Humane Society International (HSI/India) is an animal protection organization in the country. The organisation is working towards protecting animals which include animals in laboratories, farm animals, companion animals and wildlife animals. It provides hands-on care and services to hundreds of animals each year. It professionalizes in the field through education and training of local organizations.
HSI/India is striving to bring transformational change in the country by combating institutionalized cruelties such as factory farming, animal toxicity animals and wildlife trade. The mission of HSI/India is to reduce animal suffering and create a sustainable changed world for them and it achieves this through education, advocacy and capacity building.
Some of their initiatives are as mentioned below –
End Animal Testing
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.
HSI/India’s “Be Cruelty-Free” campaign in India is a part of the campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics. The organization has already succeeded in availing a twin ban on animal testing for cosmetics and a ban on importing of animal tested cosmetics in India. HSI/India has also launched a national tip line against illegal testing of animals for cosmetics in the country. It is 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.
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, HSI/India has been successful in achieving a Fins Attached policy and now the organization is closely working with the Government and Fishermen for the implementation of the same. It 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.
Currently, it is 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 prevent 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. It also works with government, 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 to 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.
The organization is currently running a multifaceted Humane Eating Outreach Program that promotes the concept of adopting a cruelty-free approach towards diet 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 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. The country is leading 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. The organization’s street dog welfare team is tirelessly working to change 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. Its 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 hundreds of 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 also 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. It has 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.
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 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.
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 that they can work in tandem to monitor animal cruelty incidents. So 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 Court’s orders and by partnering with Animal Welfare Network, Nepal succeeded in reducing the animal sacrifice by 70% during Gadhimai festival in Nepal.
Additionally, HSI/India is leading the effort in combating 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 Andhra Pradesh & 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. HSI/India has also made its national tip line available for the general public for reporting animal fighting, testing and other animal cruelty incidents.