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Help Abhinav Save Cows Being Starved in Bundelkhand, India

Hello! My name is Abhinav Srihan and I am an animal rescue volunteer in India. I want to give you a glimpse of a silent saga of suffering and death that has been unfolding in the very heart of India. 

With each passing year, drought has been intensifying in the Bundelkhand region of India. In the scorching summers the temperatures go up to 50°C and all the ponds and wells in villages run dry. Villagers no longer have fodder or water for the cattle.  As per an old tradition called Anna Pratha, all the cattle are rounded up and incarcerated in enclosures to prevent them from grazing on the remaining grass and crops in the fields. They are supposed to be provided with dry fodder and water, until the rains come. But the rains hardly every come! Both fodder and water have become increasingly scarce. The cows are still being incarcerated in enclosures but nobody brings them food or water - they are left there to starve.

Day after day, the cows sit in their deserted enclosures, the sun beating down hard on their parched bodies, waiting for someone to bring respite. But neither god nor man has mercy for these forsaken, forgotten ones. Only death brings respite. But even death doesn’t come so easy. Those who have seen a cow starve to death would know – first they become immobile and sit there for days, then they collapse and lie panting for days, their bellies bloat, their vital organs slowly bleed and rupture from the pressure of the gas, finally they have seizures that can last up to hours and then death comes. Some respite! 

Last year 3,00,000 cattle died in Bundelkhand (as per official estimates). This year, 500 have already fallen and the summer has only begun. I have been going from enclosure to enclosure in the worst-hit Mahoba district, reporting live on my Facebook Page. The media has now finally started to cover the situation (see here and here). Most of incarcerated cows will die waiting, if help doesn’t arrive. 

I, with a group of volunteers, and hired daily wagers, have been providing fodder and water in some of the enclosures ( See video here and here). We are also lobbying with the local administration to set the animals free so that they can at least fend for themselves for a few more months. A tiny victory came, when we were recently able to free the cattle in Chichara village in Mahoba. But thousands still remain locked up, waiting silently for help. You can make this wait end!

We urgently need funds to bring feed and water to the cows. As little as $10 (Rs 660), can feed one cow for a month. Please donate generously and help us bring respite to the waiting cows.

I have asked Divya Narain and Anusha Narain to help me with this campaign you may contact us with any questions you may have.

The Wire ran a story on cows being starved to death in Bundelkhand
The Wire ran a story on cows being starved to death  in Bundelkhand
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31st March 2017
Dear Donors,

We are overwhelmed with hope and gratitude as we make this update. We are about to reach our funding goal of Rs. 5 Lacs. But what we have achieved with your support cannot be measured in money – we have saved the lives of hundreds of cows, we have pressured the local administration to set hundreds of cows free. You will be happy to know that all of the cows in Mahoba have now been released from their enclosures – even though little grass remains in the common areas, they can at least fend for themselves now.

There were some that could not be saved, but at least we brought them their last drink of water and their last bunch of grass – at least they didn’t die waiting. You reached out to them. You brought respite.  

This year, India is witnessing the worst Climate Change induced drought ever. It’s not just Bundelkhand, the whole of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is burning. And if scientific evidence is anything to go by, things are going to get worse. Animals, especially cows, are the first victims of climate change. We are in for animal suffering of catastrophic proportions. After our work was covered by two more media articles (see here and here), Abhinav has been getting calls from all over India about how cows are starving to death because of dearth of fodder and water. The problem is acute, and the scale of it enormous. But people like you give us hope – you have restored our faith in the inherent goodness of humanity. You have infused us with confidence – as India burns, we brace ourselves to do whatever we can to bring respite to the starving, thirsty animals.

Here are a few more pictures from the field:

The cow in the picture below will not make it - it is too weak to stand, but thanks to you, at least she gets her last drink of water (you can also see a dead one in the background).

Thank you and keep the faith,

Abhinav, Anusha and Divya

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raised of Rs.500,000 goal

182 Supporters

5 Days to go

Payment options: Online, cheque pickups

Beneficiary: Abhinav Srihan info_outline

Supporters (182)

Puneet donated Rs.2,000
Anonymous donated Rs.300
Aman donated Rs.660
Anonymous donated $40
Balaji donated $100
Anonymous donated Rs.10,000

Thank you for volunteering for such a great cause.