HSI/India hands over successful street dog management program to Vadodara Municipal Corporation

Humane Society International / India


VADODARA, India—Humane Society International/India and Vadodara Municipal Corporation are celebrating the success of sterilizing 86% of the city’s street dog population, the highest sterilization rate ever achieved in any Indian city. The success comes as HSI/India officially hands over its street dog management program to the Vadodara authorities. HSI/India hopes that Vadodara becomes a model for other cities in India to follow to create a harmonious co-existence between street dogs and local communities.

HSI/India and VMC have worked together to spay, neuter and rabies vaccinate approximately 44,000 street dogs across the city since 2017, when they launched the sterilization program to alleviate animal suffering, reduce dog bites and decrease human-dog conflict. Humane surgeries have been combined with community engagement and awareness drives.

The program in Vadodara is part of HSI/India’s wider dog management program which provides a practical, sustainable and humane solution to India’s street dog population challenge. An estimated 75 million dogs live on the streets across India, with most puppies dying before they reach 12 months old. Without access to veterinary care, dogs can also die of rabies and other diseases, and live with painful and debilitating injuries from being hit by traffic. When the number of dogs exceeds the community’s capacity to care for them, street dogs can also suffer from malnutrition and may even face cruel behavior such as stone throwing, which can be exacerbated by a community’s fear of dog bites and rabies.

In 2014, HSI/India estimates that 17% of dogs in Vadodara were sterilized. A total of 23,696 dogs have since been sterilized, bringing the total percentage of community dogs sterilized to 86% in Gujarat’s second largest city.

“HSI/India is very proud to have been able to deliver a successful street dog management program in Vadodara. Effective planning, zero compromise in protocol and standard operating procedures being followed every day in the last five years have enabled us to achieve this target,” says Dr. Sanjay Ahir, Vadodara dog project manager at HSI/India.

Multiple dog population surveys, efficient usage of technology and innovation, in addition to work with the local community, also contributed to the success of this program.

“Meaningful and productive community engagement is central to any street dog welfare program,” says Parul Dholakia, assistant manager, community engagement program at HSI/India. In Vadodara, the community engagement methods included attending to city-wide, dog-related complaints, holding

workshops on dog behavior to familiarize residents with animal birth control and anti-rabies vaccination processes, legal measures regarding street dog welfare, volunteer outreach and first-aid workshops.

“Over time, we witnessed a drop in requests to relocate or remove dogs. This, I would say, is a good indicator of efforts reaping fruits,” says Dholakia.

The animal protection organization will now hand over the program to the VMC, whilst continuing the community engagement program. A closing celebratory event followed by an award ceremony will be attended by officers from the VMC, Vadodara Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, active community volunteers, dog feeders and residents.

“Post this milestone, we believe we are at a stage to do a lot more to make Vadodara a smart city for both people and street dogs,” says Dr. Vijay Panchal, market superintendent of VMC. “HSI/India has been a great partner and we hope to continue doing pioneering work to develop a model for other cities in India.”


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

Humane Society International/India’s “Fab Four” demonstrate peaceful co-existence of dogs with locals and tourists in yoga capital of the world

Humane Society International / India

Lennon, one of the four dogs named after the Beatles, in the context of HSI/India’s humane street dog program in Rishikesh, is helping raise awareness. HSI.

RISHIKESH, India—Four street dogs living in India’s tourist hotspot of Rishikesh, where the Beatles visited in 1968, have been named after the Fab Four as part of a mass spay/neuter and rabies vaccination drive. Lennon, McCartney, Starr and Harrison are among thousands of mainly female street dogs in Rishikesh being sterilized and vaccinated by animal charity Humane Society International/India to humanely reduce the city’s growing street dog population and promote peaceful co-existence between dogs, local residents and the thousands of tourists who flock to the city for yoga retreats and water sports.

