The plight of stray animals who suffer on the streets is addressed by none. These animals are left on their own when people take a few steps back before considering their predicament, for they can’t speak. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in India, an estimated 35 million dogs alone live a stray living on the streets, what to talk of other animals.
Compassionate treatment towards animals has been an age-old question for the World. Abusive treatment, caging, and exploiting animals for meat or other commodities is ordinary and widespread. There are hardly any substantial laws protecting animals from barbarity and exploitation.
However, some kind souls are engaged in protesting and working for these abandoned animals’ welfare and who believe that they also deserve cruelty-free lives and be cared for and loved. Animal rights activists are not just a crowd of people we see holding up signs and placards in the interest of animals; they are the ones who are battling against the abusers of the animal kingdom peacefully.
People for Animals Durg, Bhilai is one such Animal welfare organization. PFA is one of the first animal protection organizations working for the animals in the Durg and Bhilai regions of Chhattisgarh. It was started in 2016 by 2 founders, Aanchal Dani and Dr. Dharamveer Chandrakar. Aanchal, a software engineer by profession, used to work in Pune, Maharashtra. During her visit to her hometown ( Bhilai) for a vacation, she witnessed horrific animal abuse. She got to know that there aren’t any animal welfare organizations in Bhilai. It was only then she decided to do something for this unaddressed cause. Eventually, she came and touch with PFA Raipur, and there she came across Dr. Dharamveer Chandrakar, who is also a passionate animal lover. They both started working together to trigger a widespread impact that will bring a change in the lives of the animals of Durg and Bhilai.
PFA Durg, Bhilai is one of those very few registered animal welfare organizations, and it has been three years that they are helping the poor stranded animals of Durg and Bhilai.
In a conversation with Aanchal, one of the co-founders of PFA Durg, Bhilai, she told that since very childhood, her parents have inculcated the quality of compassion towards the living entities, and that is how she has developed a firm bond with animals, she told that we being a part of civilized human society, it is imperative for us to gauge relationship with the living beings around us who are also the part of our existence in this planet, and the key to which is that we must at least try to feed the animals around our dwelling places, even a meager giving means a lot for these speechless little creatures. These simple gestures of compassion and love result in developing a lifelong relationship with these animals who never forget these deeds of kindness.
Aanchal and Dr. Dharamveer, who once started PFA, with hardly 2 or 3 volunteers back in 2016, have now taken it to another level with their team has rescued over 3000 animals, including birds, pigs, horses, cows, dogs, and cats. Recalling this 4-year journey with PFA, Aanchal said that they are still facing challenges related to space and resources. Initially, connecting with the rescue cases used to be a significant hurdle, But social media has much helped for the same, and many people have come along directly or indirectly. There are currently around 15 full-time volunteers who are working actively with PFA for this cause. Speaking about the rehabilitation center, she said that now we have a small space for a shelter home that can accommodate around 15 small animals for their treatment and care, and the larger animals are operated on the spot itself.
Many animal welfare organizations worldwide are always working for this cause, but many of those have to face a severe lack of funding. The struggle to thrive for a just and noble cause often goes unsupported by people; they can only go as far as their budgets allow. Both monetary and in-kind donations do have a considerable impact. Talking about the finance part of the People for Animals Durg, Bhilai said they are entirely dependent on donations. In the beginning, it started with the founders and board members pooling their capital and pocket money, and that’s how the expenses were taken care of, and they still are doing so. However, people have come forward, but still, the budgetary crises do happen now and then.
Talking about the activities of People for Animals Durg, Bhilai Aanchal said that we carry out multifaceted activities related to animal well-being, including all the aspects, be it legal, medical, rescue, and rehabilitation. Because of human-dog conflict, sterilization has become an issue of paramount importance is also being carried out with utmost diligence. Under the objective of making people aware of animal welfare, activities like setting up Camps at schools, colleges, and other educational institutions are also going on along with animal adoption programs. Adding to it, Aanchal said that our future target is to set up a bigger shelter home in the form of an animal sanctuary, one of its own kinds in Durg Bhilai.
Animal rights and activism in the World is on a gradual rise. In the last decade, the numbers of grassroots animal protection groups have seen a considerable surge. The tide of public feeling is turning, and attitudes towards animals in various countries are changing fast with the increased dog and cat ownership. The younger generation has been a driving force in rejecting animal cruelty and making their voices heard. Talking about the need for empathy and compassion towards animals in the younger generation, Aanchal emphasized the need to inculcate these values in young minds since childhood, wherein the parents play the central role in making their children aware of this cause, and so does the schools. Education is the most vital medium that must include animal welfare as a part of it because a man is ultimately judged by the way he treats his fellow beings, so the way a person treats animals pretty reflects the kind of person he really is.
An animal rights activist is someone who believes in justice for all living entities. The whole essence is in the very term itself– “rights.” Animal rights activists envision much higher rights for animals than the current society in general, and they aspire to change this. That is why most animal rights activists are either vegetarian or vegan. Many recognize themselves as environmental activists, and their sole objective to create a world where humans and other animals dwell in harmony without one species dominating another. As a vegan for years, Aanchal said that no soul may ever have to suffer at the cost of the unending greed of the human tongue. For this very reason, PFA Durg-Bhilai doesn’t only limit these cities; instead, we are coordinating with the adjacent towns of Rajnandgaon, Bilaspur, etc. where we already have formed our teams.
As a conclusive message, Aanchal appealed to those who harm animals that if you cannot feed and take care of the stray animals at-least, don’t harm them. No one should abuse these kindred souls because we have no right to hurt these innocent creatures.
The animal rights activism, though growing, but is still very small in India, but it’s growing. The animal lovers are vastly outnumbered by people who consider stray animals as parasites. Therefore raise awareness without thinking about what others will think. Animal suffering is taking a toll. We need real activism in every possible way. Don’t be afraid of speaking up for beautiful animals. They need you to stay strong! And stir the World through the never-ending and loud love for animals.
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