An overview of the Humane Society International/India (HSI/India), a campaign organization fighting against cruelty to animals:
Humane Society International (HSI/India) is one of the few animal protection organizations in the country working to protect all animals—including animals in laboratories, farm animals, companion animals, and wildlife. We provide hands-on care and services to hundreds of animals each year, and we professionalize the field through education and training local organizations. We are striving to bring transformational change in the country by combatting institutionalized cruelties such as factory farming, animal toxicity animals, and wildlife trade. Our mission is to reduce animal suffering and create a sustainable change world for animals and we achieve this through education, advocacy and capacity building.
End Animal Testing
HSI/India’s “Be Cruelty-Free” campaign in India is a part of the leading global campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics. We have already succeeded in availing a twin ban on animal testing for cosmetics and a ban on import of animal tested cosmetics in India. HSI/India has also launched a national tip line +91 767 492 2044 against illegal testing of animals for cosmetics in the country. We are now working with the Government to amend regulations for Pesticide testing and vaccines, promoting advanced non animal technologies and developing infrastructure for developing these technologies in India.
Every year, more than 100 million dogs, monkeys, rabbits, mice, and guinea pigs undergo painful procedures in research and testing laboratories. Animal testing is performed on living animals for the purpose of research; to assess the effectiveness of new medicinal products, test the human health and environmental safety of cosmetics, household cleaners, food additives, pharmaceuticals and industrial/agro-chemicals. Often the procedures performed make them suffer tremendously resulting in the ultimate death of the animal.
Stop Shark Finning
India is the second largest shark landing countries in the world. Every year, nearly 100 tonnes of sharks are hunted and exported from India to meet the demand for shark fin soup. The inhumane and cruel practice of Shark Finning allows sharks to be caught in unsustainable numbers. Sharks play an essential role in marine ecosystems and finning endangers their survival as well as of the species that rely on them
HSI/India’s Shark finning campaign focuses at protecting sharks by ending the cruel practice of Shark Finning – the removal of fins from a live shark. The sharks once finned are often disposed back into the ocean, where they die a slow and painful death. With continuous advocacy with the Ministry of Environment, we have been successful in achieving a Fins Attached policy and now we are closely working with the Government and Fishermen for the implementation of the same. HSI/India has been instrumental in liaising with Jet Airways to ban the shipment of shark fins as cargo. Jet Airways in the only Indian airline to end its role in the international trade of shark fins and has been conferred with the prestigious Henry Spira Award for its commitment to protecting shark populations.
Currently, we are continuing to engage with shark fishermen in organizing stake holder’s meetings and to address various issues governing the fishing of sharks in India.
Eliminate Battery Cages
The vast majority of commercial egg and meat products in India come from intensive confinement facilities that do not provide for many of the animals’ most basic needs. India is the third-largest producer of eggs in the world and at least 70 percent of egg production takes place in the organized, commercial sector which has overwhelmingly adopted intensive, inhumane farm animal production methods. Indian Factory Farms confine more than 200 million hens in battery cages that prevents them from engaging in nearly all forms of natural behaviour. Constrained in barren cages, hens can experience long-term physical and psychological problems.
HSI/India’s Farm Animal Welfare campaign is fighting the intensive confinement of farm animals in factory farming and aims to reduce their suffering by promoting the concept of conscientious eating and ethical living. We also work with governments, corporations and industries to enact reforms to improve the treatment of farm animals. HSI/India has successfully persuaded 24 out of 29 states on the illegality of Battery Cage system in India. HSI/India’s advocacy has led some of the popular hotels including The Park Kolkata, Crowne Plaza et al in the hospitality industry to adopt a cage-free policy by ending the procurement of cage-free eggs.
HSI/India runs a multifaceted Humane Eating Outreach Program that promotes the concept of adopting a cruelty-free approach towards diets by reducing the consumption of animal products, refining diets by avoiding foods that are created using cruel production methods in favour of alternative, humane ones and replacing animal products with those derived from plants. Together, in coalition with more than 15 organizations across India, HSI/India has been able to impact people in a making healthy and conscious food choices.
Street Dog Welfare
Millions of stray dogs roam the streets in India. Too often, governments deal with this overpopulation through cruel means such as poisoning, electrocution and shooting. The relationship between street dogs and the human population in Indian cities is mostly harmonious, but rabies is a major concern in India. India is leading the other countries in human rabies cases. Street dogs are the major carrier of the deadly virus and hence fall prey to inhumane means of dog population control in some parts of the country.
HSI/India’s Dog Population Management (DPM) Project is a part of Street Dog Welfare Program which aims at effective handling of street dog overpopulation by adopting the most scientific and high humane quality ways to sterilize and vaccinate stray dogs. Our street dog welfare team is tirelessly working to changing people’s perceptions about the Indian street dog through Animal Birth Control (ABC) projects, veterinary training, dog census studies, community awareness and education.
