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Meet PETA’s in-House Teacher: Puja Mahajan

Written by PETA

Posted 12-22-2014, 10:34 AM

Hi! Let me introduce myself: I’m Puja Mahajan, PETA India’s senior education coordinator. For many years, I’ve used my master’s degree in business administration – with a focus in marketing and finance – from the Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies–Pune to work in the corporate and development sectors.

Seven years ago, I decided to use my skills for what I consider to be one of the most important social-justice issues of our time: animal rights. Working for PETA is a dream come true! By using the skills and experience that I gained from my education and those I picked up from my mother – who’s a teacher at Delhi Public School RK Puram – as well as my passion for helping animals, I help bring animal rights to the classroom through PETA India’s humane-education programme, Compassionate Citizen.

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Research in psychology and criminology shows that people who commit acts of cruelty to animals often go on to commit violent acts against their fellow humans. Therefore, teaching young kids to be kind and compassionate towards animals is one way of helping them develop empathy for – and reject violence against – all beings, including humans. And that’s exactly what Compassionate Citizen does! Designed for children ages 8 through 12, it takes after PETA US’ internationally renowned Share the World programme. Compassionate Citizen is available to all schools and provides educators with lesson plans that can be used in the language arts, science, social studies and moral or value education curricula upon their request – all for FREE.

As much as I love networking with government officials to get the Compassionate Citizen programme officially incorporated into school curricula, I enjoy working directly with the kids the most! And I routinely conduct workshops for children and teachers at their schools.

Here I am in the field helping students better understand and appreciate animals:

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As of today, Compassionate Citizen has already been voluntarily used in nearly 23,000 private and government schools across India, reaching an estimated 4.6 million students! Not to mention the fact that the programme has been endorsed by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) as well as the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). States endorsing Compassionate Citizen include Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Delhi, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Don’t have the programme in your school? Teachers, write to Info@compassionatecitizen.org to get a free copy of the Compassionate Citizen Education pack. Get started teaching compassion today!

 

The Worst Christmas Gift Ever

Written by PETA

Posted 12-21-2014, 12:21 PM

The holiday season is a time filled with festive cheer and carols – usually followed by a flood of dogs and cats taken to animal shelters.

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That’s because after all the hustle and bustle – after discovering the cute little puppy under the tree wearing a big red bow – come the puddles on the floor, the dog walks in the middle of the night, the chewed-up shoes and the vet bills. So when the kids, who pleaded, “I’ll take care of Raja every day – I promise“, are too busy playing their new video games to care for their new puppy, he gets tossed aside.

Puppies need a stay-at-home person to housetrain them properly (they can’t “hold it” all day) and that includes multiple walks every day, even when it’s hot, cold or pouring down rain outside.

Both puppies and kittens need lots of patience and understanding as well as room to grow both physically and mentally, and money will need to be set aside for sterilisation surgery as well as for all the shots, worming, grooming, food, medicine and toys they’ll need.

People who give animals as gifts are essentially sticking about 15 years’ and thousands of rupees’ worth of responsibility under the Christmas tree. Does that sound festive?

If an adult family member or friend is genuinely ready and willing to adopt an animal, wait until the holiday hoopla is over and offer to accompany him or her to your local animal shelter, where you can help pick out a wonderful companion for life, not just for Christmas.

A ‘Jingle’ About Christmas Stocking Stuffers

Written by PETA

Posted 12-20-2014, 11:14 AM

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‘Twas the week before Christmas, and I searched all through the mall for gifts that don’t cause a creature to suffer, not even a mouse.

My family’s stockings were hung by the TV console with care. They were expecting me to find just what they wanted this year.

But never fear – I found enough great goodies to put everyone in good cheer.

For my niece, I got a pleather bag from Ecowings, footwear from Senso Vegetarian Shoes and a belt from Baggit.

Dangit! Nothing rhymes with Baggit.

I got cruelty-free personal-care products from The Nature’s Co, Trumount Cosmoceuticals and Aloe Veda to complete her stylish look, and then for my nephew, I got Committed: A Rabble-Rouser’s Memoir, a really great book.

I also picked up vegan goodies from QC Bakers Street, Nutty Peanut Butter, Clean Planet, C4 Chocolates and Staeta for him to enjoy when he visits, as I’m not the best cook.

My neighbour has a young son, so I made a stocking for him, too. It’s filled with fun movies, including Finding Nemo, Chicken Run and Delhi Safari.

For myself, I bought a vegan purple iPad cover from Princesse K – and nothing more, as I’m sure that Santa will bring me the Omved and Future Skin products that I want on Christmas day.

Now I must bid you a happy and humane holiday. (I really need to relax after all this shopping and attempted rhyming.)