Lennon, McCartney, Starr and Harrison have all been sterilized by HSI/India, and their personal stories are helping spread awareness of the program as well as fostering an appreciation of street dogs as individuals. Seven-year-old Harrison lives in the city’s Ganganagar district where community members make sure she regularly receives her favorite foods–biscuits and roti. Now a happy and cared-for dog, Harrison’s life on the street had been tough–all her puppies from multiple litters died, and she also lost her dog companion in a road accident. One-year-old Lennon is a third-generation community dog born in the neighborhood, and McCartney is the only living survivor of a litter of seven who struggled to protect herself from bigger dogs before community carers stepped in. Starr is a young dog who lives with her mother and sister in Awas Vikas Colony where local residents feed her eggs and buns.

Piyush Patel, HSI/India’s senior manager for the Dog Management program, explains: “An estimated 75 million dogs live on the streets across India, with most puppies dying before they reach 12 months old. Without access to veterinary care, dogs can also die of rabies and other diseases, and live with painful and debilitating injuries from being hit by traffic. When the number of dogs exceeds the community’s capacity to care for them, street dogs can also suffer from malnutrition and may even face cruel behavior such as stone throwing, which can be exacerbated by a community’s fear of dog bites and rabies. In Rishikesh we aim to sterilize 80% of female dogs like Lennon, McCartney, Starr and Harrison, because this is the most effective way to control the population growth. We will monitor this approach over the next few years but if successful, this female-focus could shape all animal birth control projects in the future.”

In addition to sterilization and vaccination, the program will also focus on community engagement to ensure public awareness of the program, mitigate human-dog conflict and address dog welfare concerns.

Download photos and video of the “Beatles” dogs of Rishikesh


Media contact: Wendy Higgins, director of international media: whiggins@hsi.org



The Humane Entrepreneurship Program supports early-stage pioneering innovators in the sectors of new plant-based, fermentation-based and cell-based proteins, next-generation materials that replace animal products, and non-animal testing methodologies

Humane Society International / India


INDIA—Humane Society International/India launched the third edition of its annual Humane Entrepreneurship program. This platform was designed for social entrepreneurs with early-stage startups that focus on animal welfare and environmental issues. First launched in September 2020, the six-month virtual program accelerates the growth of social entrepreneurs in India by providing selected participants with a holistic ecosystem of global mentors, expert advisors, investors, funding opportunities and a stipend of 500,000 Indian rupees.

Anchored to one of HSI/India’s main goals of reducing animal suffering in animal agriculture production systems, the Humane Entreprenuership program opens doors and encourages the growth of startups that are working toward viable and resilient technological alternatives and innovative practices. These startups enable sustainable, humane alternatives to resource-intensive, animal-dependent practices.

“As the global population rises, we see an unsustainable pressure on our planet’s natural resources. Disruptive innovations that can enable a paradigm shift away from animal-dependent production practices are vitally important for our survival,” says Shreya Swaminath, campaign manager for the program at HSI/India. “HSI/India has mentored 10 innovative startups with humane business models, enabling them to raise investment offers worth 2.4 million dollars. Through this exciting and forward-thinking program, we can build a movement that will significantly and positively impact animals in production systems.”

The program’s curriculum, which includes topics like complex business solving, user research and pitch preparation, is designed to help participating startups accelerate their growth, define a strategic business plan, secure key partnerships, achieve their fundraising goals and become market ready.

“Early-stage companies tend to go through a journey of change. Conversations with my mentor and investors, combined with our conversations during the program, got us to redefine our strategy,” says Bharat Bakaraju of Phyx44, a startup working toward offering cell-derived alternatives to dairy products. “Watching the other companies in the program roll out their strategies helped things come together at the same time. I felt like I was working in a safe space with a group of friends, which is rare to find while you are trying to build a startup.”

Eligibility Criteria: Startups with early-stage prototypes can apply for this program

Duration: September 2022 to February 2023

Application deadline: July 31, 2022

Contact: sswaminath@hsi.org or hep@hsi.org


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

Humane Society International / India

(REFERENCE https://forwardfoodsa.org/)

Through the Forward Food South Asia initiative, food service professionals, chefs, dietitians, doctors, public health leaders, environmental organizations, and millions of individuals are getting together to create a healthier, more sustainable food system.


According to World Health Organization, at healthy diet for adults should contain at least 400 g (5 portions) of fruits and vegetables a day. In fact, starting on a healthy dietary practice early on in life can reduce the risk of becoming overweight and protect individuals against noncommunicable diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

A committee of top independent scientists and nutrition professionals presented recommendations for the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The committee concluded that a diet “higher in plant-based foods … and lower in animal-based foods is more health-promoting and is associated with lesser environmental impact.”

