Social Activists

Anjali Sharma, who is endearingly called the dog lady”.

A native of Delhi, Anjali came to Chennai over 23 years ago for work. A resident of Harrington Road then, she had seen several abandoned dogs die for want of a home and a shelter.

Realizing that it was futile looking for help, Anjali quit her job, rented a huge house in Red Hills and set up The Animal Society of Chennai in an enormous portion of the house. This section serves as an animal shelter, where around 100 dogs are currently kept.

These dogs picked up from the roads. They also include puppies and dogs that are lost and injured. Since then, feeding her domesticated dogs as well as the strays became the priority of her life.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) helps her accomplish this task.

As PETA India’s director of veterinary affairs – a position Valliyate, who completed his education in veterinary science at Kerala Agricultural University, has held for the past seven years– he has already chalked up some of the organization’s greatest victories. This includes getting the live embalming of calves banned in veterinary education;encouraging the central Department of Animal Husbandry to issue a circular to animal husbandry directors in all states and union territories stating that cattle must be given anesthetics prior to castration; stopping illegal bullock cart races in which the animals are commonly hit with nail-studded sticks; replacing the bullocks who hauled heavy kerosene oil carts through Mumbai streets with motorised transportrescuing several once-chained elephants from lives of loneliness in temples; removing numerous lame and injured horses from the abusive Victoria carriage trade; and much more. His expert testimony and reports have helped PETA India win numerous court cases that have helped prevent suffering to animals nation-wide, including the landmark 2014 Supreme Court judgement that banned jallikattu (later permitted in Tamil Nadu, which PETA India is committed to challenging in court), bullock cart races, and other uses of bulls in performances.

The Tamil Actress is a popular face on the big screen but her acting skill is not the only admirable trait she possesses. The actress is also an animal rights activist and has been associated with People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) through which she advocates and promotes the adoption of stray animals. She has spoken out against experimentation and product testing on animals in laboratories. She wrote a letter to the government requesting for action to be undertaken to release 70 beagles, who had allegedly been imported from China as ‘pets’, but most probably were to be used for some experiments. She faced immense backlash on social media for taking a stand against Jallikattu, a traditional bull taming event in Tamil Nadu.

One of Indias leading environmental journalists and a widely published author, Prerna Bindra has been on the forefront of the battle to conserve wildlife resources of India for over a decade. She was a member of Indias National Board for Wildlife and its core standing committee from 2010 to 2013. She has also served on Uttarakhands State Board for Wildlife. She mainly focuses on protecting wildlife habitats and critically endangered species. Her fascination and love for animals is quite evident from her twitter account where her wall is filled with posts about birds and animals ranging from dogs and cats to lions and snow leopards.

A molecular ecologist working as an associate professor at NCBS, Uma and her team work on the conservation of endangered mammals of the Indian subcontinent such as wild cats, leopards and macaque monkeys. Her name today is synonymous with tiger conservation in India. Born in Bengaluru and brought up in The Indian Institute of Science where her father was a physicist, Uma was introduced to nature early on in life. From there grew her love for animals and her determination to make a change. She is a member of National Board for Wildlife, a Ramanujan fellow and a DAE Outstanding scientist. Her twitter wall bears evidence of her immense knowledge and love for the wildlife and she posts regularly making people aware of the rising threats to animals.

A Conservative Biologist born in Mangalore, Krithi is currently an Associate Conservation Scientist with Wildlife Conservation Society,New York and the executive director at Center for Wildlife Studies, Bangalore. She works on issues such as Human Animal-Conflict and Land Use Change. She has been researching on wildlife in India for the past 16 years and has become the torch bearer for wildlife conservation in India having worked on more than 25 projects in the country. Her wall on twitter is filled with posts about wild animals and birds and the threats or problems that they face.

One of the lesser known faces in animal activism, Yasmine is a school teacher by profession and her house is a refuge for all the homeless or abandoned cats and dogs in the city. With the support of her husband, Yasmine has transformed her house into a haven for animals.

On twitter, Yasmine is very vocal on issues centered around but not limited to animals. Her tweets range from hilarious commentary of her life with her furry companions to serious criticism of social systems and corruption in the country.

Daughter of Home Minister of Bengaluru, Ramalinga Reddy, Sowmya completed her degree in Chemical Engineering and then went on to pursue her Masters in Environment Technology from New York Institute of Technology. In college she started an animal rights and environmental group called Sanjeevini and then connected to a wider network in Bengaluru. With years of experience in grass root activism.

Sowmya is one of the most well known animal rights activists in Bengaluru. She is also an ex-member of Animal Welfare Board of India.

After completing her Masters degree in Environment and Ecology from the Indian Institute of Ecology and Environment, Delhi, Nevina decided to work with wildlife. However she soon realized the problem of plentysyndrome with street animals in India. Nobody cared for them and the animals were left on the streets sick, hungry and homeless. That was the time she started her work in animal welfare. But it took her 5-6 years to realize that without working with the municipality one cannot make a significant contribution in improving the condition of the strays.

Nevina conducts various sensitization programs and awareness campaigns in schools and colleges besides working as an on ground animal rescuer.

