Animal Relief during Tsunami

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Update on the Tsunami relief work

With the help of Mr. G. Dhanapalan, Secretary of the Nagaipattinam SPCA, the fodder and grass distribution to the cattle in the relief camps and elsewhere was carried on as required till the end of February. If found necessary, fodder and grass will be arranged for whenever required. The Animal Husbandry Department has been providing this free of cost – it costs us about Rs.1,700 for the labour to form the hay and grass into bundles and for the tractor/lorry hire charges for a day.

The dogs picked up following the tsunami have been retained in our shelters. They are not kept in kennels, but run around freely in open. We are over-crowded, but this is inevitable. Three of the animals which had litters in the month of January are doing well – the first batch of pups have been rehomed when they were six to seven weeks old.

An additional cattery to hold about 30 kittens and a few adults is almost complete at our Guindy center. A few improvements at the center are also being made to facilitate cleaning and we are planning to put up a waste water treatment plant so that much of the water can be re-used for the kennel cleaning. At present, we are purchasing water in tankers to make up for the shortfall since we do not get enough supply from our wells.

WSPA have committed funds for a two-year project for a mobile clinic service in and around Nagaipattinam. An Animal Birth Control – Anti Rabies programme (ABC-AR) is being planned with this and we hope to inaugurate this by April 15 – Tamil New Years Day. We are hoping to set up a similar programme at Cuddalore.

Dr. Vishnu Sneller of the Centre for Disease Control in the US has also promised help by way of volunteers etc for Nagapattinam’s ABC programme.

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Olive Ridley turtle rescued and rehabilitated

On Friday February 25, we received a call from the Police Control Room that a “large tortoise” was in the area of the Marina swimming pool on the beach. Our ambulance rushed to the spot and picked up an olive ridley with some head injuries. After treatment at our Guindy center, this was taken by us to the Forest Department’s Zoo at Vandalur. The Zoo checked its injuries and, after treatment, asked us to release it back in the sea since they could not keep it.

On Saturday, along with a person from the Forest Department, the olive ridley was taken to the sea at Marina. Accompanied by the Police, the turtle was taken in a catamaran and gently released in the sea a few hundred feet from the shore.

On Sunday Feb 27, we received a call from the Forest Department asking for our ambulance to rescue a turtle which was sigted near the light house at Santhome. We picked up the animal and found it was the same olive ridley.

We brought her back to our shelter at Guindy and Dr. Priya Govind rushed over. She felt that the turtle was not in any danger but asked us to keep her in a large tank for observation. The tank was filled with sea water and Ms. Ridley stayed with us till Tuesday. Mr. Romulus Whitaker – the snake man – visited her and felt we should release her back as soon as possible. After Priya Govind concurred, the turtle was taken in our ambulance. The help of the Coast Guard was requested and they readily agreed to take her into the sea and release her. On Tuesday afternoon, the olive ridley was taken to the Chennai Port in our ambulance, loaded onto a large trolley and taken on board Coast Guard Vessel 069. The vessel was taken about three kilometers into the sea and the turtle released with Dr. Priya Govind watching. After being satisfied that the olive ridley was safe, the vessel returned.

Sri Lanka Dog Programme

Several vets from India who volunteered their services to go to Sri Lanka to help the Sri Lanka People Animal Coalition led by Robert Blumberg visited Sri Lanka for two weeks each in January and February. The funds for this were made available by Animal People and costs were kept to a minimum thabks to the help of Jet Airways who gave us three tickets free of charge and Sahara Airways who gave a 50% concession for tsunami relief volunteers.

Sherry Grant of HIS was in charge of the operations at Arugum Bay and at the relief camps far south of Colombo. With the help of dog catchers from Yudisthra Street Dog Foundation, Bali and vets and vet nurses from India, Thailand, Bali, the USA and other countries, hundreds of dogs have been sterilized and over 12,000 dogs have been vaccinated against rabies in less than two months. Unfounded fears of a rabies outbreak following the tsunami led to moves to slaughter these dogs and it was only the timely efforts of the Coalition and HIS and other groups that stopped it by undertaking this massive exercise.

The vets from India benefited greatly from this, too. Since same-day spay and release was being done, the vets were able to see for themselves that this could indeed be done provided necessary care was taken to maintain aseptic conditions during the operations and care taken to suture the incisions properly.

Vets from the Blue Cross, Vishaka SPCA, CUPA and Animal Aid Unlimited participated.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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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