Humane Society International / India


Jaihari AK/HSI 

ASSAM, India—Animal protection charity Humane Society International/India, in collaboration with Humanitarian Aid International, North-East Affected Area Development Society, Just Be Friendly and Anchalik Gram Unnayan Parishad, is providing critical emergency relief to the estimated almost 40 lakh (4 million) animals and people affected by the devastating floods in Assam. The floods have left countless humans and animals stranded, injured and in desperate need of food and medical or veterinary attention.

HSI/India has deployed its Disaster Preparedness, Response and Relief team on the ground to aid collaborative relief efforts, which include emergency animal feed distribution, medical and veterinary supplies, as well as food rations, water and protective gear for families affected. The organization is working closely with district disaster management authority and local organizations to ensure the most affected animals and people are getting the relief they need.

Reports indicate that more than 24 lakh (2.4 million) people have been displaced across 30 districts in Assam, while 15 lakh (1.5 million) animals remain at risk. With more rainfall expected in the coming days, the situation is likely to worsen. Owing to the state’s vulnerable geography and changing climate, Assam continues to grapple with recurring floods, posing a significant humanitarian and animal welfare challenge.

Praveen Suresh, manager of disaster preparedness response and relief at Humane Society International/India, said: “With more than 10 lakhs (1 million) of companion and farmed animals at risk in Assam, the threat to animals also impacts people, their families and their livelihoods. We are witnessing the loss of hundreds of animal lives, with many more suffering injuries, displacement due to their shelters being destroyed plus the high risk of disease spread in the weeks to come. HSI/India is dedicated to providing immediate food and veterinary care to these animals, while also supporting the impacted communities. As we assess the evolving situation, we will progressively scale up our response to ensure we can assist as many affected animals and communities as possible amidst the devastating floods Our current relief operations plan is to mainly focus on Dorrang, Dhubri and Barpeta districts of Assam, which are also the most affected ones”

Facts:

  • HSI/India’s Disaster Preparedness, Relief and Response team has been responding to disasters since 2013, starting with the Uttarakhand flash floods and including the devastating Kerala floods in 2018 where the organization provided relief to more than 1,000 vulnerable families and 100,000 animals.
  • In 2022 and 2023 alone, HSI/India helped save more than 30,000 animals from floods in Delhi, Telangana and Assam.

ENDS

Media contact: Shaili Shah: 9930591005; sshah@hsi.org

The new Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, if passed, will set stricter penalties against animal cruelty and recognize five fundamental freedoms for all animals

Humane Society International / India


Erin Van Voorhies

DELHI, India—With the newly formed Government assuming office this month, Humane Society International/India and People for Animals urge the Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a letter to expedite passage of the long-awaited Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (Amendment) Bill 2022 in the upcoming Monsoon session of the Parliament. The draft bill introduces amendments to the current animal law including stringent penalties for animal cruelty, newer cognizable offenses, and establishes five fundamental freedoms for every animal—freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury, and disease; and freedom to express normal and natural behavior.  

Despite India having some of the strongest animal laws in the world, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 has remained unchanged since its adoption, giving scope to animal offenders to go scot-free after committing serious crimes against animals. Currently, the maximum fine for even the most heinous crime against animals—including beating, poisoning, raping or burning an animal—is a mere Rs. 50 (and Rs. 100 for repeat offenders).  

The pressure to update this law has been increasing since 2016, with over 400,000 signatures submitted on petitions to amend the animal welfare laws. In 2022, over 180 parliamentarians demanded such an amendment, echoed by the 50,000 emails and letters sent in 2023 by animal advocates and the general public to PM Narendra Modi to amend the 1960 Act. 

Alokparna Sengupta, managing director of Humane Society International/India, said: “There is an urgent need for bringing the new act. In the long run, the lack of a better law poses a great threat to society at large. In the pursuit of compassion, justice and a more humane society, the time to act is now and we need urgent reforms from the newly elected Government that will act as a deterrent against animal cruelty and be applicable to both individuals and institutions.”

