400 activists come under one umbrella in Mumbai to celebrate animal rights

For the first time in Mumbai, over 400 animal activists participated in the India for Animals Conference 2016. The first day of the event was held at The Lalit, Andheri on Friday. The event had several speakers who held workshops, discussions by renowned panelist to share and collaborate on strategies to protect animals and their rights. The event is three days long and is ending on Sunday.

While on one hand, atrocities over animals in India is growing on a large scale, so is the animal protection movement in India growing consistently. None the less, the manner is usually un-organized, primitive, marked by a grave need for information, education and skill development in the sector.

The workshops were divided into three broad categories, mainly skill development for organizations and activists, tracking the issues and strategies to finding solutions around issues. The workshops touched issues like breeding, first-aid, stray animals, volunteering etc. Noted activists like Vandana Shiva, Anand Grover, Abodh Aras, and Bittu Sahgal are leading international and national activists and organisations.

Talking about the future road map of dealing with animal protection issues, Norma Almares, FIAPO chairman, said, “Two things that will be helping us to deal with the current situation of the animal rights protection is to make strickter laws and education. The issue with the laws in this country is that they are often lesser used and here, with this conference, we are trying to bridge the gap between organizations and the judiciary. We are going to help these organizations make a path which leads to stricter laws for animal rights. Besides, education for sensitivity towards animals need to start at a very early age, thus, education is important.”

Anand Shiva, animal activist said,” It is a brilliant opportunity for all animal activists to come under one roof, connect with each other, share views, and discuss issues without having an ailing animal in hand. Ironically, we seldom get an opportunity to do so.”

Sonia Alicea from Indian Canine Uplifment centre, Delhi said, “it was a good opportunity for us to mingle with NGOs and get to know like-minded people and share views which is important for an organization like ours since we’re a pet boarding centre.”

Varda Mehrotra, Director, FIAPO says, “In Mumbai, animal activists have a huge network. The whole pupose of IFA is to bring all the speakers and activists under one umbrella. The main motive is to give exposure to the activists to deal with issues on a day to day basis. The issues and exploitation is huge, way much more than it is visible. There are 25 million dogs but 3 million cattle we need to cater to all issues at large.”

Commenting on the policy issues and the way to deal with it, Mehrotra said, “Policy change is a long shot and one cannot deal with it on his or her own way. Larger issues, require more numbers, activists and organization all these need to come together, and then, policy makers will have to listen to large number.”

The event has several brands and NGOs making merchandises. One such brand, vegshoes.in makes shoes without harming animals. The shoes are made from a blend of polyester and polyurethane which is derived from plastic bottles.

For those willing to attend the next two days of the event, can walk-in at The Lalit in Andheri and attend the workshop. The workshop will touch upon issues like fundraising, legal status and enforcement of animals in India among the many other.