 

‘Gay’ Bull Spared Slaughter, Thanks to Sam Simon

Written by PETA

Posted 12-18-2014, 10:38 AM

With help from The Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon, Benjy – an Irish bull previously slated for slaughter because of his reported sexual orientation – made it to the Hillside Animal Sanctuary in the UK on Sunday, where he’ll breathe fresh air, graze freely and never again face the threat of imminent slaughter. PETA Foundation UK and PETA US had approached Simon for help in saving the bull.

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Simon helped make Benjy’s rescue possible. “I believe in compassion and empathy for all living beings – regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation or species. That’s why when PETA UK told me about ‘Benjy, the gay bull’, I felt compelled to help”, he said. “All animals have a dire destiny in the meat and dairy industries, but for Benjy to have been killed because of his sexual orientation would have been a double tragedy.”

“My health won’t allow me to travel to the UK to see Benjy in his new home, but it thrills me to know that his fate is a sanctuary rather than a sandwich, and I know the folks at PETA UK … will keep me updated on his progress”, says Simon.

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Simon also hopes Benjy’s story will inspire others to help animals: “While it will be a happy holiday season for Benjy, it won’t be for the millions of other animals on farms living in their own filth, denied everything that is natural and important to them”, says Simon. “I’d encourage anyone moved by Benjy’s plight to help other animals like him by choosing to leave all animals off their plates and opt for a vegan Christmas dinner.”

Inspired? Order your free vegan starter kit today.

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Rohan Bopanna Gives Roosters Something to Crow About

Written by PETA

Posted 12-17-2014, 11:25 AM

Yesterday, Rohan Bopanna caged himself as part of PETA India’s campaign against cockfighting.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of India ruled in favour of PETA India against the cruel use of animals in certain so-called “sports”, making it clear that the “person-in-charge or care of the animal shall not incite any animal to fight against a human being or another animal”.

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Cockfights are also illegal under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, but are still organised in some parts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and elsewhere. Bopanna aims to stop this cruelty.

Roosters raised for fighting are often confined to cramped cages and tormented during training. Razor-sharp spurs are attached to the birds’ feet to make the fights more “exciting” (i.e., bloodier). The birds commonly sustain broken wings and legs, punctured lungs, severed spinal cords and gouged-out eyes. Those who survive are forced to fight again.

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The event, which was held at The Park Bangalore hotel offered a yummy vegan spread for journalists. Did you know that you can get 10 per cent off delicious vegan food at The Park’s restaurant, Monsoon – as well as a number of other restaurants – with PETA’s free V-card? Order yours now!

How You Can Help Roosters
If you hear about a scheduled cockfight, please notify the police or a local animal-protection organisation and write to us at WhistleBlower@petaindia.org.

The Great Vegan Dessert Challenge Winners

Written by PETA

Posted 12-16-2014, 10:33 AM

Vegan desserts are clearly in! PETA’s first-ever Great Vegan Dessert Challenge saw many impressive entries, including delicious cookies, cakes and tarts, all made without eggs, dairy products or any other ingredients derived from animals.

With 10 excellent finalists, choosing the best was a difficult task, but your votes to help PETA decide who it should pick have been counted, and our judges have made up their minds.

The winner is … the Very Vegan Kulfi by Gayle D’Souza!

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Leena Mathai came in second with her Vegan Tiramisù and Raspberry Cupcakes.

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In third place was the yummy-looking Oreo Cake by Shreyas Mogre.

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Have a go at making these delicious desserts yourself, and feel free to contact us if you have questions about any of the recipes.

Thanks to everyone who entered and to the hundreds of dessert fans who voted to help us decide whose recipe we should choose as the winner. Winners were chosen based on several factors, including vote count. See full contest details here.

If you want to learn more about vegan living, order our free vegan starter kit here:

Vegetarian Starter Kit

PETA India Names Its Man and Woman of the Year

Written by PETA

Posted 12-13-2014, 10:58 AM

The Honourable Justice (Retd) KS Panicker Radhakrishnan of the Supreme Court of India is PETA India’s Man of the Year. For heading the bench that passed the landmark judgment in favour of PETA India and the government body the Animal Welfare Board of India that clarifies that bulls must not be used in jallikattu, bull races, bullfights or any other type of performance and that also called for animals to be respected in many other ways.

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Honourable Justice (Retd) KS Panicker Radhakrishnan

And for using her massive star power to advocate for the protection of all animals – from horses used to pull Victorias to rabbits used in painful cosmetics testsKick star Jacqueline Fernandez has been named Woman of the Year.

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Jacqueline Fernandez

The groundbreaking Supreme Court judgment passed earlier this year also referenced the concept of “speciesism” – discrimination against others simply for belonging to another species – and compared it to other recognised wrongs: racism, castism and sexism.

It also made clear that staged fights between animals, such as cockfighting and dogfighting, for entertainment must not be permitted; that education about the humane treatment of animals is imperative; and that stronger penalties for cruelty to animals must be passed, among other animal-friendly verdicts.

