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India's animal lifetline

ANIMALS

An animal welfare activist in southern India has set up an organisation that aims to save animals in urgent need of blood transfusions. Animal Bloodline provides a nationwide list of animals registered as blood donors. The man behind the idea is Shiva Kumar Varma, who, as a child, rescued injured animals from the streets and transported them to the nearest veterinary hospital. Once treated, Varma would drop the animals off at the spot he found them.

Recently, Varma discovered a badly injured dog that’d been in a road accident. It needed more than 30 stitches. “The operation was a success,” says Varma, “but because of heavy bleeding, the dog expired after two days.” The incident prompted Varma to research animal blood services and, to his astonishment, he found there were only a couple of animal blood banks in the whole of India. “Imagine a situation where there are no blood banks!” says Varma. Travelling the country in order to learn more, he discovered a complete lack of awareness about animal donors. Further, there was no central database of donors available.

Animal Bloodline now provides that database. The website offers a free service that can link animal donors and those animals in urgent need of a transfusion. “People don’t know where to go, whom to approach, and how to find blood for their pets,” says Varma. Varma is now spreading awareness of his organisation to pet owners, activists, and vets in metro cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai before moving on to smaller regions across India.

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