By Aradhna Singh:
In the scorching heat, my colleague and I were standing with nothing but a sheet of paper and a pen in our hands. This was for a campaign advocating for the freedom of captive elephants. Our aim for the day was to get 500 signatures. It may seem like an easy task since we were at a crowded place in the Delhi University North campus. However, it took us 5 hours to complete it.
That day, I conversed with students who had signed the pledge to not go to a zoo that holds captive elephants. I told them about a campaign by FIAPO (Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisation) called Living Free. Living Free upholds the notion that people should not exploit animals and their products. I told them why we believe so and what the goal behind it is, however I could sense the contempt most felt. That was my first campaigning event and I was taken aback by the reactions I saw. Here I was, trying to be the change I want to see in the world, yet I felt that the world didn’t appreciate it.
When it comes to animal welfare, most people don’t understand its importance. This adds to the daunting job of campaigning for such causes. The natural tendency to incorporate animal welfare into our lives is not as prevalent as it should be. Being an animal activist, I have always hoped to influence people in a way that this goal is achieved. Throughout my experience with activism and campaigning, I learnt a various ways of enhancing this influence but it came with strings attached.
Around the globe, people are unaware of the cruelty endured by animals for human benefits. Issues such as the torture faced by animals in slaughter houses, the excruciating misery faced by rabbits for production of Angora wool or simply, the ruthless conditions that captive animals are made to live in, are just a few I came to know about while working with FIAPO. I understood that most of the cruelty that animals face is due to their commercial exploitation. Within a few months I learnt how I can take matters into my own hands. During campaigning, I found that though a considerable proportion of society disregards animal rights, there are many people who want to fight for the animals but do not know where to start. The Boot Camp organised by FIAPO is a perfect opportunity for these people. It provides an arena to learn how to optimize your potential and to imbibe the best tactics required for campaigning and revolutionising animal welfare. If I had been given the opportunity to know how to administer such campaigns and what goes into achieving a successful one initially, I would not have doubted humanity as a whole.
The recent Kerala Boycott Movement has enraged animal rights activists worldwide. This movement is against the imprudent decision of the Kerala Government to euthanize “dangerous” stray dogs in the state. This protest was acknowledged by various people all over the world as it involves man’s best friend. The fact that such a case can unite such a diverse group of people is only proof that the right to defend animals is innate among us. It is imperative that we as denizens of the world should understand the gravity of the issue of animal rights and act upon it.
If you feel the absolute need to stand up for our voiceless friends and light the torch to commence the movement then join us at the Boot Camp on the 18- 20 of September in Delhi and 25-27 of September in Chennai.