The First Kagyu Monlam Animal Camp Declared a Great Success
February 3rd, 2014
During the first ever Kagyu Monlam Animal Camp, the team of volunteer vets and para-vets treated a total of 830 animals. An elephant, a beetle, rabbits, a camel, ducklings, dogs: many different types of sentient beings received treatment during the animal camp. From an injured beetle to a sick elephant - all received equal care and attention. Many concerned people brought a total of 540 injured or sick animals to the experienced veterinary team for help.
Goats: Thousands of goats live in and around Bodhgaya. During this winter, many were sick with a severe form of contagious pneumonia (lung infection) and were near death. Due to the efforts of the team, the goats were able to recover with treatment (antibiotics, intravenous fluids (glucose drip) and other medications). A nearby Buddhist centre houses many goats who have been liberated from slaughter (Tsethar). These goats were similarly sick and the team travelled to the institute daily to give them treatments.
Cows and Buffalo: Most families in Bodhgaya own at least a cow and a buffalo. Their milk feeds the family and their dung provides fuel for cooking. The loss of a single animal is devastating to marginal villagers who depend on her for survival. Similarly, buffalo are used to plough the fields and provide milk. The vet team treated a number of different conditions and saved many lives.
Horses: Horses are used to pull carts and transport people in and around Bodhgaya. Running on the hard bitumen roads creates massive stress on their legs and hooves. Many of these horses have chronic (old and ongoing) leg and joint problems causing pain and were treated during the camp. Two horses have been rescued from this life of suffering and released to live their remaining days on the Garchen ground. The first has lost the sight in one eye and the second has a crippled leg and was in great pain pulling a heavy cart all day.
In addition, the team gave 301 anti-rabies vaccinations and neutered 253 stray dogs.
Another important part of their work was an educational outreach programme. Its first focus was on dog bite and rabies prevention:
· Teaching the community of the importance of reducing the dog population to a healthy manageable size through sterilization programs and controlling rabies by vaccination all dogs.
· Training children how to avoid being bitten by dogs and how to treat dog bites to prevent rabies infections.
· Training children on the importance of compassionate care of animals and the interdependence of all life.
The second focus was teaching villagers and children the proper care and husbandry of animals.
There are many local myths about the care of goats, cows and other animals that are causing harm. For example, some villagers believe that giving fresh water to goats in winter causes diarrhoea. This leads to dehydration and disease rather than preventing it. A vital aspect of a vets work is teaching animal owners proper care and husbandry of the animals under their protection.
The third focus was preventing the capture and caging of wild birds.
The Kagyu Monlam Animal Medical team expressed immense gratitude to His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Thinley Dorje for this opportunity to provide service in the holy land of Bodhgaya, to Drikung Gyaltsey Rinpoche for his guidance and inspiration, to the Bo Gangkar Rinpoche for his support, to the Kagyu Monlam Committee and to all the volunteers who worked long hours for the animals.
They have dedicated their efforts to the long life of His Holiness the Karmapa.