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November 28, 2012

HSI and His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama Call for Kindness to Animals, Marking the Launch of New Affiliate Organization in India

HSUS and HSI, working with Mumbai-based Pritish Nandy Communications, bring Bollywood flair to World Compassion Day celebration

  • Wayne Pacelle and the Dalai Lama both spoke out against global animal cruelty at World Compassion Day. Lisa Fletcher

Humane Society International announced the official launch of its office in India at an event in Mumbai featuring His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who spoke movingly about compassion for animals and the responsibility that all of us have to act with intentionality in protecting them from human-caused cruelty. His Holiness, who has in the past spoken against factory farming and other forms of cruelty, participated in a panel discussion on animals, efforts to combat institutionalized cruelty and India’s increasingly organized and determined animal welfare community.

“Animals deserve our compassion,” His Holiness said. “We must know their pain. We should nurture this compassion through education. Showing concern about animal rights is respecting their life.” 

An audience of about 200 heard the Dalai Lama speak, as well as remarks by Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS; Andrew Rowan, president and CEO of HSI; animal advocate Pritish Nandy; Bollywood superstar Anil Kapoor; and author Chetan Bhagat.

“There are remarkable people who have embraced the cause of protecting animals, but few with the moral authority and conviction of His Holiness the Dalai Lama," Pacelle said. "His presence today provides an emotional and spiritual lift to our efforts to elevate animal welfare campaigns and activities in the subcontinent of India."

Kapoor, known to American audiences for his roles in “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” and the Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire,” said: “No one needs to sleep hungry, let alone die of starvation. Yet tens of thousands of children sleep hungry each night because the grains that could nourish these children [goes] not into their bellies, but the bellies of the cows, pigs and chickens that form an essential part of a non-vegetarian diet. A desire to eat meat is no more inherently valuable than the right of some our brothers and sisters who don’t eat at all. Our prosperity, enjoyment and progress are only deeply valued when they do not come at the expense of others.”

HSI India will be headquartered in Hyderabad (focused on factory farming and ending animal testing for cosmetics), have its veterinary training center in Jaipur, and operate an Asia-wide street dog management program. 

HSI and HSUS invite everyone to take part in World Compassion Day. Show compassion for animals through everyday actions:

  • Animal Fur:  Don’t buy clothing and other products made with animal fur. Abuses in the fur trade have been well-documented, including raccoon dogs skinned alive, bobcats and other animals spending hours or days caught in steel traps, and pet dogs and cats injured or killed in these same traps.

  • Animal Fighting: Do not patronize animal fights involving dogs, bulls, cocks or other animals. They cause immense suffering to the animals and are illegal in many places. Support efforts to set meaningful penalties for animal fighting. 
     
  • Cosmetics tested on animals: Choose cosmetics that are not tested on animals, urge the government to ban cosmetic testing on animals and the sale of cosmetic products tested on animals. 
     
  • Spay/Neuter: Always spay/neuter your companion animals and urge your local municipality to support spay/neuter programs that benefit both people and animals. Become a street dog defender to help dogs in need of care and veterinary treatment in the developing world.
     
  • Adopt. Don’t buy: Consider adopting an animal from a shelter. Many dogs, birds and other pets offered for sale are mass-produced in large, inhumane breeding facilities. 
     
  • Dolphinariums: The more we learn about marine mammals, the more troubling it becomes to keep these complex, intelligent creatures in tanks and pens for our amusement. Don't swim with dolphins, and think twice before attending a marine mammal show.
     
  • Wildlife: In many parts of the world, illegal wildlife trade is linked to violence, drugs and organized crime. Methods used to capture animals for trade may be terribly cruel, and may threaten populations or entire species with extinction. Don’t support the illegal wildlife trade. Report poaching. Make your opposition to wildlife trade known to traders, travel agents and authorities in countries or regions you visit. Don’t keep wild animals as pets.
     
  • Farm animals: Billions of egg-laying hens, pregnant sows, and other farm animals are confined in small cages or crates, or other crowded and barren environments, in industrialized animal production facilities (factory farms) around the world. Each of us can make a difference for these animals every time we sit down to eat by switching to higher-welfare animal products, such as cage-free eggs, and significantly reducing our consumption of animals by choosing more plant-based foods.

 ***Photos are available through the media contact below

Media Contact: Rebecca Basu: 240-753-4875, rbasu@humanesociety.org

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