Animal lovers and cattle managers in the Faridabad region will soon have the opportunity to learn more about the medical status of the strays as well as their live stocks.
The philanthropic arm of the Vedanta Group, Anil Agarwal Foundation, recently signed an MoU with the Haryana government with an aim to promote animal welfare under the project, The Animal Care Organization (TACO).
Marking the launch of TACO, the Foundation adopted a Faridabad-based Tapobhoomi Gaushala. The event was attended by Krishan Pal Gurjar, Union Minister of State for Power and Heavy Industries, who formally handed over the Gaushala to the Director of Vedanta Limited, Priya Agarwal Hebbar, in the presence of Rajesh Nagar, MLA from Tigaon.
TACO aims to upgrade the shelter infrastructure and manage the animal shelter operations by partnering with KPMG for project design, National Veterinary Foundation for technical support and YODA, an animal welfare NGO, as the implementation partner.
Speaking on the occasion, Priya Agarwal Hebbar, Director, Vedanta Limited, said that the initiative was close to her heart as it not only addresses stray animals’ healthcare issues but also provides training to the aspiring veterinarians.
“We are aiming to develop a world-class infrastructure where we will provide shelter and medical checkups to stray animals. These infrastructures, equipped with some of the best-in-class facilities and equipment, will also act as training centres for aspiring veterinarians,” Hebbar said.
With the livestock population of approximately 535.78 million, India needs a vast veterinary infrastructure to ensure its well-being. Through TACO, the Foundation plans to initially support and strengthen veterinary healthcare services across Delhi-NCR regions, with an initial corpus of Rs 100 crore. Later, the initiative may expand its wings to other states and UTs in India.
The proposed multi-specialty veterinary hospital will focus on advanced animal healthcare, preventive veterinary care, spay and neuter programme, diagnostics, and mobile emergency care units. It will also work to rescue, rehabilitate, provide geriatric and palliative care, animal housing services, nutrition and overall well-being. And the Academy will provide/centre to provide short-term courses for different target groups, primarily veterinarians and para-professionals.
At the same time, animal lovers will be able to take special classes.
The Director of Vedanta Limited said: “Right now, the kind of education aspiring veterinarians get at the UK-based World Veterinary College is much more advanced than our local veterinary colleges. In the next five years, we aim to set up a world-class infrastructure and model that can be replicated in remote areas of the country.”
The Foundation is developing a holistic welfare program to address the ever-growing animal health and well-being challenges. It aims to work across a broad spectrum, ranging from medical research to capacity-building programs, from outreach and advocacy to investment in training animal health professionals.
The objective of this initiative is to create a safe, sustainable, and scalable ecosystem for animal welfare.
When asked about how the Foundation is planning to bring in doctors to treat strays and cattle, Hebbar said that the Foundation is eying to bring in global experts to train the young veterinarians and attend to critical cases.
“Currently, the majority of the veterinary graduates get vaccination-related cases. Hence, they are not in practice to attend severe cases that include injury or illness. At our Foundation, we focus on providing a combination of theoretical as well as practical knowledge to the young talents and preparing them for the future. And to do so, we aim to set up courses and bring in global talents and leading vets to train these students,” she said.
“Once we set the tone, we expect it to become a movement that everyone participates in. We can create the better infrastructure required for the animals. Today, we only have 40-50 per cent of total vets required in the country. They are so much in demand and we do not have enough veterinary institutes. In addition to this, we do not have as many people who are passionate enough to become veterinaries too. So, we need to get the word out there, and that’s what led to the inception of TACO.”
Other eminent dignitaries who attended the event, include Sanjay Joon, IAS, Divisional Commissioner Faridabad Division; Jitender Yadav, IAS, Deputy Commissioner, Faridabad; Yashpal, IAS, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Faridabad; and Md Imran Raza, IAS, Additional Deputy Commissioner, Faridabad.
The Anil Agarwal Foundation is the umbrella entity for Vedanta’s community and social initiatives. The focus areas are healthcare; women and child development; animal welfare projects; and sports initiatives.
The Foundation also aims to empower communities, transform lives and facilitate nation-building through sustainable and inclusive growth.