A year after launch of ‘Care for Cattle’, an initiative by a group of animal rights activists, to feed and protect stray animals after realising that their source of food was cut off amid the lockdown, the volunteers are, at present, desperately looking for alternatives due to closure of meat shops.
Initiated by G. V. Karthik, an animal rights activist, the group of around 180 volunteers had been feeding more than 500 dogs per day. Mr. Karthik, on his part, has been feeding about 15 to 20 street dogs in his neighbourhood. The main source of food for street dogs is usually street stalls and tea shops. With none of them functioning, the dogs go hungry. “We pitched our idea to M. Sekaran, Chairman, Citizens Forum who welcomed it. With his help we were able to scale up our efforts,” he said.
Each volunteer feeds at least 20 dogs, and together, the group cover the street dogs across the city. Rice is donated by well-wishers, while chicken and meat waste is purchased from the stalls for a small price, taken from the donations that the group receives.
However, the group has now come across a new roadblock. The intensified lockdown, which began on Monday does not allow for meat shops to function. “We are seeing if we can provide milk or curd rice with eggs, but it will work out to be more expensive. Another idea is to feed them milk and biscuits at least, because they will not get any food for the next week,” he said.
Mr. Karthik believes that the sole aim of the group is to spread the information that we must respect the animals’ existence. “We do not own the earth, we share it with all other living things, and we must remember that,” he said.
As many as 110 cement tubs have also been placed outside the residences of people who allow it. The residents agree to pour water in the tub for stray animals so that they can quench their thirst, especially during summer months. “When they start giving the animals water, that is when they realise they need food. They begin to place gruel, and leftover rice into the buckets too,” he said.
The group also aims to create a ‘Cattle Home’ in the city, where stray animals can be housed. “This way, we will prevent roadkills and stray animals would get a permanent home, where they can get food and water,” Mr. Karthik said. He also plans to reach out to school children so that they can take part in the initiative.