Gauri Maulekhi, trustee of People for Animals, said: “Amending the PCA Act is imperative and long overdue. It is wellknown that violence against animals is a precursor to violence against other vulnerable members of our society, be it women, children or our elders. Strengthening this law protects animals and serves as a pivotal step towards cultivating empathy and respect, fostering a society where compassion thrives, and brutality finds no haven.” 

Some recent cruelty cases of a highly disturbing nature include that of Jai, the community dog in Mumbai being brutally killed ; a pet golden retriever in Gurgaon thrashed in an elevator by a dog walker; and a street dog being beaten brutally in Jagatpuri, Delhi. The passage of this law is expected to set a strong precedent by raising fines and punishment for cruelty offenses against animals and helping to build a society that treats domesticated and wild animals with care and compassion.    

Urge the new government to keep up with the times and adopt better laws against animal cruelty by signing the petition. 

Facts:

  • Apart from the meager penalties, many offenses against animals under the current laws are bailable and non-cognizable, which means accused individuals can seek bail easily and prevent immediate police action without court permission.  
  • The main objective of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act is to prevent unnecessary pain or suffering on animals, to adopt guidelines regarding  experimentation on animals for scientific purposes and to empower a committee to make rules with regards to such experiments, and to restrict the exhibition and training of performing animals.         
  • #NoMore50 campaign was started by HSI/India and PFA after Shaktiman, a white horse, was beaten brutally by n member of the Legislative Assembly in 2016. #NoMore50 is a call to demand social justice and amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, by increasing the penalty from a mere Rs. 50. Since 2016, the campaign has received enormous support from people from all walks of life including eminent judges, celebrities and members of the Legislative Assembly.  
  • Several MPs in the past including Hema Malini, Pankal Chaudhry, Arjun Lal Meena, Dr. K. Laxman, Margani Bharat Ram, Dr. Mohammed Jawed and Raja Amreshwara Naik had written to the Prime Minister requesting that the proposed Amendment Bill be brought up for discussion.

The initiative, that’s first launched in Mysore, enables communities to learn about snakes around them and puts first aid for snakebites at their fingertips

Humane Society International / India


Shaili Shah/HSI HSI/India’s wildlife team member Anisha Iyer engages with the community members and snakebite survivors and educates them about a WhatsApp chatbot that enables them with information on snakebites, types of snakes, how to prevent a snakebite, do’s and don’ts after a snakebite etc.

Mysore, KARNATAKA—Karnataka’s first-of-its-kind WhatsApp chatbot has been launched in Mysore to educate citizens about snakes and snakebite prevention. The chatbot, launched by Humane Society International/India in collaboration with The Liana Trust, provides easily accessible information about snake species found in the local vicinity, as well as lifesaving snakebite first-aid, snakebite prevention tips, and myth-busting around misinformation about snakes that can lead to acts of cruelty. 

The automated chatbot, accessed via a QR code or messaging “Hi” to +91 9154190472, disseminates engaging, visual content in English or Kannada, making it easy to understand. Through the WhatsApp chatbot initiative, both organizations aim to reach at least a lakh users this year in Mysore to foster coexistence with snakes and prevent snakebites. 

India has an unfortunate reputation for having more snakebites than any other country in the world, contributing to nearly 50% of snakebite deaths across the globe. India witnesses ten lakh snakebites a year leading to nearly 58,000 human snakebite-related deaths annually and nearly 200,000 cases of morbidity, with Karnataka alone having 6,500 reported snakebites in 2023. It is also a neglected tropical disease, classified by the World Health Organization, taking a devastating toll on the socioeconomics of households and the mental health of those affected.  

Many people have an innate fear of snakes for various reasons including a lack of meaningful information about them. This often leads to snakes being killed or relocated to alien habitats where they have little chance of survival. The new app addresses this information vacuum to empower local communities to take swift and informed action when snakes are encountered.  

Vinod Krishnan, human-wildlife coexistence manager at Humane Society International/India, said: “Snakebite is a mass problem which requires a mass solution. As per our survey in the Mysore district, WhatsApp is one of the most used digital apps. Hence, this is an easy platform to reach many people with vital information that could save human lives and prevent snake persecution. While there is venom research and strengthening of healthcare infrastructure overall to ensure quality care for those affected, preventing a bite from occurring and knowing the right first aid once a bite occurs is crucial.”  

