Founder of Blue Cross of India

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Captain Sundaram
Founder of the Blue Cross of India

It all started one rainy day in 1959 when Captain Sundaram couldn't just walk away from the two pups struggling to stay afloat in the flooded roads of T Nagar. He took them home and that gesture marked the beginning of Blue Cross, the animal shelter in his house which at one stage had 60 cats, dogs, goats, bandicoots and also a pair of baby mongooses!

 

Captain Sundaram, born on April 22nd, 1916,had always wanted to care for animals. In his own words, "God had given me so much that I thought I ought to do something in return. There are so many charitable institutions for human beings, but so few for animals. "With full-fledged support from his family (his wife Usha and the children built the first few kennels with their own hands), he was soon rescuing and sheltering animals in his T Nagar residence till 1968,when Blue Cross was shifted to its own premises at Adyar.

 

founder1Captain Sundaram started his career as a pilot, and was an instructor at the Madras Flying Club.  After training in England he returned to India and trained British and American pilots during the war before joining Tata Airlines in 1945.During his tenure as the Mysore Maharaja's pilot with his wife Usha as his co-pilot, he had the privilege of flying Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhai Patel from 1945 to 1951.He enjoyed an accident-free flying record in his 35 yrs as a pilot. He and Usha set a world record for flying a De Havilland Dove from London to Madras in 27hrs.This record for piston-engined aircraft remains unbroken till today.

 

It was a well-known fact amongst the pilots that Captain Sundaram would keep circling around till the stray animals were cleared off the runway. He once saw a magnificent cobra in his path as he was taxiing for takeoff and rather than run over it, he hopped across, whizzed just a few cms. above its hood and continued on his way. This incident made headlines the next day! 

 

As a staunch crusader against cruelty to animals, he has been instrumental in stopping several animal sacrifices, including a horse sacrifice in Colombo in Jan 1986 and one in Harihar in May 1986. He also organised many seminars against vivisection, cruel and crude methods of killing animals and has strived to spread awareness on animal welfare. He was a member of the Executive committee of the Animal Welfare Board of India till the end of 1987.

 

In recognition of his tireless efforts in championing the cause of animals, he won the Queen Victoria Medal from the RSPCA in 1964, the Watamull Foundation Award from the USA in 1987, Silver medals from the Madras SPCA and the Mylapore Academy, a Distinguished Service Award from the Rotary club of South Madras and was posthumously awarded the Prani Mitra Award recently by Shri Krishan Kant, Vice President of India.

 

Captain Sundaram insisted on free treatment for all animals so that none of them would be denied medication due to lack of money. He dipped into his own reserves during the early days of running the shelter, using his car as the first ambulance by fixing a cage on top and always rushed to the rescue of injured animals, even in the middle of the night or at the other end of the city. It is only apt that Blue Cross today stands as the largest animal shelter in India, as well as Asia, symbolising the love and care that he showed towards these voiceless animals.

 

With his passing away on the 31st of May 1997, his four-legged friends suffer an irreparable loss of a true lover and saviour of animals. But the legacy of love and compassion towards animals that Captain Sundaram left behind will go on forever.

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Animals can suffer like humans do, so it is speciesism to experiment on them while we refrain from experimenting on humans. All suffering is undesirable, whether it be in humans or animals. Discriminating against animals because they do not have the cognitive ability, language, or moral judgment that humans do is no more justifiable than discriminating against human beings with severe mental impairments. As English philosopher Jeremy Bentham wrote in the 1700s, "The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?"

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Animal tests do not reliably predict results in human beings. 94% of drugs that pass animal tests fail in human clinical trials. According to neurologist Aysha Akhtar, MD, MPH, over 100 stroke drugs that were effective when tested on animals have failed in humans, and over 85 HIV vaccines failed in humans after working well in non-human primates. A 2013 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) found that nearly 150 clinical trials of treatments to reduce inflammation in critically ill patients have been undertaken, and all of them failed, despite being successful in animal tests. A 2013 study in Archives of Toxicology stated that "The low predictivity of animal experiments in research areas allowing direct comparisons of mouse versus human data puts strong doubt on the usefulness of animal data as key technology to predict human safety."

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Drugs that pass animal tests are not necessarily safe. The 1950s sleeping pill thalidomide, which caused 10,000 babies to be born with severe deformities, was tested on animals prior to its commercial release. Animal tests on the arthritis drug Vioxx showed that it had a protective effect on the hearts of mice, yet the drug went on to cause more than 27,000 heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths before being pulled from the market.

Help Blue Cross of India to be the voice for the voiceless. Help us to support rescued and abandoned. Send us your donation to:

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Animals are very different from human beings and therefore make poor test subjects. The anatomic, metabolic, and cellular differences between animals and people make animals poor models for human beings. Paul Furlong, Professor of Clinical Neuroimaging at Aston University (UK), states that "it's very hard to create an animal model that even equates closely to what we're trying to achieve in the human." Thomas Hartung, Professor of evidence-based toxicology at Johns Hopkins University, argues for alternatives to animal testing because "we are not 70 kg rats."

Help Blue Cross of India to be the voice for the voiceless. Help us to support rescued and abandoned. Send us your donation to:

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Stop Animal testing!
Use alternative testing methods!

Alternative testing methods now exist that can replace the need for animals. In vitro (in glass) testing, such as studying cell cultures in a petri dish, can produce more relevant results than animal testing because human cells can be used. Microdosing, the administering of doses too small to cause adverse reactions, can be used in human volunteers, whose blood is then analyzed. Artificial human skin, such as the commercially available products EpiDerm and ThinCert, is made from sheets of human skin cells grown in test tubes or plastic wells and can produce more useful results than testing chemicals on animal skin. Microfluidic chips ("organs on a chip"), which are lined with human cells and recreate the functions of human organs, are in advanced stages of development. Computer models, such as virtual reconstructions of human molecular structures, can predict the toxicity of substances without invasive experiments on animals.

Help Blue Cross of India to be the voice for the voiceless. Help us to support rescued and abandoned. Send us your donation to:

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Important Information : Telephone line and Power supply down at Blue Cross of India , In the process of digging for Metro-water work happening on the road to Blue Cross they have cut the electrical and telephone cables . As a result of this we don't have any power supply and are running on Genset power intermittently. Also the telephone lines are down so temporarily no one is able to get in touch with us. Kindly bear with us till the situation is sorted out . We will update as soon as this is rectified. ... See MoreSee Less

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