This is in regard to the aquarium in your premises. We would like to request you to review its existence on moral grounds.
Fishes in captivity are not only robbed of their natural habitats, but they must swim endlessly in the same few cubic inches of water. They are denied the company of their own kind and are forced to share space with fishes of other species. They have to constantly bear human interference, external sounds and lights. And their little voices to communicate with each other get drowned in the noise of pumps and filters. All these factors greatly disturb them physically and emotionally.
We need to keep in mind that fishes, like all other living beings, enjoy freedom and that we have no right to use them as ‘display items’. Moreover, there is every possibility that these fishes have been painted - a process involving the injection of fluorescent colors under their skin to make them look more attractive.
You would set a good example of ethics and being humane by discontinuing this practice once the existing fishes perish.
Subject: Trip to zoo and aquarium
The idea of seeing animals is obviously exciting for children and that is why your school makes the effort to send its students to the zoological park and the marine park.
It is time, however, that we understand the futility of this endeavor both with regard to the impression it creates on young minds and the physical, mental and emotional cruelty it entails on the ‘living exhibits’.
Zoos and aquariums teach children that it is alright to have areas in their city, where wild animals are held captive so that it is convenient for humans to view them.
Sadly, these are baby steps in the wrong direction. It encourages children to keep birds, fishes and rabbits in little prisons and dogs on chains at home.
On the other hand, animals in captivity are not only robbed of their natural surroundings and natural behaviors, but are dependent on human intervention for their food and upkeep of their premises and are also forced to bear the constant sight and sound of visitors. In such conditions, confined animals suffer from physical illnesses, mental trauma and emotional agony.
Thus keeping in view the negative impact on children and the animals, you are kindly requested to reconsider your support to this age-old system, especially now when better tools for education and entertainment are available.
a social justice movement whose time has come
Animals cannot be exploited just because they are innocent, helpless and vulnerable
1. ANIMALS IN THE WILD
1. DEFORESTATION - Clearing forests in the name of progress wipes out the entire population of insects, birds and animals leading to a major loss of bio diversity.
2. ENCROACHMENT - Occupying forest land or converging upon water bodies leads to the shrinking of resource availability to wild animals, birds and fishes as a result of which their population diminishes.
3. MAN ANIMAL CONFLICT - When we encroach, we want to eliminate wild animals that pose a threat to us and so many fall prey to bullets and traps.
4. CRACKERS - Animals get frightened due to the loud sound of crackers and many die due to stress or by burns.
5. KITE FLYING - Birds can get caught in glass coated threads or nylon strings resulting in grave injuries and death.
6. SNAKE FEEDING - When milk is poured on the snakes, it tends to go into their eyes and lungs leaving them to die slow, painful deaths.
7. MONKEY FEEDING - Since the food we feed them is processed and contains sugar, monkeys suffer from skin ailments and diabetes. And very often, they get crushed under moving vehicles when they come onto the roads to collect dropped food.
8. COMMUNITY DOGS - These are dogs that were brought from the wild to guard human settlements, but with time were left on the streets. They are now the most unwanted, uncared and unloved animals.
2. ANIMALS WE USE
1. EXPERIMENTATION - Animals are unnecessarily used and killed for dissection and vivisection when such experiments are often not required or not applicable to humans.
2. WORK - Animals used for work suffer from acute physical and mental pain and tend to die prematurely.
3. ENTERTAINMENT - Whether confined in zoos or aquariums, made to perform in circuses or races, or used for fights or rides, animals undergo immense physical and emotional trauma and face unnatural death.
4. PETS - Dogs, cats, rabbits, fishes, birds and other animals kept as 'pets' are confined to small enclosures and remain at the mercy of their 'owners'.
5. PRODUCTS - It is not possible to derive something from a living being without causing pain or death, like in the case of leather, wool, silk and honey.
6. FOOD - Billions of animals used in the dairy, egg and meat industries are treated with utter disregard as nothing more than machines and killed prematurely.
Kindly give due consideration to the following issues, and if applicable to the school, please ensure that necessary steps are taken:
1. Experiments on animals should not be conducted. Students can be taught through cruelty free methods.
Thousands of living beings are forced to undergo painful, terrifying and deadly procedures that are often of no value.
Experiments performed on animals are easily replaceable by computer simulations, films, charts and lifelike models.
2. Field trips to the zoo and aquarium must be discouraged. Students can instead be taken to the local animal shelter.
The harm done is both with regard to the impression it creates on young minds and the physical, mental and emotional pain it entails for the 'living exhibits'.
Zoos and aquariums teach children that it is alright to have areas in their city where wild animals are held captive so that it is convenient for humans to view them. It builds a disregard and disrespect to the basic right to freedom that all living beings are entitled to.
And animals kept in captivity are not only deprived of their natural surroundings and natural behaviors, but are dependent on human intervention for their food and upkeep of their premises. They are also forced to bear the constant sight and sound of visitors. In such conditions, confined animals suffer from physical illnesses, mental trauma and emotional agony.
Animal shelters where old, orphaned, sick or injured animals are looked after provide children an opportunity to volunteer if they so wish. In any case, it helps arouse feelings of compassion and empathy that are so important.