Gerry Martin, founder of The Liana Trust, said: “As we progress in avenues of public outreach, our methods need to evolve and keep with the times. The chatbot is a great way to have a continuous dialogue with the community, assess the information they are accessing the most, and add further layers to this such as information on the nearest hospital, ambulance services and so on in the future.”  

HSI/India and The Liana Trust have been working in Mysore district since 2018 through ecological studies, social surveys, community outreach, policy reform and institutional capacity building, all to aid in the development of a model district for snakebite prevention and management. In February 2024, Karnataka became the first state in India to declare snakebite as a notifiable disease. 

Download Photos/Video

ENDS

Media Contact: Shaili Shah: 9930591005; sshah@hsi.org 

Humane Society International / India


Call for better laws with stronger penalties and deterrence of cruelty for animals.

Veterinarianss, animal organisations and government authorities trained in new geolocation tech and low-stress methods for street dogs

Humane Society International / India


HSI.

INDIA—To celebrate World Veterinary Day, Humane Society International/India launches an innovative street dog spay and neuter training program to equip veterinary professionals, animal welfare organisations and relevant government agencies with essential skills to improve the well-being of dogs living on the streets. The initiative seeks to address critical challenges in caring for and managing street dogs by improving spay and neuter practices and aligning them with the Animal Welfare Board of India’s 2023 Animal Birth Control Rules.

The program will initially train two animal protection organisations—Jeevdaya Charitable Trust and Just Be Friendly—using a multifaceted curriculum including street dog survey methodologies, low-stress dog handling and catching techniques, GPS tagging procedures facilitated by a mobile application launched by Humane Society International/India, kennel management protocols, clinic protocols, and hands-on spay and neuter surgical training. By integrating newly trained professionals into city directories, the initiative aims to cultivate a network of veterinarians and animal welfare organiszations equipped to adopt humane and innovative techniques to care for dogs living on the streets.

“Veterinarians play a pivotal role in shaping the future of animal welfare, and we are thrilled to announce this groundbreaking program on World Veterinary Day,” said Dr. Sanjay Ahir, Senior Manager, Veterinary Training and Capacity Building Program at Humane Society International/India. “At its core, this initiative is about empowering veterinarians and organisations to become champions for street dog welfare and ultimately reduce conflict between street dogs and people. We hope to create a pool of next generation veterinarians and individuals who will further the movement of animal protection,” he added.

To join the veterinary capacity building program or to learn more about street dog management training opportunities, veterinarians, animal welfare organisations and government agencies can reach out to HSI/India via email at india@hsi.org.

Community efforts bring 20,000 dogs to care, help slow down spread of rabies

Humane Society International / India


Dog in India
Mayur Waghela

LUCKNOW, Uttar Pradesh— On World Spay Day, Humane Society International/India and Lucknow Municipal Corporation celebrate sterilizing and vaccinating 70% of the street dog population in Lucknow, achieving the goal set forth by the city’s first-ever Animal Birth Control program launched in 2019 by HSI/India. A recent survey conducted by HSI/India reveals that over 73,000 street dogs have been sterilized and vaccinated, effectively curbing street dog population growth and preventing puppies from entering a life of suffering. The sterilization project has succeeded in preventing inhumane population control methods such as culling or relocation.

With the 70% sterilization and vaccination mark achieved, Lucknow is on the path to becoming Uttar Pradesh’s first city that will soon reach 80% sterilization of its street dog population. Vaccinating dogs, supported by effective dog population management, is the most cost-effective strategy for preventing rabies in people. On World Spay Day, Lucknow met the 70% vaccination coverage, signaling effective control of canine rabies, as endorsed by the World Health Organization in its Rabies – Zero deaths by 2030 report.

Robust community support has enabled the teams to reach such a high dog sterilization level. “Paving the way for behavioral transformation in societies, community members have played a crucial role”, said Dr. Piyush Patel, Director of Companion Animals and Engagement, HSI/India. “At least 28% of the dogs served by the program, or around 20,000 street dogs, were brought to the Animal Birth Control clinic in Jarhara for spay/neuter services by community members. This indicates that people are now well-aware of the program’s benefits for both humans and dogs. Our next goal is to hit 80%,” he added.