According to the World Health Organization, it is advisable to limit the consumption of processed meat and red meat, which are linked to increased risks of death from heart disease, diabetes and other diseases. Likewise, red meat has been classified within category 2A (probably carcinogenic to humans), and processed meat within category 1A (carcinogenic to humans). Within The 1A Category are potential cancer-causing elements like smoking and exposure to asbestos.

Reducing meat consumption is not only good for our health, but eating more plant-based foods is healthier for the planet. Plant foods use much less water and generate less greenhouse gas emissions than animal feed. The Organization of the United Nations for Food and Agriculture (FAO) has determined that livestock is one of the two or three sectors with major negative environmental impacts at local and global levels. This is due to its relationship with land degradation, climate change, air pollution, water scarcity and pollution and the loss of biodiversity.

So, by reducing meat consumption and eating more plant-based foods, you are not only protecting the planet but ensuring a good health for yourself. As the U.S. Dietary Guidelines committee also points out, the benefits of promoting “healthy diets that are more environmentally sustainable now will conserve resources for present and future generations.”


We’re preventing cancer, diabetes and heart disease. We’re tackling obesity by following the Three Rs – Reduce, Refine and Replace. By following a more humane diet, we’re reducing the risk of chronic diseases that plague us; while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving our water resources.

Emphasize meatless meals
India has been a predominantly vegetarian market; with focus on the philosophy of Ahimsa or non-violence. There needs to be a further stress on following this philosophy, if we want to progress forward as a healthier and happier nation. There are many creative and simple ways food service professionals are reducing meat purchases. Some are doing meat-free days like Meatless Monday—in which they may make all meals plant based, or emphasize on meatless meals that day, with a higher percentage of plant-based entrees. Others are adding additional plant-based meals to their menus on a daily basis. Some are mixing plant-based proteins or mushrooms with their meat, reducing overall meat usage.

We’ll come to your school or dining operation to host a Forward Food, Veg Out Reach or Meatless Monday event, Culinary Experience training for chefs, or two-hour K-12 Nutrition Workshop. Learn more about our events program.

Recipe development
The HSI culinary team, including a chef, food service director, and dietitians, can create plant-based recipes for your organization. If there is a particular dish that is culturally important or very popular at your location, HSI can create a healthier, plant-based alternative.

HSI has a catalog of over 100 recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert that can be provided for university or health care food service staff during training. HSI also has a catalog of over 40 K-12 compliant recipes that can be provided to elementary food service staff during training.

If you would like help adjusting your menus for patients as well as customers, HSI’s registered dietitians can provide expert advice and sample menus for how to promote healthier, plant-based meals.

Marketing and promotion
HSI can assist your school district with marketing plant-based entrees in your dining centers. Internal marketing generally consists of point of sale materials, posters, customer incentives, presentations to staff, web site content, and drafted letters for staff / customers.

Our HSI food and nutrition coordinators can also help you with public outreach should you wish to have public recognition for your commitment to health and sustainability. This is done through media pitches or press releases and social media concepts / suggestions / graphics.

Environmental impact measurement
We’ve teamed up with a scientific expert who can assess how your decision to add more plant-based foods may positively impact the planet. Changes in food related greenhouse gas emissions will be quantified and reported in a format that you can use in communications with your customers/students, and also as part of any wider greenhouse gas reduction strategy your school or institution may have. This specialty service can be tailored to your needs.

Veg OutReach programme
HSI/India supports a “Meat Reduction Campaign” and creates avenues to interact with animal welfare organizations, teams, or individuals in India. HSI/India’s meat reduction campaign is aimed at sensitizing people on the concept of eating with a conscious, by reducing in the consumption of meat/dairy products. The program employees various methods; videos, presentations, films, documentaries, street plays, theater, painting/collage competition, creative writing and other to present the true picture of the animal farms and show where the meat comes from.


