A recent conversation I had with a man in India indicates to me that the country needs more and better animal shelters. I tried to confirm that assessment and was unable to do so because the information online is just not there which further supports my assessment.
This kind man lives in a housing complex as a society. I am not clear how it worked as we did not discuss it. Two female cats had given birth to four kittens each in the common areas of the estate. The management wanted to get rid of them while he wanted to help them. He asked me for some advice.
The Facebook IM conversation is reproduced below:
All I could do was refer to the usual things you’d do if you live in the West and/or find alternative possible solutions. It became clear in our conversation that in India this relatively straightforward animal welfare situation was a difficult problem to deal with. Mind you, that said, it would take effort in the West to deal with it successfully.
There is a real and current possibility as far as I can tell that the ten stray cats (two mothers and eight kittens) will lose their lives one way or another. I am fearful that someone at the housing complex would scoop them up and chuck them away.
The man needed help but the other residents where he lives appear to be disinterested in the welfare of the cats. He is alone in this respect and good on him. He appears to be an exception where he lives; someone who could not forget about these homeless cats and do nothing. This reminds me of many America ladies who have to help feral cats.
He was facing a struggle though. He did contact a shelter but they did not respond. I think the concept of ‘foster carers’ is little known in India. He needs help but it is not easy to find. It should be easier to find. In America there are many people who’d help and of course there are many animal shelters who’d take the cats and hopefully find homes for them. The structure is there.
For an outsider, India, looks like a country that has developed in a way which has benefitted the few and made them billionaires but left millions behind including animal welfare. I think it is one of the worst countries in the world for inequality in wealth. And that wealth has been created at the expense of the environment (worst pollution in the world in Delhi) and an apathetic interest in animal welfare.
There are about 30,000 human deaths from rabies annually in India, mainly from stray dog bites. A ghastly statistic. This high level of rabies is indicative of a lack of commitment to improving animal welfare. The controls are not there. There is plenty of money in the hands of a small percentage of the population but it is not distributed. India has the third highest number of billionaires in the world after China and the USA.
India’s billionaires could easily transform animal welfare in their country and support more and better quality shelters. More money needs to filter down in support of the animals. There needs to be better controls. There are too many stray dogs and cats. Many suffer terribly due to human neglect and abuse. Am I being too harsh?
The Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have the most equal societies and they constantly rank as the best places to live. A strong statement on what to target in society. India needs to get their act together on pollution and equalities. And by equalities I am including animals. They are the most vulnerable of all God’s creatures (I am an atheist by the way).