Mumbai: In honour of International Volunteer Day on 5 December, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has named Thane engineering student Prasad Suresh Chavan its 2018 Volunteer of the Year. Since joining PETA India as a volunteer two years ago for its youth outreach arm PETA Youth, Chavan has done everything from manning animal rights kiosks at popular events like Comic Con and Vivekanand Education Society's Institute of Technology (VESIT)'s Lit Festival to helping bring an animal protection message to children and more.
PETA Youth initiatives Chavan has helped advance include I, Chicken, a virtual reality experience that helps students consider what it feels like to be a chicken taken for slaughter and Save the Boy Child, which involves inviting students to watch a 60 second video about the routine killing of male calves and chicks by the dairy and egg industries since they can't produce milk or lay eggs.
As an active participant of PETA India's Compassionate Citizen program, Chavan has helped with school workshops aimed at giving children aged 8 through 12 a better understanding of and appreciation for animals. He has also helped with PETA India information tables at the Krazy Kids Karnival and Krackerjack Karnival in Mumbai.
"From encouraging scores of young people to ditch meat and dairy to helping children recognise it is cool to be kind, Prasad Suresh Chavan is always ready to lend animals a helping hand", says PETA India Youth Outreach Coordinator Shibani Mishra. "PETA India is thrilled to recognize him for inspiring compassion for animals in young people his signature positivity and dedication".
In addition to encouraging students across India to be kind to animals, Chavan has assisted PETA India in gathering information about the illegal use of spiked bits (or "thorns") to control horses used for weddings and rides; has rescued and treated many injured animals in his locality with the help of local animal welfare groups; and makes sure he gets all the strays in his area sterilised.
PETA India's motto reads, in part, that "Animals are not ours to abuse in any way."