K-12 schools
These K-12 compliant recipes, CACFP recipes, prepared products and cycle menus for K-12 schools are not only delicious, healthy, and USDA-compliant, they’ve also been tested for student approval. So yes, kids love them! Use this toolkit to help promote great food and learn more about free training for your school district!

Food service
Here are some simple, mouthwatering recipes for food service that are so tasty no one will know they’re good for our bodies and are made with ingredients that are better for our environment. Download our Professional’s Guide to Meat-Free Meals for more ideas.

These toolkits for university foodservice professionals, healthcare food service professionals, and Meatless Monday provide strategies, solutions to common challenges, and an action plan for specific institutional settings.

100+ Recipes
Would you like plants to be the shining stars of your plates? Download over 100 plant strong recipes featuring grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits created by our classically trained chef, Wanda White.

There are also a number of individuals who are creating new and exciting food items, from gajar ka halwa to gluten free vegetable korma! Vegan Richa, Holy Cow Vegan Recipes , Manjula’s Kitchen

Check out our 2020 Clean Cooking plant based webinar series!

Plant-based products
Looking for a one stop shop for both the classic and newest plant-based products? There are many selling it in India now. Try reaching out to Vezlay or Gooddot We got it here!

Promotional material
We can help you commercialize the plant based dishes in your restaurant. If you wish, we can promote your commitment with health and sustainability whether through internal marketing (like point of sale material, client incentives, personnel presentations like press releases. We are here to help. Contact us to receive brochures, postcards, posters or stickers and logos for free.

Humane Society International / India


INDIA—With Diwali just around the corner, and spirits running high, it’s worth remembering that a festival that centers on spreading happiness should encompass the needs of our furry friends, too. In addition to expressing its support for COVID-19 precautions as suggested by the government of India, Humane Society International/India is urging everyone to celebrate a noise-free and animal-friendly Diwali.

Every year, thousands of animals and birds are left frightened, injured, and lost because of an increase in air and noise pollution associated with the holiday. Since they have a far more acute sense of hearing than us; the noise of firecrackers has a terrifying effect on animals. In addition to this, the accompanying light and smoke emitted by firecrackers adversely affects their health and well-being. As a result, animal shelters witness a tremendous increase in runaway and lost pets, who are scared, anxious, nervous, and often burned or injured.

Alokparna Sengupta, managing director of HSI/ India said, “Diwali is an exciting time for people but can also lead to extreme stress and discomfort for pets and street animals.  We urge everyone to celebrate the festival of lights as it is meant to be celebrated – with lamps, lights, sweets and delicious savouries, and not with loud firecrackers. This year, more than ever, we must consider the safety and wellness of others including the old, the young and the animals. We also strongly urge citizens to follow COVID-19 precautions and guidelines issued by the government.”

For those wondering how to ensure that animals have a safe and happy Diwali, HSI/India has some ‘sound’ advice in the form of these simple tips:

  • Keep pets indoors and in a familiar room. Pets have a heightened sense of hearing, so jolts and loud noises cause many animals to flee in search of a safe haven. Leave calming music or the television on to comfort them, if possible.
  • Keep all doors and windows closed and draw the curtains to reduce noise. Supply pets with enough food and water and ensure someone can stay at home to care for them.
  • Urge friends and neighbors to avoid igniting loud firecrackers and instead use firecrackers that emit less smoke and do not create so much noise.
  • Store fireworks safely in a closed box, somewhere cool and dry, and out of reach of pets. Do not keep fireworks containers under stairs or exposed in passages or hallways.
  • Decorate with lights, lamps and divas that are friendlier to the environment and animals (i.e., ones that give off less smoke, smell and noise.)
  • Refrain from setting firecrackers off near an animal shelter or zoo. Loud explosions can cause panic and fear, and pollution from burning firecrackers is harmful to animals’ health.
  • Take dogs for a walk during the daytime before the celebrations begin. Never walk them near where others are lighting firecrackers.
  • Consult a veterinarian if your pets are prone to acute anxiety or distress from loud noises and medicate with anti-anxiety or calmative agents if necessary, and only through a veterinary prescription. Check their availability during Diwali, ahead of time in case of an emergency.
  • Ensure pets are wearing collars and identification tags with current contact information. All pets, even those kept indoors, should always wear collars with identification tags.
  • If you feed street animals around your neighbourhood, make sure they are wearing tags labelled with their names and your phone numbers. Provide them shelter in an area where they may be safe from the firecrackers and the noise.
  • Make a first-aid kit in preparation for helping injured animals. Have a bucket full of water handy for an emergency and to place used sparklers inside.
  • Keep contact information for local municipal corporations and surrounding shelters handy and approach them immediately in case of lost pets. If you find lost pets, either take them to the address on the tag or a local animal shelter.


