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In Nepal most of a neighbourhood’s inhabitants will recognise the individual dogs that live among them even if they choose to do no more than regard them as part of the street furniture.
Some residents will take a more active role towards the animals in their midst and will feed and play with them and even seek veterinary care if it is available.
It is these well intentioned but often under informed people that HART seeks out and encourages. Currently information on animal care is not widely available and animal sentience is not well recognised, and so even well meaning people can inadvertently cause their companion animals to suffer.
Working in different areas in Nepal, HART has found that some communities, such as in Pokhara and Kopan, welcome the opportunity to improve the lives of their street dogs. However in other areas the creatures are still widely regarded as nuisances and poisoning as the only sensible solution to keeping them manageable.
The normal lifespan of a street dog is estimated to be around three years and the hazards of street life ensure that most puppies do not survive.
Street dog numbers have traditionally been controlled by poisoning with strychnine carried out by local authorities.
As with the street dogs some well intentioned individuals take responsibility for one or more cats, though again, as with the street dogs, this does not guarantee the animals a good life.
HART neuters as many cats as possible both in the towns and in the camps.
EquinesMules, donkeys and ponies are used as pack animals in some parts of the country and as carriers in the brick kiln factories of the Kathmandu valley. HART supports Animal Nepal and AHTCS who run programmes to alleviate the situation of working equines.
CattleAs a Hindu country, cattle are generally revered. However, bull calves and non-productive females are frequently abandoned to a life of scavenging on the streets. HART is often called on to treat or assist sick and injured cattle.
Animal SacrificeThis is still widely practised throughout Nepal, both at festivals and to mark notable occasions, and it is carried out publicly. A particularly distressing festival is held in the south of Nepal every four years and called the Gadhimai. More information on this event and the campaign to mitigate, or even stop it altogether, is available at STOP Animal Sacrifice
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