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Vedanta’s philanthropy arm to set up camel rescue hub in Rajasthan

BusinessVedanta’s philanthropy arm to set up camel rescue hub in Rajasthan

The philanthropic arm of the Vedanta group—the Anil Agarwal Foundation (AAF)—has taken up a mission to save animals from cruelty and with the aim to improve the future of animal health and well-being and provide top-notch infrastructure, veterinary care, training centres, animal shelters to help heal and safeguard animals.
To extend this mission across India, the AAF launched “The Animal Care Organization” (TACO) last year under the leadership of Vedanta’s non-executive Director, Priya Agarwal Hebbar. Hebbar, in an exclusive conversation with The Sunday Guardian said: “The project aims for a compassionate India where every animal lives with dignity and respect and caters to the needs of stray and domesticated animals with its six pillars, namely, Shelter, Hospital, Academy, Wildlife, Disaster Relief and Sectoral Engagement.”
Priya further added that AAF has set up three centres in Mumbai where they take care of rehabilitation of sick and injured animals and do sterilization and vaccinations of street animals. Apart from this, TACO has also set up a trauma centre for animals in Mumbai and a 24-hour ambulance service for sick and injured animals.
“I was passionate about animal care right from my childhood and in the initial years, during my college we set up a small community group where we would take care of street animals and help them in case of emergency or need. Later last year we thought of bringing this into the Vedanta group’s philanthropic arm and named it as TACO. Under TACO we take care of both small animals, like stray cats, dogs and birds. We also look into wild animals and farm animals. We are creating an ecosystem for all three and building a hub and spoke model where we create an environment where we have best-in-class shelter, hospital, and education for veterinarians,” Priya told this newspaper.
Priya said that she and her organisation wants to create a movement where philanthropy is not only giving back to human beings but also to take care of animals.
With the aim of spreading across India, TACO earlier this year signed an MoU with the government of Haryana and adopted the Tapabhoomi Gaushala in Faridabad, Haryana.
Asked about exactly what plans TACO has in terms of expanding its animal welfare schemes across India, Priya told this newspaper, “We started with Mumbai and then came to Haryana; we are also working with the wildlife department in Rajasthan. We have already donated Rs one crore to Ranthambore national park for the purchase of surveillance vehicles that they required and we want to get deeper into Rajasthan and carry out our animal welfare schemes there.”
According to recent reports there has been a declining population of camels in Rajasthan, mainly because of reasons like the families traditionally owning them are not being able to cater to them anymore, several reports of camels going stray in Rajasthan also surfaced. Asked about if TACO would be doing something in the desert state to help rehabilitate camels, Priya said, “That is actually something that we are looking at as our next project. Barmer is a place that has a large camel population and we are looking at creating a Camel centre there. There’s no proper medical facility or rehabilitation system for Camels in Rajasthan and I think it’s the need of the hour, and therefore we are creating a space for camels in Rajasthan.”
Priya also advocates for a stronger punitive law against animal cruelty. Speaking to this newspaper, she said, “India is the first country in the world that spoke about animals in history, we pray to animals; so the whole dichotomy is quite unfortunate. But the fact of the matter is that there should be more stringent laws for animal cruelty. I also think that today’s government is extremely pro animal welfare, I have not really seen any other government be this pro animal welfare. So I think the awareness is there and I think that’s something that will happen soon.”

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