Dr. Patel envisions Lucknow serving as a national model, a “training and learning” hub, and an inspiration to other Indian cities. “Along with high-volume dog sterilization, active community education through workshops on rabies awareness and dog behavior has been the key to achieving this milestone,” said Dr. Arvind Rao, additional commissioner, of Lucknow Municipal Corporation.

HSI/India’s “walk-in Saturdays” made accessible to communities sterilization and vaccination of street dogs by making these services free every Saturday. Dr. Rao added: “Our city will benefit from our proactive actions. I urge every citizen in Lucknow to bring their unsterilized dogs for spaying and vaccination, to improve dog welfare, rabies control and create healthy communities.”

Media contact: Shaili Shah, sshah@hsi.org ; 993-059-1005

Humane Society International / India


Kathy Milani/HSI

THIMPHU, Bhutan—The Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan has become the first country in the world to declare its entire street dog population fully sterilized and vaccinated following years of investment in a humane dog management program with global animal charity Humane Society International. At the formal closing ceremony of National Dog Population Management and Rabies Control Project in the capital Thimphu, presided over by Bhutan’s Prime Minister, Dr Lotay Tshering, the Royal Government of Bhutan announced this historic achievement for animal welfare and human health.

At the ceremony, Prime Minister Tshering presented the various stakeholders, including HSI with a plaque in recognition of HSI’s support towards Bhutan’s street dog welfare success from the beginning in 2009 until its closure—thereby honouring a decade and a half of intensive, targeted spay/neuter work and community engagement initiatives carried out by Bhutan in partnership with HSI.

Since its inception, the project has successfully sterilized and vaccinated more than 150,000 street dogs and micro-chipped 32,000 pet dogs.

There are approximately 300 million street dogs across Asia who battle starvation, untreated diseases and parasitic infections, transmissible cancers, injuries from road traffic accidents, as well as direct persecution and inhumane culling. Without effective sterilization and vaccination programs, street dog populations can increase to unsustainable numbers, exacerbating the risk of dog bites and the spread of rabies. The World Health Organization estimates that around 59,000 people a year die of rabies globally, and most rabies cases in humans are the result of a dog bite. Governments across Asia routinely resort to inhumane methods of managing street dogs by culling and mass sheltering.

In 2009, recognising the societal and animal welfare issues surrounding street dogs, the Bhutan Government invited HSI to facilitate a humane management approach for the country’s sizeable dog population. HSI implemented a pilot spay, neuter and vaccination program for dogs in the capital city. This initiative was later scaled up nationwide, eventually becoming the National Dog Population Management and Rabies Control Project for Bhutan.

Following the successful pilot, HSI trained over 35 Bhutanese veterinarians and staff in high-volume, high-quality spay/neuter techniques, and a community engagement initiative was integrated into the program to improve public awareness of dog welfare and mitigate human-dog conflict.

At the closing ceremony, Prime Minister Tshering congratulated representatives including de-suups (community volunteers) from all dzongkhags (districts) across Bhutan for their success in catching, sterilizing and vaccinating street dogs.

Keren Nazareth, HSI/India’s senior director of companion animals and engagement, who has worked closely with the Bhutan program since 2015, said: “HSI could not have found a more committed humane street dog management partner than the Royal Government of Bhutan. This has been a long journey together with constant learning and adjustment, but from the start the Government has been committed which has enabled us to consistently improve the program. We congratulate the people of Bhutan for this extraordinary dog-friendly success which also brings enormous benefits to the local communities. It’s a remarkable achievement that we hope shows the way forward for governments across Asia that also face street dog challenges. There is much to be learned from Bhutan including its determination and compassion to create a more peaceful coexistence for people and dogs.”

Download photos of HSI’s street dog program in Bhutan and the closing ceremony.

