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.
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
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.
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
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
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.