3. Pet animals need not be kept in school premises. Students can learn to enjoy wild animals.
Similar to zoos and aquariums, rabbits and birds are confined in small cages and fishes restricted in tanks as 'display items'. These innocent beings are held captive against their wish and deprived of physical activities and emotional stimulation. They generally die prematurely due to neglect or stress.
Birds, butterflies, squirrels and other small animals often face difficulty in finding enough water to drink, especially in the hot months. Making children place bowls with fresh water everyday can be a fun activity and will give them a sense of responsibility towards those who need help. Planting fruit trees and flowering shrubs besides attracting the fauna for food and shelter, is a good step towards a healthy environment.
4. Community dogs cannot be poisoned or relocated. Students can get involved with the Sterilization program and the aftercare of these animals.
Though street dogs are considered a menace by us, but they too suffer. Many young pups get crushed by vehicles or die due to harsh weather conditions. There are many dogs that contract painful skin infections or rabies.
In case there are dogs on the school premises, the municipal corporation can be contacted for their Animal Birth Control program. The process that is followed is called CNVR - Catch, Neuter, Vaccinate, Release. In other words, the dogs will be picked by professional catchers, will be sterilized and vaccinated against rabies and brought back to the same premises because dogs are territorial animals. Since they will now be the last generation, children can ensure that they are treated well till they live.
5. No injured, sick, abused or abandoned animal must go unreported. Students should have access to a helpline.
Animals suffer due to natural conditions or manmade circumstances and their condition cannot improve unless action is taken.
For timely veterinary care or strict implementation of law, children can contact or ask adults to call
Wildlife Sanctuary, local municipal corporation, Police or an NGO
6. Leather shoes must be completely discouraged. Students can wear shoes made of canvas or other cruelty free materials.
It is unlikely that students wear shoes made of pure leather, but awareness regarding how leather is sourced and its impact on the workers and environment is helpful. Leather is the finished product of the skin of animals. To keep its texture soft, animals are often skinned while still alive. The skin of young animals sells at a premium because of its tenderness. Besides the acute cruelty that it involves, leather manufacturing has a detrimental effect on the health of the workers in the tanneries where it is processed. The toxic fumes are known to cause breathing difficulties and lung cancer and handling raw carcasses results in acute skin infections. The runoff from the tanneries pollutes the water to such a large extent that it becomes impossible to use that water for drinking or irrigation purposes.
Shoes made of materials other than leather are inexpensive, comfortable and eco friendly. In making the world a better place, children can make cruelty free choices like these.
7. Plastic bags should be strictly banned. Students can use bags made of paper, cloth, jute and other eco friendly materials.
Plastic chokes marine animals and finds its way into the stomachs of street animals that live on garbage. Being non biodegradable, plastic has been one of the biggest human disasters as far as even environment is concerned.
Carry bags made of materials other than plastic are economical, durable and easily available. It gives children a sense of responsibility if they are allowed to make informed decisions regarding the future of the planet.
8. The school canteen or the midday meal can easily avoid animal based foods. Students must be offered healthy vegan food, fruits, juices and soy milk.
It is unlikely that the canteen or the midday meal has non vegetarian food. The use of dairy products is also avoidable since new studies are pointing to how unnatural and undesirable it is for the human body to consume an animal's milk other than from its own species and in an age other than infancy. To be lactose intolerant is quite common and symptoms include bloating, diarrhea and vomiting. Consumption of milk is being linked to many diseases today because of the rampant and unchecked contamination and adulteration.
Domesticated animals suffer from physiological, physical and emotional trauma due to genetic manipulation, cross breeding, artificial insemination, administration of antibiotics and hormones and harsh living conditions.
Plant based foods are rich in proteins, minerals, unsaturated fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and fiber and the combination of grains, pulses, seeds, vegetables, fruits, nuts and milks provide all the nutrients that growing children need. Omitting meat, eggs and dairy ensures the exclusion of cholesterol and saturated fat which are leading causes of blocked arteries. And billions of animals will be saved from exploitation.
The school can continue to teach compassion towards animals through poster making and essay writing competitions, debates and other activities:
Animal related days that can be celebrated include:
Earth Day - April 22
World Environment Day - June 5
Farmed Animals Day - October 2
World Vegan Day - November 1
Animal Rights Day - December 10
Following local issues can be used to highlight animal abuse:
1. Encroachment at Gharana and other bird sanctuaries
2. Leopards (victims of man-animal conflict) at Wildlife Sanctuary, Manda
3. Monkeys on the National Highway
4. Snakes with snake charmers
5. Horses and donkeys used for work
6. Mules used for transport at Katra
7. Horses used for marriage processions at Canal Road
8. Mohini, the elephant used for rides and begging
9. Camels used for rides at Mubarak Mandi
10. Fish aquarium at Bahu Fort
11. Pet dogs in chains at homes
12. Birds, rabbits and fishes at pet shops
13. Chickens in cages outside butcher shops
Here are some pointers for your kind reference:
Well known organizations that are active for animals:
People For Animals (PFA)
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
Federation of Indian Animals Protection Organizations (FIAPO)
The government agency that looks after the interest of animals:
Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI)
The laws that cover wild, domestic and pet animals fall under:
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act
Draft Pet Shop Act
Kindly mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information, feedback or participation by your school