Launched to commemorate World Rabies Day, the directory connects community members with services dedicated to the welfare of street dogs

Humane Society International / India


Helping dogs in Vadodara, India
Chanchal Sana Makarpura

VADODARA, Gujarat—Humane Society International/India launched India’s first-ever directory dedicated to street dog welfare. The directory features useful information on dog welfare-focused individuals and agencies that offer services including rescue, veterinary care, transport, adoptions, treatment, rabies vaccinations, and Animal Birth Control (ABC) facilities and services.

An estimated 75 million dogs roam India’s streets, facing risks like early puppy mortality, diseases, traffic injuries, malnutrition, and cruelty due to communities’ fear of dog bites and rabies (which causes approximately 20,000 human deaths annually). The directory is key to creating a strong dog welfare network by connecting the community with multiple agencies and services committed to helping street dogs in Vadodara, saving both human and animal lives.

The event was attended by dignitaries from Vadodara Municipal Corporation VMC including the Smt. Pinkyben Nirajbhai Soni (Mayor), Shri Chiragbhai Dilipbhai Barot (Deputy Mayor), and Dr.Devesh Patel (Chief Health Officer), along with representatives of listed agencies and services. Local NGOs, volunteers and residents also participated in the event.

“There are multiple individuals and groups across the city that have joined hands with us over the years to improve street dog welfare in Vadodara. We created this directory in recognition of the need to unite these forces into a single platform accessible to all of Vadodara’s residents and thereby strengthening the street dog welfare work in the city,” says Dr. Vrushti Mawani, senior manager of Companion Animals & Engagement, HSI/India. “We plan to build similar resources for other Indian cities too,” she adds.

“The directory developed by Humane Society International/India is for everyone who wants to improve the lives of street dogs but feels helpless due to lack of access to the right network,” says Rashmika Vaghela, Municipal Councilor, VMC.

This initiative is a part of the organization’s integrated dog management program, involving Animal Birth Control along with extensive community engagement and responsible pet ownership to promote peaceful coexistence between humans and street dogs across Vadodara. Since 2017, HSI/India, in collaboration with VMC, has sterilized and vaccinated over 44,000 dogs, marking Vadodara as the first city in India to achieve a dog sterilization rate of more than 86%.

Media contact: Shaili Shah, sshah@hsi.org ; 993-059-1005

Volunteers and community members honored at a May 28 event celebrating successful street dog campaign

Humane Society International / India


HSI

DEHRADUN, India—Today, leading animal protection charity Humane Society International/India celebrates the fifth anniversary of its humane street dog management program across Uttarakhand state at a special event celebrating the contributions by volunteers and community members. HSI/India and Uttarakhand Animal Welfare have worked together since 2018 to spay, neuter and administer rabies vaccinations to an estimated 46,000 street dogs within the last five years. 

Efficient, high-volume and high-quality humane dog management practices play a critical role in alleviating the plight of street dogs, minimizing dog bites and mitigating conflicts between humans and dogs. HSI/India’s specially-developed smartphone app, its science-driven approach and commitment to continuous innovation have been crucial factors in the program’s success. 

During the event, HSI/India delivered awards to volunteers and community members in recognition of their unwavering dedication and significant contribution to street dog welfare. Through various HSI/India activities such as public awareness events, dog behaviour training and animal first-aid workshops, the active participation of the community and volunteers has played a pivotal role in fostering harmonious coexistence between street dogs and people in Uttarakhand and has helped increase the number of humane dog surgeries.   

Mayor Sunil Uniyal presided over the event as chief guest while officers from the Dehradun Nagar Nigam, Uttarakhand Animal Welfare Board, volunteers, community members and local residents also attended. 

“At HSI/India, the health and welfare of the dogs is our top priority. With our advanced and carefully monitored medical and surgical protocols, we have successfully sterilized over 46,000 dogs in Uttarakhand. This has helped reduce the number of puppies born on the streets, many of whom otherwise die early or suffer greatly because of lack of adequate veterinary care,“ says Dr. Piyush Patel, Senior Program Manager, Dog Management, HSI/India. “A healthier and more stable dog population also means healthier and more peaceful communities. So by looking after the dog population, we are also looking out for the communities with whom these dogs live.  After achieving great success in these cities, we are looking forward to expanding in new towns of Uttarakhand state.”.    