Fernandez’s work with PETA India in the last year alone includes taking to Twitter to call for the release of the formerly abused elephant Sunder, who was finally moved from his life of misery to a forested park where he has room to roam and the companionship of other elephants.

She teamed up with PETA India to rally support for India’s ban on the importation of cosmetics that have been tested on animals – a ban that has since passed.

She helped judge PETA India’s Vegan Fashion Awards, demonstrating how chic leather-, wool- and fur-free fashion can be.

She also met with the Mayor of Mumbai to call for an end to the city’s cruel and dangerous horse-drawn carriage trade, an issue dear to her heart. And she recently rescued a snake in Malaysia while she was shooting for a film. In addition, she helps animals every time she sits down to eat, as she’s vegan!

A big CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU to the Honourable Justice (Retd) KS Panicker Radhakrishnan and Jacqueline Fernandez! They’re an inspiration to us all!

Vegans: Spoiled by Milk Choices!

Written by Emylou D'souza

Posted 12-11-2014, 10:49 AM

You already know what’s wrong with drinking cows’ milk. You know that cows produce milk only when they’re pregnant and that farmers crudely artificially inseminate the animals in order to get as much milk out of them as possible.

In standard factory-farm practices – which are becoming the norm in India – cows are pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones, which forces them to produce much more milk than they naturally would and puts them at risk of developing mastitis (a painful infection of the udder).

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So, what now?

Well, now it’s time to kick cows’ milk to the curb. And we’re here to help make the transition as easy as possible for you! There are so many cruelty-free and tasty non-dairy milks on the market these days – you won’t even miss cows’ milk once it’s out of your life for good (where it belongs). Here are some of our favourites:

Soya Milk

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Soya milk is arguably the most popular and easiest-to-find non-dairy milk on the market. Made from soya beans, fortified soya milk has just as much protein as cows’ milk and is a great source of calcium and vitamin D. And it’s easy on your wallet!
Recommended brands: Silk, Staeta and Sofit

Almond Milk

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Almond milk is made from – you guessed it – almonds! This non-dairy milk has a tasty nutty flavour, and it’s also great for vegans who have soya allergies since it’s soya-free. Almonds are a great source of protein, fibre, vitamin E and calcium, so you really can’t go wrong with this one. You can even easily make your own almond milk right at home. How convenient is that?!
Recommended brand: Silk

Coconut Milk

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Coconut milk is made from the “meat” of a coconut. If you don’t like the taste of coconut, you may not be into coconut milk, but if you’re a big fan, then you’re in for a treat. Fortified coconut milk is also a great source of calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.
Recommended brand: Dabur Hommade

See? We weren’t kidding. There are so many options! And if you find yourself abroad, keep an eye out for other healthy, plant-based alternatives to cows’ milk, such as rice and hemp milks.

Christmas Special: Win a Hamper Full of Vegan Goodies

Written by PETA

Posted 12-10-2014, 08:04 PM

Just in time for Christmas, PETA India is getting into the holiday spirit by giving away five large hampers filled with tasty vegan foods and cruelty-free body-care products  from companies such as Conscious Food and Aloe Veda. All you have to do is answer one simple question: how do you help others be more cruelty-free?

Submit your answer using the form below. The five answers that in PETA’s assessment are most likely to inspire other people to embrace cruelty-free living will win.

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Each hamper is filled with cookies and other snacks from Baker Street, soya milk from Staeta, natural and cruelty-free soaps from Gulnar Handmade Soaps, designer key chains from Eco Wings, soap and shampoo from Aloe Veda, peanut butter from Nutty’s Gourmet Flavored Peanut Butter, vegan power snacks from Conscious Food, tote bags from Clean Planet,  a set of cosmetics from The Nature’s Co., personal-care products from Amar Remedies and Cosmedic, herbal mosquito repellent from Herbal Strategi and vouchers for even more free products from Omved stores, shoes of your choice from Solino Shoes, an ethical wellness massage date at Massa Suite and face wash, shower gel and lotion from Future Skin.

Winners will also receive a DVD of music from compassionate Indian classical-electronic musician and PETA supporter Krishna Marathe.

This contest is open to residents of India only. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. Entries must be received by 23 December 2014. The five winners will be notified by 26 December 2014.

Happy Christmas!

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Famous Animal Rights Quotes

Written by PETA

Posted 12-10-2014, 05:34 PM

Throughout history, there have always been public figures who have spoken out for animals. Here are some of our favorite animal rights quotes from famous peeps, both historical and contemporary. Feel free to pass these along. Be inspired, and continue to speak up on behalf of those who don’t have a voice in society.

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– Mahatma Gandhi

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– Ellen Degeneres

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– R Madhavan

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– Ricky Gervais

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– Natalie Portman

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– Oprah Winfrey

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– Ileana D’Cruz

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– Morrissey

What’s your favorite animal rights quote?

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