As the country went into a lockdown, humans shut themselves away from any contact with the outside world to ensure their safety. Although it was advisable to prevent the ghastly pandemic from spreading, it left many street animals without any food and in was a worrisome state.
Kushal Biswas, the founder of Speak for Animals, a not for profit organization based out of Bhubaneswar, Odisha recalls feeding nearly 500 stray animals when the lockdown was observed in his city.
Operating as a rescue team for the past six years, Speak for Animals is now worried about how to continue feeding or rescuing animals amid the COVID-19 outbreak and the lockdown.
When people discovered about their work on social media, several hailed their efforts and the news reached their honorable Chief Minister, Shree Naveen Pattnaik. Their work was appreciated by the CM and the government extended financial support to them which helped them expand on a larger scale.
What began as a small initiative by the team of Speak For Animals has now become operational in other towns of the state and it is feeding thousands of animals in these difficult days.
Kushal shares that all of this good work would not have been possible without the massive support that they received from the people of Bhubaneswar.
The state government has now sanctioned money for feeding stray animals. With this, the funds are allocated across various municipalities in the state to procure food or other essentials on a daily basis for animals and it would allow them to keep this campaign going across various towns or cities. They have extended their campaign to nine outstations and have nearly covered the entire city of Bhubaneswar. While operating, they ensure that their volunteers follow social distancing and sanitize themselves properly.
In conversation with The Logical Indian, Kushal Biswas shares, "When we started our hunger for free campaign, we aimed at feeding stray animals such as dogs, monkeys, cows in the city. Although we received an overwhelming response and support for our work and we escalated it to other towns in the state as well. If the stray animals are not fed for such a long period, they will die out of starvation. With the fake news spreading online about Corona, many people abandoned their pets and we even got calls to rescue them. During such times, the least which we ask to do is to leave some food or water outside your home so that some stray might at least be fed once a day."
Across their social media handles, they have advertised for volunteers and collaborations with other organizations who are working towards feeding stray animals or abandoned pets.
With their genuine work, they boosted similar organizations or individuals who have been willing to work for this cause to come forward and operate in their respective surroundings. Before allowing new volunteers or organizations to join this cause, they carried out a proper background check to ensure that they follow all necessary instructions related to prevention of Coronavirus.
They have observed that many stray animals especially dogs are now moving to interior parts of the city in search of food. Their team ensures to feed as many stray animals as possible when they conduct feeding drives. They are also providing home delivery for pet food and other essentials for animals, in case the households run out of stock in Bhubaneswar.
"By expanding this campaign to multiple outstations, we have been able to feed nearly thousands of animals. All of this has worked in a collaborative model of various organizations and volunteer groups coming together along with the contributions which we have received so far. Our main objective remains to prevent starvation in strays or all those animals that have been abandoned during this pandemic. Our little contribution or effort might help in mitigating the suffering of animals who also are the worst sufferers of this outbreak.", Kunal Biswas tells The Logical Indian.
The team is now planning to collaborate with other organizations who are working on similar lines in order to feed as much stray animals as possible. They have also appealed to the public to leave food or water outside their homes so that the animals who are wandering on the streets might get something while maintaining contactless delivery in mind.
The Logical Indian salutes the efforts of Speak For Animals for feeding stray animals during such difficult times and reassuring our faith in humanity with their generous work.