Our philosophy & Founder's Story
At BAWS, we believe animals are sentient beings with a right to their own life. We believe no animals should suffer under the hands of humanity. BAWS's founder lives a vegan lifestyle.
A Short Story From the Founder, Dr. Pranav Joshi:
As I roam about my neighborhood, familiar sights draw my attention; some stray dogs seeking cooler shelters in the mid-day heat and some growling for discarded food on the sideway street. I have always questioned myself, as a child and now as a practicing veterinarian about the ill-faith of these desolate animals and every time I see them in pain, I cannot but blame humans for the mistreatment these creatures.
The generations have known dog as man's best friend, but have we humans given back anything to match the generosity of God's most honest pet? It is traumatizing to even think of an extent to which we mal-treat these animals. We hold no guilt of the fact that we, the great human society are solely responsible for what we today love to call, the problem animals.
Working for just three years for the welfare of street dogs in Bhaktapur, a harsh realization have set in. It seems like the municipality and the communities would rather prefer to temporarily eliminate the stray population by any means possible rather that solving the root cause of stray life proliferation. Although totally unscientific and inhumane, mass killing of street dogs by poisoning is one of the most common methods employed in Nepal. However, the authorities involved in the action are not aware that post such killings, new dogs quickly occupy the empty biological niche vacated by the previous dogs. Simultaneously, the survival rate of puppies' increases as there is no competition for food and unsterilized dogs increase their movement, thus further spreading the trouble of over populated dogs in the area.
There also seems to be a general lack of awareness that the use of poisons, especially during the monsoon could ultimately be fatal to human beings as the poison washed away by rain could contaminate water and other edibles like fruits and vegetables. A recent event of Bhaktapur (15 June 2011) is a rather sad and a warning lesson we should learn. As I write this story, flashes of suffering dogs that were poisoned on that day by the workers of Bhaktapur municipality run before my eyes. I quickly checked how they were poisoned and immediately knew that it was none other than Strychnine. I knew I had to act fast, not just because the dogs were pleading for death (obviously the poison dose was insufficient to kill them), but also because I was scared that the poison seeping out of the dog's mouth would soon find its way into the nearby vegetable market. With a heavy heart, I euthenaisized (put into death) some dogs and immediately called the authorities to clean up the area.
While this sounds like a normal story and thing that we have seen in the past, the ultimate effects could be devastating. Strychnine poisoning can be extremely fatal to humans and can occur by inhalation, swallowing or absorption through eyes or mouth. It produces some of the most dramatic and painful symptoms of any known toxic reaction. Human life cannot be put into stake just because lack of awareness. This message has to be therefore relayed to the society: that the chemicals used to control the street dog population can causehuman casualty as well. There are options like Animal Birth Control (ABC) Programwhere male and female dogs are neutered to reduce/control the population of the street dogs. ABC programs have been found to be one of the most effective ways to control and reduce street dogs population all over the world.
Stray dogs have been a source of my inspiration, not just because I have a chance to show kindness to them, but because they have made me realize my responsibilities of being a human being. Their presence and their sufferings remind me everyday that I am a part of society that is in a way responsible of these lost lives and as a veterinarian, I therefore stand for a mission today to fight for the rights of these bereaved animals.