Maneka Gandhi. A fine woman.

This is a bizarre cat story but it is inline with the mysticism and mythology that surrounds the cat. For centuries people have associated the cat with bad luck and good luck. It can be carried to extremes, when a belief entails eating a cat or parts of it.

The best known examples of eating parts of a cat is tiger bone wine or eating parts of the tiger such as the animal’s penis, which is worth about $6,000. It is believed by some, that eating bits of tiger brings strength sexual prowess. Sad isn’t it? This cat superstition is one of the causes of the gradual extinction of the Bengal tiger.

This little, recent story comes from Maneka Gandhi and her animal sanctuary/shelter: People for Animals. Maneka Gandhi calls herself an animal rights activist. I just call her a bloody nice person. I’d love to interview her. Her shelter website has some disturbing images showing how tough life can be for some unfortunate animals in India.

She reports that a man had come back her shelter to adopt another cat having adopted two previously. The man had also tried to bribe a worker at the shelter to throw cats over the shelter perimeter. He clearly wanted cats very badly.

Maneka Gandhi realised something odd was going on. She investigated but doesn’t tell us what she did (she is a smart lady, though).

She discovered that this man was getting his cats pregnant, then aborting the pregnancy and then eating the placenta to bring him good luck. Horrible.

That is a perverted and modern example of how superstition, mythology and mysticism still follows the humble domestic cat.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • Unfortunately the term 'animal rights activist' has become associated with violence and destruction, which is why I like to call myself an 'animal welfare campaigner' instead, so that people don't just write me off as an animal loving, human hating crank.

    • Sadly, I agree. People who don't like ARAs have made the phrase mean something bad, when it is not. It is just part of the battle between people who care about animals and those who want to use them.

  • Michael as a Britisher you might be knowing a bit of Indian history having also visited the Country in 1971.The "Sanjay Gandhi National" park is named after Maneka.Gandh's husband the late politician Mr Sanjay.Gandhi.Her son is presently an active parlimentarian of the opposition "B.J.P" party in India. Maneka.Gandhi herself is a fanatic wild-life activist having started the "PEOPLE FOR ANIMALS" foundation which is very active in Delhi. I was once a member of "People For Animals" in the 1990's but later dropped out for personal reasons as they preached only about "vegetarianism" as a means of saving nature akin to "P.E.T.A" to which i disagree. Can you convert a tiger, lion or even a cat into a "VEGETARIAN"?I advocate on maintaining a "NATURAL BALANCE OF NATURE" in the forests with least human interference..In fact i have many a personally signed letters from Mrs Maneka.Gandhi during the formative years of starting "PEOPLE FOR ANIMALS" in Mumbai.In those days i used the typewriter and personal writing rather than the computer as in the "Internet Era".I had personally corresponded to Mrs Maneka.Gandhi about conservation of the "OLIVE RIDLEY TURTLE" on the coast of Orissa in India to which i received a personal reply.Had joined "P.F.A" as a "Life Member" in 1997 on membership charges of Rs 1000 and had attended a few initial meetings at the adress given in the letter..Today i am no more connected with "P.F.A"
    P.S :- I have posted a copy of the letter for your perusal to understand the work on animal welfare conducted by volunteers of "P.F.A" in India.The reverse side of the letter contains the signature of Mrs Maneka.Gandhi.

    • She is a famous lady so you have a nice letter and signature there. I admire this woman a lot. She seems to have achieved a lot for animal welfare in India, bringing in new laws etc and her shelter does great work. She is very enlightened.

      I wonder if she was behind the recent banning of animal testing for cosmetics in India.

      I am impressed that you were involved with her at one stage. She calls herself an "activist" but everything she does, she does with passion and vigorously but non-violently.

      That is how I see it. It supports my notion that there is no single definition of animal rights activist. It is not always about protests and demos but persistence and speaking up.

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