Over five thousand years ago, the earth was hit by the worst plague ever. It was a plague called “humans”. The initial symptoms were merely taking over lands and killing animals for food. However, in the last few centuries, we started killing for our wants rather than our needs. And over time, we started doing it for fun and now, just because we can.
In recent times, the newspapers all over India spoke about the heinous act of killing stray dogs across the country. In cities like Hyderabad, several of them were poisoned and some were even buried alive. For what fault of theirs?
Simply because humans are the “superior species”. And, for us to take over every bit of the planet, we started felling trees and killing animals.
This is merely the plight of dogs. Think of the other animals, which upon disease or old age, are shamelessly abandoned. Horses, cows, dogs, and cats are only a few of those animals. Is it their fault that they grew old or contracted an ailment? At that point, humans look at the easiest options. Abandon, abuse or euthanize them, because taking care of an innocent animal is below them. All these animals ever need is some love and care.
In a world where nearly everyone is busy scrolling through the Facebook feed and being a keypad warrior, one woman is striving to make a difference for our fellow inhabitants. Meet Shiranee Pereira. An animal lover, activist and now the co-founder of People For Humans, Chennai Chapter.
Here is the story of how a woman committed her life to animals. Read on.
Before we go into details, one quick piece of information. Until 1995, we had a solution for stray dogs. In Chennai, 20,000 dogs were doused in saltwater and electrocuted each year. Why is this information important?
Shiranee was the person instrumental in banning this practice. On September 25, 1995, Shiranee saw her first victory with the banning of electrocution.
As of today, millions of animals have had their lives saved and the unsung hero is Shiranee.
Born into a family that is full of animal lovers, Shiranee grew up with 17 cats! While her brother often rescued cats and brought them home, Shiranee was the one to nurse them. Seeing the number of cats in the house, her father went one step ahead and took over an abandoned property, which was converted into a shelter for animals. Coming from a family that was against the ill-treatment of animals, Shiranee went on to get a doctrine in aquatic biology. And, from that point, she went beyond merely providing care and a roof. She started to fight for animal rights. In 1994, Shiranee became the co-founder of People For Animals (PFA), Chennai Chapter.
Having chosen not to mother human children, she finds her solace in being a mother to over eight hundred animals. Her evening walk to check on her kids and put them to bed is her favorite part of her day.
Animals Need Love. Not Experiments
Of her several missions, one that she has laid immense focus on is in the battle against laboratory testing on animals.
One of the most impacting moments in her life was when a pregnant mare was injected with an anti-snake venom serum. This serum led the mare to die of bleeding. Despite all the agony, the mare gave birth to an extremely weak foal—Nickle. Shiranee adopted Nickle, who was the first horse in her shelter.
Shiranee is the member of Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals, and here, she helped in the passing of guidelines for the treatment of equines (horses) that are used as laboratory animals. Another guideline she helped pass was in 2014, which focused predominantly on restricting the use and rehab of dogs.
Encouraged by the success of these guidelines, a new initiative came to life — Project D.O.N.T, standing for “Dogs Are Not For Testing”.
Based on this project, Shiranee’s team is working on finding methods to improve the accuracy and prediction of a drug’s toxicity using artificial intelligence. PFA went on to collaborate with John Hopkin’s University, U.S.A. and IBM for this project. Once this project reaches fruition, the lives of several million animals will be changed forever.
Animal Retirement Home
The Chennai PFA is spread over a land of nearly four acres, where old and diseased animals are taken care of by Shiranee and several volunteers. One of the biggest challenges that she faces is getting people to care for animals. And, her battle is not about to stop anytime soon.
As of today, the PFA, Chennai is home to hundreds of dogs, over a hundred cats, 185 cattle, goats, and 27 horses. And, that is merely one of the many feathers on Shiranee’s cap. Does she think the animals should be thankful to her?
Shiranee is thankful to the animals for giving her a place full of her happiest memories.
Isn’t it weird that people need to be taught to live with animals, while technically, we have stolen the planet from them? We took away their habitats, cut down the trees and left them homeless. Now, we are killing them because they exist and because we can. It isn’t long before the tables can turn back at us. We are but only one of the 8.7 million species on the earth.
What happens when Mother Earth and all other species have had enough? Just food for thought.
Banner Image Credits: Facebook
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