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February-March Updates 2021

Animal Care

Dear Envirocare Coordinators, Go Green Champions and Eco-Explorers,

This month, we take a closer look at good animal welfare and compassion towards all creatures. From the tiniest to the largest, all animals are essential to the ecosystem. Mother Nature is a perfect habitat that has been designed for all kinds of species, where all animals and plants coexist and give balance to each other. We humans benefit from their wondrous selfless service to this planet!

Humans have done a lot of damage to the biosphere! Even plants offer a sugary reward to insects in return for their pollination services. It’s time we humans start thinking about how to reward other creatures for their life-enriching service. When we look after and love an animal, we uplift the whole creation.

The Path to Dedicated Living

“The Vedas have prescribed five steps to enable the individual to cultivate the spirit of Yajna Deva Yajna (adoring God in the domestic altar) … Bhuutha yajna (the feeding and fostering of pet animals, of cattle, of horse and sheep and dog, which are the helpmates and comrades of man) … The cow grants milk, butter, curds, ghee -- all valuable nutrients … Gratefulness demands that man should not neglect or injure them.”

- Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol.10/Ch.36, November 1970

Love and Compassion for Farm Animals, Austria

The Sri Sathya Sai International Organisation (SSSIO) of Austria, Zone 7, initiated an animal welfare service in 2018 and presently supports three animal shelters of the Austrian association “ANIMAL SPIRIT”. This non-profit association was founded in May 2002 by veterinarian Dr. Franz-Joseph Plank to spread the importance of ​​animal welfare and to help hard-pressed animals in need, primarily ‘farm’ animals. By their support and service, Sai animal lovers nurture in themselves important feelings of connection and stewardship.

Sick, old, and abandoned animals are lovingly cared for and raised according to the highest standards of well-being - each stable leads into the open air. These love-thirsty animals now approach their guests to express their trust.

The Sai animal lovers took over some duties from the Animal Spirit team to reduce their many daily tasks. They bring wood from the forest to keep for the winter, they help to clear a nettle field, a chicken fence from weeds, and muck out the ducks and chicken coops. Additionally, they carry out concrete and painting works.

They end the day by alternately singing devotional songs and re-reading Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s discourses. The guided Light Meditation brings their service to an end. These volunteers take great joy in the physically demanding work, which brings a great surge in strength and capacity to work. They always leave the animal shelter grateful and deeply satisfied.

The Transformation of Man
Through the Good Qualities in Animals

“The quality of patience to be found in a donkey is not found even in man. Whatever burdens may be heaped on its back, it bears them all with forbearance. It puts up with any amount of beatings. Even when it is starved of food and water, it presents a calm face. Man has thus to learn the quality of forbearance from the donkey.”

- Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol.30/Ch.4, 13 February 1997

Nurturing Children’s Love for Animals

Children recognise the intrinsic value of animals; they know they are so important simply because they are living creatures. They ignite in the children a lifelong love of animals, and encounters with wild animals can be extra-special. Children learn about their differences and similarities and their needs (such as for food, shelter, space) and in this way their compassion and empathy for the animals grow.

Explore the Serve The Planet (STP) global initiatives 2016 - “Love for Animals

Sanctuaries in Austria
Nature reserve and safe-space for animals

“Animal Spirit” has three beautiful locations with green pastures and ponds, one is situated in ‘Am Hendlberg’ (Lower Austria) and two in ‘Esternberg’ and ‘Engelberg’ (Upper Austria). Animals that are abused, neglected, abandoned, tortured or rescued from the slaughterhouse are provided shelter and maintained until their natural death.

The three farms nourish a total of 26 cattle, 37 horses, 34 donkeys, 66 sheep, 66 goats, 25 pigs, 5 llamas, and many dogs, chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, guinea pigs, bearded dragons, altogether just over 600 animals.

Download and Read the true stories of animals rescued from the slaughterhouse (Written by Animal Spirit)

Human Impacts - Factory Farming v/s Farm Animal Welfare

Our modern food system has a profound and significant impact on the environment.  “This is partly because high-yield but health-compromised livestock have been shown to produce higher GHG (Greenhouse Gases) emissions” - World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)

Throughout human history, animals have played a critical role in agriculture, providing us labour, fiber and food, and enriching the soil with their animal manure. However, today, millions of animals are born into the cruel world of factory farming. They will never know kindness or compassion, many will never touch grass or see the sun. They often live in dark, overcrowded, filthy and confined spaces. Their basic needs and freedom are consistently denied. Read more

“The majority of beef cattle are slaughtered in facilities that process more than one million animals annually, or nearly 3,000 per day; and despite many improvements, at this speed, it is nearly impossible to guarantee that every animal is slaughtered within the regulations.”

- United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, April 2013

Reflections on the Impact of Human Activity
on the World’s Wildlife

According to the World Wildlife Fund living planet report 2018, an average 60% drop in the population of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians has been reported since 1970.

The World Research Institute predicts that improving the feed quality (highest-quality and most digestible grasses) and providing critical boosts to the health of herbivorous mammals (ruminants) can reduce GHG emissions in many developing regions by two-thirds. 

Wildlife around the world continues to dwindle. There is an urgent need for everyone to collectively rethink and change course. It’s time to redefine our relationship with the environment and  balance our food consumption with Nature’s needs and supply.

Visit the Environmental Sustainability Hub to explore the Divine Relationship between God, Nature and Man

With Sai Love and Light,

Environmental Sustainability Committee

Sri Sathya Sai International Organisation