Media Contact: Shambhavi Tiwari: +91-8879834125; stiwari@hsi.org

Humane Society International / India

HSI HSI India responds to floods in Kerela, India, October 2021

Kerala, INDIA—Humane Society International/India, in collaboration with the Department of Animal Husbandry, is providing emergency relief to thousands of animals affected by the devastating floods in the state of Kerala. While the National Disaster Response Force, Indian Army, Air Force and Navy have been deployed to aid people, HSI/India is working alongside them to distribute essential materials to the animals with whom the residents share their lives. The items include nutrient dense fodder for the livestock of pastoral farmers and food for stranded street dogs who would otherwise starve.

India and Nepal have experienced extremely heavy rainfall resulting in landslides and flash floods in multiple locations, with more than 180 people reported dead so far. HSI/India’s animal relief is focusing on Alapuzzha district, one of the four worst affected regions in Kerala where more than 700 families have been impacted, with more than 4,000 cattle needing emergency feed. HSI/India, together with Kerala State Disaster Management authorities, has been circulating posters and videos to residents to raise awareness about animal care before, during and after disasters in the affected areas to decrease the chances of stranded animals starving or drowning in the absence of an evacuation or in-situ care plan.

Praveen Suresh, HSI/India’s manager for disaster response and relief, said: “Animals play a crucial role in the lives of the people affected by the floods in terms of companionship, livelihood as well as being an important part of the ecosystem. It’s heartbreaking to see people and animals suffering like this, so we are grateful to the Kerala authorities for including animal protection in their disaster response and for coordinating with animal protection groups such as HSI/India. The help we are able to provide is making the difference between animals surviving or starving to death, so we will continue to bring whatever help is necessary.”

HSI responds to disasters around the world to assist animals and communities in need. For example, in 2018 HSI stepped in to provide emergency treatment to dogs, cats, chickens, horses and other animals affected by the Volcan de Fuego eruptions in Guatemala, and in 2017 HSI helped more than 6,200 animals affected by deadly earthquakes in Mexico. In India, HSI has responded to the Uttarakhand flash floods in 2013, Chennai floods and Nepal earthquake in 2015, Kerala and Karnataka floods in 2018, 2019 and 2020 in addition to helping animals during the COVID-19 lockdown.

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Humane Society International

Humane Society International/India’s program delivers rabies protection to communities, dogs and wildlife

Humane Society International / India


DHARWAD—Veterinarians from Humane Society International/India went door-to-door in the remote villages of Dori and  Dopenatti in Dharwad, southwest India for World Rabies Day, giving free anti-rabies vaccinations to owned, yet free-ranging dogs as part of a regionalised drive to better protect both people and animals. Arriving in HSI/India’s Mobile Animal Clinic (a truck converted into a veterinary clinic on wheels) and armed with cell phones to create a medical record and track every vaccinated dog with high-tech accuracy, the vets hope to vaccinate at least 70% of the local dog population, a minimum needed for herd immunity. HSI/India teamed up with government vets from the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Sciences Department to roll out the vaccinations.  

India has around 20,000 human rabies deaths a year, accounting for nearly 40% of the worldwide death toll. Virtually all cases in India are linked to dog bites, so a three-pronged solution is vaccinating dogs, raising awareness in people on responsible canine care giving, and humanely reducing the roaming dog population.  Since 2013 HSI/India has vaccinated and sterilised nearly 400,000 dogs and cats across India, and more than 1 million street dogs globally as part of its campaign to help communities reduce and care for roaming dogs and provide a humane alternative to cruel dog culls.   

