ALERT, Animal Law Enforcement and Rescue Team was set up in 1999 and since then has been doing exceptional work on animals on enforcing the rights of the animals. Despite the animal laws in India being the most comprehensive ones, the implementation has been extremely poor. ALERT was formed as a part of People for Animals Pune Unit and continued to work as such till 2016. Considering the fact that ALERT has been working on projects PAN India and there was a great demand for a dedicated animal law enforcement unit that will help organizations and individuals across India, it was decided to restructure the organization and it could not be confined to one city of India.
In December 2016 it demerged from PFA Pune and is now continues to work independently focused on bringing animal law enforcement to every corner of the country. Further, it was also found that the entire concentration of animal welfare activities is confined to companion animals, dogs and cats. The animals that face maximum abuse are the ones used in food industries, laboratories, factory farms, religious rituals and activities that involve mass exploitation of animals. It was decided that significant efforts need to focused on these animals who are abused in most brutal manners and who are abused in millions.
The larger picture
The analysis of animal abuse pattern in India is as below…
Abuse involving immediate death of animals
No. 1 Food – meat, poultry and fisheries industries
No.2 Religious rituals and sacrifices
No.3 Laboratories and research involving animals
No.4 Poaching and illegal hunting of wild animals.
No.5 Killing of street and domestic animals
Abuse involving continuous captivity and torture
No.1 Dairy and Egg industry
No.2 Animals used for bearing load and for transportation.
No.3 Animals used in laboratories
No.4 Animals bred and sold by puppy mills and pet shops
No.5 Pet animals kept by individuals who are neglected or abused.
While 90% of the organizations are working on No.5 in both situations, the first four are somewhere out of radar of the mainstream animal welfare movement. So, only street animals (and pets) in India get maximum attention while all other animals are subject to abuse and death on daily basis.
The Urban – Rural Divide
As described above ninety percent of the animal welfare efforts of mainstream animal welfare organizations is concentrated on pet and street animals, there is another large disparity as well. The entire movement is concentrated in large cities. There are 29 states in India of which many states do not have a single animal welfare organization. Of the states that do have NGOs, they are present only in the capital and second or at the most the important most city, the rest of the cities do not have any NGO at all. The NGOs in the cities also are only able to reach the municipal limits of the city, the semi rural and rural areas of the city remain out of bound of the coverage of the NGO. In short, mainstream organizations exist only on street animals in certain states and in those states in certain 2-3 of the 20-30 cities and within those cities cater only to the urban part of the city. The street animals living in all other states, 90% of the cities and 99% of the villages do not have access to any form of medical care or treatment.
How we plan to reach the most disadvantaged animals.
Our most important weapon is outreach and awareness. Firstly, to raise awareness using innovative and traditional methods, the cost is not tremendous but the impact is permanent and self-replicating. When we reach out to people explaining them about animal abuse, a certain percentage of these people not just stop supporting animal abuse but they themselves start promoting the cause. Many of them start their own formal or informal groups and they become an independent unit working for the cause. Most countries in the American and European Sub-Continent have around 5% people who are vegan. Each of this vegan is a result of either an outreach campaign by an NGO or triggered by communication by an individual. Though it takes very little money to run awareness campaign, the results are tremendous and long lasting.
Law Enforcement :
The laws in India protect farm animals and lab animals just as they protect street animals. However they remain on paper. There are also several policy changes that are needed for implementation of laws. We work on implementation of law through legal action on individual cases, approach government to implement existing laws, eradicate systematic abuse by approaching High Court in form of PILs and Writ petitions and also by supporting formation of individual groups who will implement laws in semi urban and rural regions. These activities again depends mostly on voluntary services and therefore not very costly but has a very strong impact.
Financial support on case-to-case basis
Animals that are not within reach of mainstream NGOs are not orphans. In every street of the country there is possibly one person who loves the animals on that street. These people are extremely dedicated to the well being of those animals they care for and also sick and injured animals they come across. However, they lack expertise to care for sick and injured animals and most do not have money to treat them when ill or injured. We plan to provide emergency financial grant to these caregivers. Their work shall be monitored through continuous updates they shall send to the web-portal. Those who can not use these tools shall be provided assistance.
Our web-portal happy animals will be a bridge between these grass root level and our donors. We shall link all our donations to the distress requests we get. So, if we get a request for help for a dog who has met with an accident in Kolhapur from a local individual, we shall immediately evaluate the case and release an emergency grant of Rs 2000/-. This will give breathing space to the rescuer and allow him to focus on treatment rather than running around for money. Later, if required we shall send more grants as an when needed till the animal is cured.
- It allows us to reach cities, town and villages that do not have any animal ambulance service or hospital for street animals.
- In many cases the rescuer is able to raise more funds once emergency grant is received this the contribution by us gets amplified.
- We are able to provide guidance and tips to the rescuer helping him gain more confidence and help him not commit known mistakes.
- We are able to give the donor a direct report on utilization of his funds. This helps the donor feel good about his contribution and also provides him an opportunity to know direct impact of his donation.
- 90% percent of donor are unwilling to donate because they are unsure of the usage of the donation. This transparent approach to donation creates repeat donors.
- More donation accelerates the cycle reaching out to more rescues and more cured animals.
Happy Animals and ALERT as an integrated project work on long term goals for animals as well as help in meeting the immediate needs of animals in distress.