NGO campaigns for cracker-less Diwali

Launches 'Festival of Kindness' to make it safer for animals

The festival of lights may bring joy to humans, but it is an absolute nightmare for animals. Loud firecrackers going off at streetcorners gravely affect them, both mentally and physically.

To make this Diwali safer for animals, Canines Can Care, an NGO of Shirin Merchant, has launched anti-firecracker campaign 'Festival of Kindness'.

In its second year, the campaign implores people to consider ill-effects of firecrackers, especially on animals, and pledge to go cracker-free.

"Animals go through trauma during Diwali. Even a small firecracker can throw them off as dogs, for example, can hear up to four to seven times louder than humans.

"They can go into hiding for days, experience anxiety pangs and may need medical help to calm down," said Tangella Madhavi, a canine counsellor and a student of Merchant's.

Firecrackers are also known to negatively impact birds and cats.

"Stray animals are affected even more as they may be run over by vehicles when they run to seek shelter. People even tie firecrackers to their tails which causes injury, even death. We thought it's time to be a little more compassionate to animals and make people aware of how harmful firecrackers are to them," Madhavi said.

The organisation is reaching out to schools and colleges in the city and has already got a positive response from some.

"Tata Institute of Social Science's iCall (Initiating Concern for All) is supporting us, besides others," said Rajvi Mariwala, animal behaviourist and contributor to Canines Can Care.

The NGO has also started an online campaign which had received 23,615 pledges as of Sunday evening.

The campaign got a great response last year both online and on the ground, receiving around 51,500 pledges and about 8 to 10 schools in the city supporting.

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