Dori and Dopenatti border a forest reserve and it’s not unusual for the community’s 80 or so dogs to wander into the forest. Nearly all dogs in the villages are owned by people but are entirely free-ranging. That presents the dual risk of unvaccinated dogs infecting wildlife with rabies, or acting as vectors and bringing back pathogens to the community. The rabies drive safeguards the community, wild animals around it and its dogs.   

Dr. Vineeta Poojary, HSI/India’s veterinary sciences manager, says: One of the primary drivers of deliberate cruelty faced by street or community dogs is the fear of being bitten and of contracting rabies. Roughly 20,000 people a year die of rabies in India, and most rabies cases in humans are the result of a dog bite, so by protecting the health of the dogs with a simple vaccine, we are protecting these communities at the same time. The biggest challenge though is in making communities aware of the need to vaccinate their dogs.  

When we first vaccinated dogs in Dori last year, vaccination was a totally alien concept to this community and there was considerable scepticism. But now that they understand the importance of the rabies vaccine and have seen that their dogs are unharmed by it, their hesitancy has reduced significantly. Community buy-in is absolutely essential for rabies programs to work, which is why we focus so much on community engagement and education. Efforts such as these serve as the foundation to build long-term disease monitoring and surveillance programs at a district level as they enable us to collect samples from a mosaic of landscapes and species to build a robust disease profile of the region overall. Models such as this will go a long-way in ensuring animal health, community health and in-turn, planetary health.”   

Globally an estimated 300 million dogs live on the streets, 35 million of them in India where they battle starvation, untreated disease and injuries, as well as direct persecution. Despite this, through community education programs such as that promoted by HSI/India, there is a growing understanding of safe and harmonious coexistence, and a growing responsibility in communities to care for the animals with whom they share their lives while at the same time holding local government agencies to account to deliver coordinated, quality veterinary care in rural and urban areas in line with the One Health approach. HSI/India’s program in the district of Dharwad, Karnataka aims to develop a model for inclusive animal protection, actively engaging community members to sustain these efforts over time.   

Local resident Allah Baksh (37 years old) says: “My dog’s name is Pinto and he is 3 years old. I am a member of the grama panchayat (village administrative unit). Members of HSI/India and government doctors have come today and vaccinated almost all dogs in our village. This is a really good initiative to safeguard the health and wellness of our dogs and the people in our village. We welcome this program and have fully cooperated with them. We would also like to get our dogs sterilized in the near future.” 

Local resident Bhimappa, (65 years old) says: “My dog’s name is Raja and he is 6 years old. Since this morning, the vets have been going door-to-door and vaccinating all dogs in our village. This is very beneficial to our dogs and people who live in Dori. This initiative is one of a kind and is welcome from the point of view of health of our animals.”

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Humane Society International / India

Reduce your consumption of animal products and pledge to #EatKind for animals, people and the planet!

Humane Society International / India

On the occasion of World Spay Day, 23 Feb. 2021, Humane Society International/India conducted free camps for sterilisation and vaccination at its Animal Birth Control Centres located in Vadodara, Dehradun and Lucknow. The camp focused on engaging community members who care for the street dogs in their areas and promoting animal birth control as an efficient remedy to manage dog population. During this camp, over 234 dogs were sterilised and 283 were vaccinated against the rabies virus.

HSI/India facilitated the camp with highly experienced veterinarians and animal welfare officers trained to use the latest humane equipment and methods.

Keren Nazareth, director of companion animals and engagement for HSI/India, said, “There are many kind and compassionate people who care for the free-roaming dogs on their streets in Vadodara, Dehradun and Lucknow. What better day than World Spay Day to help them get their community dogs sterilized and vaccinated to ensure the dog population is efficiently maintained in their respective areas. The management of the dog population will also assist in reducing instances of human-dog conflict. We encourage the people of Vadodara to come forward and bring more street dogs to our facilities for sterilization and vaccinations through the year.”

HSI/India has been implementing a mass sterilization and anti-rabies vaccination project in Dehradun and Nainital (Uttarakhand), Vadodara (Gujarat) and Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh).Since its work began in 2013 in India, it has sterilized and vaccinated over 150,000 dogs across many cities of India.


Media Contact: Uma Biswas: +91-8758807223; ubiswas@hsi.org

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