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June 10, 2015

Make an Animal Friendly Start to this Academic Year

Humane Society International/India

  • Dolphins belong in the wild. Refrain from visiting dolphinariums this academic year. Duncan Noakes/istock

With the new academic year just round the corner, students are gearing up to make a fresh start for a productive year. While students are readying themselves to add a new lesson, resolution, hobby or skill to their learning bucket, Humane Society International/India shares a few animal-friendly tips that they can include to their annual list and make it a great year for themselves and the animals:

Strike ocean parks, circuses and dolphinariums off your list
Refrain from visiting places where animals are kept in cages and enclosures or used for entertainment, including circuses. Say No to festivals and temple ceremonies that continue to feature elephants.

If your school is making an international trip this year, make sure that you do not make dolphinariums or ocean parks a part of it. Dolphins and other marine mammals such as orcas used in these parks are highly intelligent and far-ranging creatures. They don’t belong in such captivity where they usually remain housed in cramped spaces for years. A life in captivity has a devastating effect on an animal’s welfare, resulting in abnormal behaviour, illness and often premature deaths.

Pledge not to buy wild: 
Every year, millions of wild animals are inhumanely and often illegally captured either to be sold as pets or to be killed to make ornamental objects (ivory jewelry, reptile skin purses), food products, exotic leather and fur. Don’t participate in the illegal wildlife trade. Always assume that wildlife and wildlife products for sale are illegal and inhumane and pledge not to buy any wild animal or exotic pet or product made from wild animals.

Sign the "Don't Buy Wild" Pledge.



Save a life; Opt to adopt!
This year, if you want to bring a pet to your home, whether a puppy or a more mature dog, a purebred, hybrid or one-of-a-kind mixed breed dog, choose a shelter that will have the best selection of animals anywhere. Adopt from your nearest shelter. Pledge not to buy from pet shops or any breeders. Breeding facilities put maximum profit ahead of animal welfare and mass-produce puppies for sale on the Internet, through ads, by brokers or at pet shops. Dogs are raised in shockingly poor condition in breeding facilities. Shelters and rescue groups have many wonderful dogs available for adoption every day. One of the safest bets however would be to adopt an Indian breed as they come with low maintenance cost and are equally intelligent as any pedigree.

Volunteer more
Choose to spend your weekends and holidays volunteering in an animal shelter in your city. Animal shelters usually have many orphaned puppies, abandoned and distressed animals who yearn for human attention and company. You can just light up their day with a single visit. In addition to helping them, this activity will also gift you their unbridled unconditional love in return.

Put your education to work
Local animal organizations are often in need of people with talent in art, photography, computer programming and web design; offer to put the skills you are learning at school into practice for them. Helping animal shelters or rescues may be a good way to receive credit if your school requires public service hours for graduation

Get involved in community outreach
Get your communications trainer or art teacher to organize an art competition to promote the message of animal welfare. You can also participate in children art shows/plays to learn and enlighten others about this issue. Organize a talk or presentation in your housing community; teach your family as well as neighbours about treating stray animals with compassion. At school, start or join an animal protection student club. It’s a great way to spread the word about animal issues in your school, and bond with classmates who have a passion for animal protection.

You can also enroll yourself in animal welfare workshops organized in your city and while you are at it, add your creativity to help them reach out to consumers about the issue. Request your class teacher to include a period on animal welfare issues for at least one day a month and get local animal welfare organizations to visit and guide you through the issues. This can also include a trip to a shelter and doing various activities in your city.

Media Contact: Navamita Mukherjee, nmukherjee@hsi.org, 9985472760

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