees a dog with a clip in his ear, it means it has been vaccinated against rabies and sterilized by IARG.
In Defense of Animals (IDA)
IDA was born in 1996, and initially had a slow start till 2000. The organization started out sterilizing local strays in two garages in Mumbai’s suburbs. Soon, IDA was recognized by the High Court of Mumbai and was handed over the Municipal Corporation’s premises at Deonar. Currently, there are a total of 3 IDA centres; one in Mumbai, one in Navi Mumbai, and one in the hill station of Matheran as horses frequently carry weight on this path, and there are no veterinarians around.
With their limited means, IDA has done wonders to spread awareness on animal welfare. Their philosophy is simple; treating animals differently is akin to racism, and being ignorant to the suffering of animals means that one’s soul is yet to be awakened.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India
Launched in 2000, in Mumbai, PETA India operates on PETA’s universal principle: “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment.”
PETA focuses on bringing about positive changes in areas where animals most suffer, such as food, leather, research, and entertainment industries. PETA India has raised awareness on the healthy effects of veganism over meat eating, and how factory farms are poisoning communities. PETA rescues animals used in circuses (dancing bears and monkeys), movies, cockfighting, horse racing, and the pet trade, as they are more often than not, severely ill treated. PETA has also rescued many animals being subject to experimentation and gruesome research.
Vishaka Society for Protection and Care of Animals (VSPCA)
VSPCA, launched in Visakhapatnam in 1996, is determined to end illegal trade of internationally protected animals such as terrapin, sea turtles, rescue cows, and old water buffalos. The organisation also has a vast sanctuary that is home to hundreds of dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, monkeys, turtles, ducks, and other neglected and injured animals.
Recently, VSPCA declared its ‘kindness farm’ open to all rescue animals from slaughterhouses and dairy factories. The organization is involved in undertaking sterilization and anti-rabies vaccination procedures on a large scale, and more than 80,000 street dogs have benefited from this program. VSPCA extends its rehabilitation facilities to injured migratory birds, injured cows due to plastic ingestion, and injured cobras. The organization conducts programs to educate the masses on respecting and treating animals, and even provides free vegan meals to the poor.
Animal Welfare and Protection Trust (AWPT)
AWPT, founded in 1999 in Chennai by two senior citizens, arose to retaliate the appalling ways street dogs were treated by Chennai’s Corporation. To prevent gruesome methods of population control such as electrocution and acid baths, AWPT focused on sterilizing street dogs, as it was the humane and effective method, recognized internationally.
Well-reputed in Chennai, this organization is especially famous for the free vaccinations it provides to home-owned and street dogs to prevent rabies, and its cases against perpetrators who have abused animals. AWPT also supports a fully equipped animal hospital as well as a large ventilated farm that houses 120 animals and birds, at any point.
Animals Matter To Me (AMTM)
An animal welfare charitable trust established in Mumbai with the sole purpose of reaching out to distressed animals and birds is AMTM. The organisation uses donations from individuals and other organisations to provide food and medical aid to animals in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, and Bangalore.
AMTM helps other animal welfare organisations by providing infrastructure support and donations in the form of medicines, food, newspapers, and old clothes. The organisation is also actively involved with rescuing animals, Animal Birth Control (ABC) sterilization, and raising awareness on the plight of animals.
Red Paws Rescue (RPR)
A non-profit charity formed with the aim to rescue and rehabilitate stray dogs, RPR has come a long way in creating awareness on dog welfare in Delhi. RPR is closely tied with many animal welfare organisations in India, and provides support by finding homes for destitute dogs.
The organisation is not only responsible for locating suitable homes for dogs, but also provides medical help and conducts mass sterilization programs across Delhi’s different zones. RPR has interesting volunteer opportunities for pet lovers, where one can foster a dog for a short while, or even spend quality time with dogs and pups at the shelter.
Help In Suffering (HIS) India
HIS-India was founded in 1980, on two large land parcels in south Jaipur, for the betterment of animals and their welfare. Since its start, the organisation has blossomed into a massive organisation that has a number of active animal upliftment projects such as the new Camel Rescue Centre, built to save camels suffering from drought.
In 1993, HIS-India received funding from World Society for the Protection of Animals to execute an ABC program for Jaipur’s street dogs, on a large scale. Street dogs were picked up by HIS volunteers, cleaned, sterilized, and vaccinated against rabies. The resultant healthy and happy street dogs were proof of HIS-India’s success, which led the Jaipur Municipality to fund another HIS ABC program in Jaipur’s outskirts.
The Corbett Foundation (TCF)
A charitable trust that is non-profit, independent of the government, and dedicated towards conserving wildlife is TCF. Established in 1996, the organisation is part of worthy environment groups such as International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Global Tiger Forum, United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, and Born Free Foundation.
TCF eagerly works towards strengthening human - animal relationships across wildlife habitats situated in Uttarakhand, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, and Gujarat. By decreasing animal-human conflicts, providing healthcare to communities, promoting renewable energy, treating domestic livestock, and creating sustainable livelihoods, TCF has achieved positive change for the animals.
How Can I Help?
In this cruelty-driven, animal-disrespecting, human-dominating world in which we live, these animal welfare organizations are fuelled by their need to act. In a quest to promote sustainability and environment welfare, these organizations strive to protect those beings that are already threatened or endangered.
You can support any of these organizations by donating, volunteering, or by becoming a lifetime member of the organization. Do you know of more organisations as such? Do let us know in the comments below.