Remember Working Animals This Christmas, Says PETA

For Immediate Release:
23 December 2008

Anna Sargent 020 7357 9229, ext 228; [email protected]

London – With the holidays upon us, compassionate people are reaching out to help others. And, while some charities have programmes intended to help the poor overseas, some of the hardest hit victims of poverty go unnoticed. Without these particular individuals, however, people would be lost: the donkeys, horses, bullocks and other animals who work long hours, carrying back-breaking loads and often becoming lame and exhausted as they help impoverished villagers survive. That’s why PETA is urging people to help sustain Animal Rahat, a unique programme that provides desperately needed medical care and other aid to working animals in India.

Animal Rahat, which means “animal relief” in Hindi, provides rest, food, water, sunshades and free medical care to lame, sick, injured and exhausted animals who spend their days hauling heavy loads from brick kilns and mills. The organisation was started with the help of an English woman who grew up in India. The animals’ owners are too poor to afford even the most basic nutrients that the animals require to stay strong and healthy, let alone pay for veterinary services, even in emergencies.

Animal Rahat has also created a retirement programme to offer owners an alternative to sending their animals to slaughter. The programme allows bullocks and donkeys to live out the rest of their lives with the families who care for them.

“These animals work tirelessly and never get a break, even when it’s 41°C, even when ill-fitting wooden harnesses create wounds on their shoulders, even when they are lame”, says PETA India’s founder, Ingrid E Newkirk. “Animal Rahat’s assistance means a world of difference to the villagers who have so little and the animals who have nothing.”

PETA also recommends that, instead of sponsoring a goat or cow to be sent overseas, donors consider supporting vegetarian hunger-relief charities, including The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation and Food for Life Global, which provides nourishing, regionally produced food for refugees and the homeless.

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