Many CNVR programmes were conducted; one of them being ‘The Aluth Pola’ which was conducted before the 2nd lockdown.
A year has passed by and here we are again bearing witness to the dissipating turmoil that is animal welfare in Sri Lanka. We’re aware of full-fledged pet encagements and abandoned litters of newborn strays in plastic bags. However, during the passing time, little has changed. During the challenge that was 2020 the spike in compassion and the growth in Sri Lanka’s sense of community took me pleasantly by surprise. As the animal welfare awareness truly peaked the public was seen rushing to take home stray litter with their eagerness to abandon the vanities preventing stray adoption. As their light gently brightens the future for animal welfare I have every confidence when I say the pearl of the Indian Ocean is well on its way to rediscover its compassion. My support for Animal Welfare Organizations comes as no surprise. The sheer passion and love within each and every activist is positively inspiring. Having said so I bring you an exclusive with Yannina Captain from Justice for Animals to provide an insight into their generous work.
Following are excerpts of an interview done with Yannina.
QBrief me about Justice for Animals, the inspiration that found the organization and how it came about?
My family has always been involved in animal welfare, especially my mum, Tashiya Captain. Initially, we were both members of the Animal Welfare and Protection Association. We realised that although there were many individuals and organisations doing rescues, there was a need for more CNVR programmes. We never set out to start own organisation. We set out to do a charity calendar and it was the funds raised from the calendar that enabled us to do the island-wide spay-neuter-vaccinate-treat-feed programme under the Justice for Animals banner. It snowballed, really.
Q Justice for Animals is primarily known for its island-wide CNVR programmes. What’s the process behind it?
We work with and support animal welfare activists in specific areas which identify the pockets of homeless dogs. They help us with the pre-program groundwork and also direct the vet team ‘catchers’ to the areas where the dogs are on the day of the program. Our responsibility is getting the Vet Team to the location and fundraising. Many people bring community-owned dogs to our health campaigns, because the spay-neuter-vaccinate programme is an invaluable programme to communities that cannot afford normal vet costs or do not have access to a veterinarian clinic. We need to look at this program not only from an animal welfare perspective, but also as a unique programme that supports the government rabies eradication programme.
Q In terms of services and projects what does Justice for Animals actively engage in?
Primarily we engage in spay-neuter-vaccinate-treat programmes. We believe it’s a necessity in preventing more homeless cats and dogs from future suffering. We get countless calls regarding rescues. Our organisation’s priorities are the CNVR programmes.
Aside from CNVR programmes, we have a few ongoing projects. One of which is an education wildlife programme for underprivileged children. Through another new project we are creating a database of people who would like to sign their dog up for blood donations. Animals fall sick and need blood transfusions. A Facebook group called ‘Animal Blood Donors Sri Lanka’ has been set up for this purpose.
Q What can you tell me about the esteemed team behind Justice for Animals?
Justice for animals was recently registered as a non-profit charity and the ‘team’ is really a team of two; my mother and I. We’re blessed to have people who are willing to volunteer. We have generous donors and friends.
QThese are difficult times. How has the pandemic affected the operations and how has Justice for Animals overcome the challenges?
To say 2020 was challenging is an understatement. We were fortunate to have the funds from the 2020 calendar to get us started. However, we’ve mostly been dependent on donations, for our fundraising options were extremely limited due to COVID-19 in 2020.
We managed to continue with our CNVR programmes despite the difficulties and organised a market called The Aluth Pola before the 2nd lockdown. It was hosted by Body Bar.
Unfortunately due to the rise in COVID cases, we couldn’t have The Aluth Pola Christmas Edition, planned for December, which was a setback for our fundraising efforts. We can’t run the CNVR programmes without funds.
Q What’s the stance of Justice for Animals on the status of animal welfare in Sri Lanka?
There’s so much to do at so many different levels - domestic animals, homeless animals, farm animals, captive animals and wildlife - all which need urgent attention and protection under the law. We’re at war against a lot of things and to win a war you need an army. Metaphorically, we’re two foot soldiers. We can’t do it alone.
Q In the years of service what has your impact been on the animal welfare of Sri Lanka?
We’re a fledgling organisation and working from home. It was born in 2019 and formally established as a Non-Profit Charity in 2020. To date, we’ve treated 4,426 homeless animals.
Justice for Animals is holding its 2nd ‘Aluth Pola’ - A Market For A Cause”, on January 31 at Body Bar from 10 am – 5:30pm. This programme will help raise funds for their 2021 spay-neuter-vaccinate-treat animal health camps. This year’s market features several small businesses and two other registered charities
QHow can the public aid Justice for Animals? Be it, through donations or volunteer help.
There are so many ways the public can help! A few being;
Sponsoring a CNVR programme.
Donating books to Bookscribe (@bookscribe.co on Instagram), which will be sold as second hand books to fund our CNVR programmes.
Joining the ‘Animal Blood Donor Sri Lanka’ group on Facebook and registering your pet to donate blood, or joining if you have a pet in case they need one.
Offering help can be simple as; following us on social media at @justiceforanimals.lk
If you haven’t been, visiting Yala or Wilpattu. Learn about wildlife, sustainable tourism, our forests and animals - animals that might not be there for your children’s children to see.
If you have a garden starting gardening and plant a tree. Sri Lanka, like most other parts of the world are not as green as it used to be.
Remembering to Recycle, Reuse and Resell and being compassionate to animals.
This is the final advice from Yannina. “I think the mistake people make is that they assume, it’s fine, I’m sure someone else will do it. If you are in a position to do any of the above, don’t wait for others to do so. Assume it’s you or no-one”.
Before we conclude, I’d like to take a moment to announce that Justice for Animals is holding its 2nd ‘Aluth Pola’ - A Market For A Cause”, on January 31 at Body Bar from 10 am – 5:30pm. This programme will help raise funds for their 2021 spay-neuter-vaccinate-treat animal health camps.
This year’s market features several small businesses and two other registered charities - Emerge Global & Simply Women. Vendors will be selling plants, baked goods, vegan cheese and dips, food-savoury and sweet treats, books, jewellery, art, clothing and bath products. You can visit their social media sites [@thealuthpola] for more details.
It is incredibly remarkable how much these two individuals have accomplished, all in the name of our little pearl. It goes without saying, their story is deeply inspiring as to how we as citizens can, too, aid our community. We all certainly have a role to play.
This new year I eagerly look forward to a steady growth within the animal welfare community. Here’s to all the sweet strays looking to us for their happy ending. Until next time.