How Social Media Comes Together for Animal Welfare

Nirali Hingwala
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How Social Media Comes Together for Animal Welfare

Social media has always been know for its virality. For its capacity of blowing things up; for its mass reach. If it spreads on social media, it's a big news.

Be it Osama's assassination or the unfolding of revolutionary events at Tahrir Square in Egypt, social media has been at the forefront always. Social media also rips apart everyone, be it politicians, celebs, or even high profile personalities.

It's a medium where everyone is a content creator, a publisher. In certain cases, before the law can do anything - or if the law has failed to do anything - social media comes first to the rescue. As much as this is true for humans, it is true for animals as well.

Social Media Traces Down the Kitten Kicker

A 16 year old teenager thought an act that would - well we actually don't know what the hell was he thinking we are only assuming - gain him popularity actually landed him up in legal troubles.

Now he is facing a charge of cruelty to animals after a video shared on Facebook was turned over to authorities. I was shocked to see how he picked a cat and kicked it like a football. The video went viral and agitated animal activists who hunted his details down and lodged an FIR against him.

Later, Pooja Sakpal, co-founder of Youth Organisation in Defense of Animals (YODA) said that a complaint was lodged against Prateek at Versova police station. By early Thursday morning animal lovers across the city, came together to identify the culprit, and they managed to trace him down through his common friends.

They went to his building at Yari Road, and searched for the kitten but it was nowhere to be found. Pratik has meanwhile been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Bombay Police Act and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

Yes what happened in the first place was unfortunate, but what followed makes us feel proud. In this case, social media served as an appropriate tool for timely communication that helped initiating an open dialogue amongst animal lovers across the city. This couldn’t have been possible without Social Media! What do you think?

Social Media Comes Together to Rescue Bijlee

Another example is of an ailing elephant, Bijlee, a 58-year-old female animal who collapsed at an industrial complex in Mulund, few months ago, after years of neglect.

Bijlee was forced to work for 50 years by begging on the streets of Mumbai and Thane. Little attention was paid to her health and diet after she had sustained injuries in an accident.

Moved by her plight, Amitabh Bachcan had appealed to public to help save Bijlee on Social Media Platforms. Mr. Bachchan had requested authorities and animal lovers to help rescue Bijlee who has been lying hurt on the road.  He also tweeted about an NGO, AMTM (Animals Matter to Me) working for Bijlee's welfare.

The actor also put up photographs of Bijlee on his blog with details of the NGO where one can contribute in whatever way possible.

People from across the city harnessed the power of social media media by initiating the #SaveBijlee campaign. Bijlee's Plight was highlighted in the media and what followed was a massive support and social media updates asking for help to rescue the animal.

Unfortunately, the elephant could not be saved, but Bijlee's death does not go in vain. The incident did create a lot of awareness about the cruelty that Elephants are suffering all over the world and Social media is a veritable tool for seeking attention.

While these are recent news making incidents, there are people diligently using the power of social media to rescue and fight against animal cruelty.

We found that a number of shelters and pet rescue groups are using social media to urge people to take positive action for animals.

Social Media Properties That Save Animals Day In & Day Out

Nanny Woof

Nanny Woof is a chapter of Animal Aid Alliance, a charitable trust for animal welfare which works for the rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing of animals. The organisation shares stories of animal rescue, fostering and re-homing with the hope of finding them a home. They are trying to reach as many people as possible on the internet, who support the same cause.

(As you can see below) Nanny Woof taps into that pet enthusiasm by encouraging fans to adopt a pet or capture and share a picture of an adoptable pet. Undoubtedly, social media has greatly helped the organisation in sharing its pet adoption message.


Pet Santa

The folks behind Pet Santa are youngsters driven by passionate love towards animals. Theirs is a unique goal.

Often times, NGOs who work towards animal welfare find it difficult to raise funds for themselves. It can be due to several reasons. Be it lack of bandwidth, limited networks or lack of resources. This is where Pet Santa steps into the picture and helps them raise required amount of funding.

Through a highly active Twitter account and a Facebook group, Pet Santa is coming up with lots of interesting activities for animal welfare.

It is absolutely wonderful to see animal lovers coming together and leveraging the huge potential of social media and work towards the betterment of animals. I am sure there are many other similar cases out there. If you come across any, please drop me a mail or share in the comments below.

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