“The welfare of street dogs depends not only on what they eat but also on whether they are spayed, neutered and vaccinated,” says Namrata Upadhyay, an HSI/India volunteer since 2018. “Since HSI/India started working in Dehradun, we have seen a difference in people’s perspectives and attitudes towards street dogs. Conflicts between dogs and citizens have been reduced. For volunteers like me, the dog behaviour workshops and their other community engagement activities and trainings have helped us work better for street dog welfare.” she adds.     

The program in Uttarakhand is part of HSI/India’s wider dog management program which provides an integrated and humane solution to India’s street dog population challenge. HSI/India hopes to apply the lessons taken from Uttarakhand to better manage street dog populations in other Indian states. 

The award invites individuals above the age of 18 who promote a plant-based lifestyle in their individual capacity.

Humane Society International / India


HSI

India—Humane Society International/India, a leading animal protection organization, has launched and now invites nominations for the Swarnali Roy Award for Vegan Advocacy to acknowledge the valuable work of vegan advocates in the country. The award recognizes individuals whose plant-based advocacy contributes significantly to the animal protection movement in India.

The award honors the late Ms. Swarnali Roy, an employee of the organization who led the plant-based outreach program in India until her death in 2021. Roy’s work in building a strong foundation for plant-based campaigns in India paved the way for reducing cruelty in intensive animal agriculture systems.

Alokparna Sengupta, managing director of HSI/India, said: “Swarnali was a passionate advocate for animals. Under her mentorship, the animal protection movement welcomed many young individuals who continue to work on advocating for a plant-based future. So, we thought it only right to honor her memory by supporting the work of the rising generation of advocates. This award will showcase the remarkable work of people in promoting veganism and the plant-based movement in India.”

HSI/India will announce the first set of awards on April 5th, Roy’s birthday, starting in 2023 and every year thereafter. Nominations are invited from residents of India who are above 18 and promote a vegan or plant – based lifestyle in their city, state or across the country. The award will be given at three ranks. The first-place awardee will receive INR 50,000), the second will receive INR 30,000 and the third will receive INR 20,000. The evaluation and selection of winners will be enabled by a five-panel jury consisting of vegan enthusiasts, leaders and advocates including Abhay Rangan, Founder of One Good, Palak Mehta, Founder of Vegan First, Nikunj Sharma, CEO, Mercy for Animals India Foundation and Parag Agarwal, Founder, Indian Animal Fund in addition to an HSI India representative.

To nominate someone you know or yourself who meets the eligibility requirements, you can fill out the form available here by March 25, 2023 on HSI’s website hsi.org.  Award Rules, including eligibility requirements, are set out below.

Rules:

Nominees must be legal residents of the Republic of India who are 18 years or older as of March 25, 2003.   All nominations must be received by 11:59 pm (IST) on March 25, 2003.  Incorrect, untrue or incomplete nominations are void.  Employees of Humane Society International (HSI) and affiliates and jury members, and members of their households, whether or not related, and immediate family members (spouses, parents, siblings, children and each of their respective spouses) are not eligible.  In connection with the award nomination process, HSI and affiliates will collect personal data about nominees and those nominating them in accordance with its privacy policy. By participating in the nomination process you hereby agree to HSI collection and usage of the personal information submitted and acknowledged that you have read HSI’s privacy policy.  Except to the extent prohibited by law, participation in the nomination process and/or acceptance of an award constitutes consent to HSI and affiliates use of name, photograph likeness, statements, biographical information and nomination application for advocacy and promotional purposes in any and all media, now or hereafter devised, worldwide in perpetuity, without any payment or consideration, or further notification or permission.  Awardees will be determined by a five-panel jury based on five selection criteria focused on motivation, self-development and impact, with the three nominees with the highest cumulative scores being awarded the first (INR 50,000), second (INR 30,000) and third place (INR 20,000) awards, respectively.  Awardees will be contacted by Hsiindiamailbox@hsi.org on or about 4th April.  If HSI/India is unable to contact an awardee with three (3) calendar days of the first notification attempt, that awardee will forfeit the award and the award will go to the nominee with the next highest cumulative score.  Award prizes are subject to income tax withholdings.

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