Over 200 Mumbaikars spent their weekend speaking up for animals, in Indias first Zonal Animal Rights March. The march was held on World Vegan Day.
The event, organised in collaboration with the United For Compassion International Foundation (UFCI) and Vegan India Movement (VIM), began with a 3-5 km walk on Carter Road in Bandra. Shweta Savla, UFCI founder, said, We can see that people are becoming more aware of the issues related to animal rights violation. This march is probably the biggest our country has ever seen.
Ms. Savla said they have put forth some demands to the government. We are marching to have our demands heard and fulfilled. We have also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier, she said.
The UFCI founder also called for a ban on testing of household and medical products on animals. School curriculums must include ways to conduct non-invasive and ethical research on animal cognition. These are some basic demands that need to be addressed by the government at the earliest, Ms. Savla said.
Demanding that no new zoological parks be created, Ms. Savla called for a ban on breeding of animals in public for the entertainment of people. The animals should also not be part of exchange programmes between international zoological parks, Ms. Savla said.
Actress Kitu Gidwani also took part in the march. I have so many scratches on my body made by my kittens. But, I am very fond of them and these scratches do not hurt. We, humans should understand that animals too feel a lot of pain. They are not like plants, which do not have a central nervous system (CNS). Animals have a CNS and can feel pain as much as we do, Ms. Gidwani said.
Nearly 2 million species of animals have disappeared due to human activities, Ms. Gidwani said. The evolution of human beings is necessary. This march will help us propagate the message of animal rights across India.
People think veganism is a trend that will pass, Ms. Savla said, but through this march, we want to convey the message that it is a social justice movement.