Claire Abrams

Unlimited aid to animals

A perfect example of complete dedication to the welfare of animals, Claire Abrams, Executive Co-Director (Honorary) Animal Aid Charitable Trust, Udaipur is a native of USA and was born in Melbourne Australia. Her education was private and she does not hold any advanced degree. She has learned Hindi by studying  with tutors, attending Landuar Language School in Mussoori and by simply using it every day to communicate with her many non-English-speaking staff. She has attended and presented papers on subjects of sheltering and using  social media to help animals at India for Animals 2012, Chennai and India for Animals 2014 Jaipur. She has addressed more than 100 schools and community groups over the past ten years on animal protection-related subjects. She has also created and produced more than 150 animal rescue videos which have an aggregate viewing of more than 500 million making animal Aid Unlimited the most well-known charity in India (in any field of ‘seva’)  and one of the most popular animal channels in the world.

          Talking about the reason for choosing animal protection, Claire says that all her life she has been stirred by the intelligence, curiosity, and sensitivity of all animals. Their abuse, whether deliberate abuse or accidents or neglect or from ignorance, all stems from our assumption that they are only here on earth for us to use or ignore. Rescuing animals in distress- especially those with no guardian, who live on the street- is such an important part of awakening the compassion in people. When people see their rescue team helping up a wounded calf or a dog recently hit by a car, it is very moving and emotional. Rescue helps people realize that we can all help someone live, and that animal lives matter, even if they are street animals and have no ‘value’ they are valuable inherently. She dreams of a day when no animal is used and treated as a commodity, whether it’s for meat, milk, their skin, fur, etc. Animals have the right to live just as we do. Human cruelty knows no limits nor does our capacity for compassion.

          About the scenario of animal protection, Clair says that when she was a child of 5, her parents started coming regularly to Udaipur as tourists from America. By about 2000 they realized there were no services for unowned street animals in Udaipur, so they all three decided to change their lives and start to help them- initially in a very small way, just renting the room of a neighbour in Hawala where they could help sick street dogs with rest and food. But in 2002 they hired a vet and built a simple, small hospital and kennels in Hawala, and this was where Animal Aid Unlimited started. As they came to live in Udaipur full time their experiences grew, the knowledge they had of the city and  its animals and people increased and today in 2018 they employ 80 full time staff, and receive about 50 requests to rescue animals every day. They try to treat as many on the street where they are, because it is better for the animals not to have the stress of a long ambulance ride and hospitalization with other animals but each day they admit about 20 new patients. They leased 5 bigas in Badi, where most days they have about 600 animals in treatment or shelter.

          An increasing number of rescue requests come from young people who have heard Animal Aid’s presentations in their classrooms. They think that at least 50 percent of the people who phone them to rescue an animal learned about their service from their children. Animal Aid addresses schools 4-6 times each week during about 9 months of the year.

          Claire thinks that love, patience and persistence are the qualities that animal lovers should have. They should not stop trying to help. Believe in the power of goodness and believe that when we scatter seeds of kindness, some of them will take root. We may not know when, how, or by whom, but kindness spreads.

          The most difficult part of animal rescue and protection is seeing animals suffer because of total human cruelty and neglect. They rescue dogs with broken spines almost every day simply because drivers wouldn’t slow down when a dog was passing but were in such a hurry, and then the dog will never walk again. They rescue baby calves not more than a day old who have been thrown out on to the road without their mothers from dairy farms because they are male and of no use to the dairy owner. It’s so easy to prevent immense suffering, but people need to be willing to open their eyes and hearts just a little bit to understand what the animals are going through, and the fact that they just want to live. They don’t ask for money, for a house, for clothes… they just ask to live.

          Claire’s greatest mentors have been her parents. They have worked together all these years. They have nurtured compassion in her and given her the incredible opportunity of helping animals since a young age.

          Claire loves to sing, and she loves dance, including traditional Rajasthani dance.

          She loves Udaipur because it is home. She loves the Aravali hills, the beautiful lakes and of course all the animals.           Udaipurites have no words to express their deep sense of gratitute to Claire, her father James Myers and mother Erika Abrams for their wonderful work for animal protection and creating awareness about it in the people of Lake City.

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