HSI works with Government and state administration to tackle the issue of dog overpopulation. Our National Rabies Control Program in the Hisar division of Haryana recently marked its first successful anniversary by vaccinating, sterilizing and providing medical aid to more than 92,000 dogs in a span of one year. Apart from Haryana, the program has received an overwhelming response in Jamshedpur and Hyderabad.
Save Olive Ridley Sea Turtles
Rapid urbanization and massive development projects in Orissa had resulted in a sharp decline in the number of olive ridley turtles in the last decade. Orissa is known to host the world’s largest olive ridley sea turtle nesting site. Every year, between the months of December and April, thousands of olive ridleys emerge from the cool, clear waters of the Bay of Bengal for their famed mass nesting.
HSI/India’s direct intervention and its partnership with a local NGO Action for Protection of Wild Animals has helped save the lives of several hundred olive ridley hatchlings. HSI‘s wildlife experts are also training the local community who could go on to rescue thousands and curb the fall in their numbers.
Humane Society International works with local and international organizations to provide relief to animals and communities impacted by disasters occurring around the world.
In 2012, when cyclone Phailin hit Odisha and north Andhra Pradesh, it killed an estimated 40,000 farm animals. HSI/India’s dedicated disaster response team partnered with local organization Action for Protection of Wild Animals to carry food and veterinary supplies to the affected villages and vaccinate as many animals as possible. We are also collaborated with People for Animals Uttarakhand to rescue the thousands of animals stranded in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand during the flash floods in Kedarnath in 2013.
Last year, HSI’s disaster response team was at the forefront to rescue animals from Nepal’s earthquake and Chennai floods. Teamed with volunteers from local organizations and community, HSI was successful in rescuing and providing medical aid to thousands of animals stranded in disaster affected regions of Nepal and Chennai.
HSI/India works with Animal Welfare Board of India and regional organizations to conduct trainings for police, lawyers, veterinarians, animal welfare advocates, volunteers and others on animal laws present in India with an angle of animal welfare.
India, despite having some of the best animal protection laws in the world, is still lacking severely in the way these rights are enforced. HSI/India’ s two pronged capacity building program is aimed at equipping animal welfare advocates as well as enforcement officials with a thorough understanding of animal laws so they can work in tandem to monitor animal cruelty incidents. Thus far, HSI/India has organized successful training programs in Hyderabad, Vijaywada, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Kochi, Bangalore, Bellari, Bhopal and others. While keeping note of the overwhelming response received from all of its participants, HSI/India ensures that is committed to expanding the scope of its capacity building program across the length and breadth of the country.
HSI/India, in coalition with national and international organizations works against animal cruelties around the world. In 2014, HSI/India with Supreme Courts orders and partnership with Animal Welfare Network Nepal succeeded in reducing the animal sacrifice by 70% during Gadhimai festival in Nepal.
HSI/India is leading the effort in combatting the issue of animal fighting/racing and works with the Government and local organizations to end this cruel practice. It was due to HSI/India’s support in legal intervention that the Supreme Court of India reiterated the ban on Jallikattu and any kind of animal fighting (bull, buffalo, bulbul)/animal racing in the country. The same ruling was echoed by the High Courts of A.P & Telangana, Bombay, and Guwahati et al that pronounced animal fighting as illegal in India.
Apart from cracking animal fighting incidents, HSI/India proactively addresses and resolves animal cruelty incidents witnessed on a daily basis. In the recent past, HSI has been on the forefront in tackling some of the most horrific incidents of animal cruelty in India including the dog bestiality case in Kerala, puppies stabbed to death in New Delhi, litter of puppies set ablaze by a group of teenagers in Hyderabad and others. With the increase in the number of animal cruelty incidents reported in India, HSI/India in collaboration with People for Animals (PFA) has launched a campaign called #NoMore50 that aims at increasing the penalties prescribed in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Currently, the maximum penalty even for the most heinous form of animal abuse is a petty Rs 50. Animal abusers have taken advantage of this feeble law and have continued to inflict insurmountable amount of cruelty on animals. HSI/India has also made its national tip line +91 767 492 2044 available to the general public for reporting animal fighting, testing and other animal abuse incidents.
Dog Meat Trade in Nagaland
The cruel dog meat trade is prevalent throughout the Indian state of Nagaland. Dogs are tied up in sacks with their muzzles bound shut from the moment they are captured until they are slaughtered, often forced to await death alongside the butchered remains of their companions. Often, customers select the live dog they wish to purchase, which are then clubbed to death in the market. Before being butchered, the carcass is roasted over an open fire or thrown into scalding hot water to make it easier to remove their fur.
The Food Safety & Standards Regulation of 2011 does not permit dog meat consumption. Even with this legislative ban, it is not enforced. In July 2016, HSI/India launched a campaign to end the illegal dog meat trade in Nagaland. The campaign aims at working closely with the government and law enforcement agencies in Assam and other neighbouring states of Nagaland to shut down the trade and spare the lives of thousands of dogs.