New Delhi: Thousands of individuals across the world came together on the 13th National Animal Rights Day on Sunday, June 4, 2023, to commemorate non-human animals (cows, pigs, goats, chickens, fishes, and others) who have and continue to lose their lives to industries that profit from their suffering. The events were held in over 150 cities worldwide, including Los Angeles, Toronto, London, Paris, Perth, Hong Kong, New York, and more. In India, cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Rishikesh, Dharamshala, Jabalpur, Kanpur, Lucknow, Sasaram, and Auroville, participated, and the list is ever-growing.
Established by the non-profit “Our Planet. Theirs Too” in 2011, National Animal Rights Day (NARD) is annually observed across the globe on the first Sunday of June, while the first NARD was organised in New York City in 2011.
During the first part of the event, activists unveiled The Declaration of Animal Rights, which was proclaimed and signed by all present.
Later, activists and representatives from various organisations working for animal rights and aligned causes took to the stage to deliver empowering speeches and raise awareness.
Harsha Atmakuri, the Director of Maa Ka Doodh movie stated why we need to think of animals in the dairy industry and other industries “We are ingrained since childhood that milk is important for us but are not informed of what underlies the dairy industry. As I directed this film, one can see different perspectives pointing towards our inherent discrimination and exploitation of other animals for human desires.”
Quoting on the urgency of all to unite and deliver a powerful message this year, Rajeshwar Singh, Country Coordinator, Our Planet, Theirs Too, said, “Let us shatter all the barriers that divide us and work hand in hand towards the cause of animal liberation. We must stand up for the innocent beings that share our planet to live free from exploitation. Let us pledge to make a difference in the world, be the change we wish to see, and create a future where all animals are treated with the respect and compassion they deserve.”
Aprajita Ashish, the Regional Liaison of Asia, at Animal Save Movement, Director at Animal Climate and Health Save Foundation India, and a campaigner at Plant Based Treaty, stated about the growing movement and binding of people towards the cause of Animal Rights. “The National Animal Rights Day is an incredibly emotional event, one that binds individuals from all walks of life. Started in 2017 with 4 cities- Mumbai, Pune, Dharamshala and Hyderabad- it spans over 30 cities today. It is the dedication of many activists and volunteers working together over the years that we see NARD as it is today, and we aim to expand the event to even more cities pan India next year,” she shared.
The event concluded with outreach and education of the public about animal oppression, climate catastrophes induced by animal agriculture, and how everyone can be part of the solution to end it. Plant Based Treaty, a global campaign launched by the Climate Save Movement, was also promoted through the event. The Plant Based Treaty Vegan Starter Kits were distributed through this event across many cities globally, including in the cities of India. These kits are significant because they guide people on how to adapt to a plant-based lifestyle.