The Economic Times described her as a Writer by profession and an animal welfare worker by vocationin their article that dates back to 2015, and the line pretty much sums up Anoopa Anand.

Anoopa had grown up surrounded by animals and it was her love for them that made her open a pet sitting service to bring back companionship of animals in her new life, but the realization of the sheer number of animals on the streets who did not get the care they needed led to the transformation of her service “Nanny Woof” into a place for abandoned, abused animals to recover till they find a permanent home. Anoopa has become one of the most trusted animal welfare workers in Bangalore due to her assistance in rescuing , fostering , rehabilitating and re-homing animals in need.

Geeta Seshamani, an English Literature Lecturer at the Delhi university, has been running Friendicoes SECA  (Society for the Eradication of Cruelty to Animals) for almost 30 years.

Geeta’s objective always was to try and help animals in need. Friendicoes SECA provides an animal emergency helpline for dogs, cats and domestic animals.

Geeta Seshamani started working in 1979 with an animal welfare organization called Friendicoes SECA in New Delhi. Her passion is Wildlife Conservation and Research. Geeta has been a Member of the Animal Welfare Board of India, Central Zoo Authority, Government of India and has received several life time achievement awards and felicitations for her work in the field. Geeta established Wildlife SOS, India (wildlifesos.org) in 1995 with Kartick Satyanarayan that runs several projects to support Bear conservation in India including the largest rehabilitation center in the world for sloth bears. She is known for her work in bringing an end to the dancing bearproblem in India while rehabilitating the Kalandar communities through education and alternate livelihoods. She is now focused on tackling Bear conservation issues through biodiversity conservation, protecting sloth bear and black bear habitat and creating bear conservation and education programs to mitigate bear human conflict in India, wherever there is an increase in human-bear conflict.

She has been passionate about animals and their rights since a child. In 2010 she volunteered at a supposedly well-run shelter in Delhi and found the place alarmingly lacking in care and compassion. Having worked with children with HIV for over two decades she applied her experience and knowledge that both children and animals cannot heal and be happy in a joyless place. Her vision is, as it had been with children born with HIV, to create a sanctuary that would be their home. ACGS was designed to be a sanctuary for sick and disabled animals that were not capable of surviving in the wild or on the street until they could either be rehabilitated or adopted.

Ambika Shukla of New Delhi is widely considered one of Asia's leading advocates to protect animals and wildlife. Educated in the United States, she has worked with numerous global organisations such as the World Wildlife Federation in drawing attention to the subject of cruelty to animals. She runs a nonprofit, nonpartisan organisation called People for Animals, which operates animal shelters in virtually all of India's 29 states. Ms Shukla is a popular speaker on the lecture circuit in India, South-east Asia, Europe and the United States.

Have you ever thought what life would be like if we did not have animals in India ?

             Without earthworms, the soil would deteriorate.

             Without butterflies, flowers would disappear.

             Without monkeys and birds, many forest trees would vanish.

             Without turtles, our waters would become polluted.

             Without vultures, carcasses would rot in the fields.

             Without bullocks, transport costs would soar.

             Without donkeys, there would be no mining or construction.

             Without camels, life in the desert would come to a halt.

             Without tigers, forests would be cut faster for fuel.

And without forests, there would be no rain, no rivers and eventually no life.

Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi Each and every species from the bees to the bears forms a protective shield for human life. The quality of our lives depends on them. When we eat them, exploit them, interfere with natural patterns by breeding one kind and killing another, we destroy our own lives. As each species disappears, so does the future of our children.

You can help, you can help us to help. You can form part of the magic circle of love around all life.

People for Animals works to create a kinder, gentler world for all. Formed in 1994, it has transformed animal welfare into an assertive, effective movement across the country. Our members include lawyers, film stars, business leaders, bureaucrats, teachers and students. Our units span the country. Our work ranges from running shelters and ambulances to petitioning and lobbying, training animal owners and police, producing information material and programmes and fund-raising. We have won victories for animals in Court, in Parliament and on the streets - in research laboratories, racecourses, temples, circuses and zoos.

PFA has come to be regarded as one of the strongest animal groups in the world. Recently, when the world's first International Animal Welfare Directory was complied, its UK publishers invited PFA to write the foreword. At home, in 2001 the first Padma Shri Award has gone to a PFA member, Dr. Norma Alvares.

Humans cannot exist without animals. Yet we create a world in which they are abused and misused. Let us recognize the partnership between us and further it for the good of all animals - both on two legs and four.

Protégé of Maneka Gandhi, Gauri Maulekhi is an animal rights activist and a co-opted member of the Animal Welfare Board of India. She started working for People for Animals in Lucknow in 1995 as a volunteer, where she contributed greatly in setting up the first animal shelter in the city. She then joined the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Noida where she worked from 2004 to 2008.

She was part of raids related to cruelty to animals. This is where she also stepped into the legal area of animal rights and welfare. In 2010 she set up People For Animals in Uttarakhand.

Gauri Maulekhi has led multiple successful campaigns for animal rights, the most well known being the campaign against sacrificial slaughtering of cattle. You can follow her on twitter where she expresses her opinion on animal rights issues helping to spread awareness.

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