Posted On 28/02/2012 By In Investigation & Analysis With 948 Views

The Voice of Stray Dogs’ editorial policy & the raison d’être

This is a quick summary of the editorial thrust and construct of ‘The Voice of Stray Dogs’ (VoSD). These were written down when we started and have been shared privately but its time make it available to anyone who cares.

Since July 2011 we have been investigating and bringing you non/counter intuitive insights on the ABC program specifically in Bangalore, and news and analysis on issues pertaining to stray dogs from everywhere. While there has been some appreciation, there has also been sharp criticism of the role of VoSD. Personal criticism does bother us, but I care to explain for the readers who joined us late.

  • VoSD is harming the ABC program (in Bangalore & elsewhere) by bringing out skeletons from the closet: The opportunity, and indeed responsibility, to monitor was of the BBMP. Since it was relinquished and that was calling for dog culls repeatedly, we started shouldering some of it.

As a broader argument – more and better quality of information and disclosure can’t be a bad thing.

  • VoSD is baying for the blood of some specific Animal Welfare Organizations (AWOs) and we should concentrate of the ‘bad’ AWO’s: Interestingly while a lot of the ecosystem sees AWOs as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ – we don’t. Also interestingly there is nothing to be said when the ‘bad’ AWOs are reported on –  criticism is sharp when we have something to say for the ‘good’ AWOs.

I can assure our readers that the only reason for existence for VoSD is so that we can bring you the truth as we see it, and not worry about the pulls and pressures.

  • VoSD highlights the ‘bad’ parts about ABC and AWO’s not the good parts: AWO’s own websites, Facebook pages, and in some cases considerable marketing muscle that extends to the bureaucracy in India and awareness and fund collection outside India – projects their ‘good’ parts successfully we’re sure. That’s not really VoSDs responsibility.  Having said that we’ve reported on many AWOs doing very well, but those articles are not the ones who get noticed!

However VoSD has done more analysis and published more on the efficacy of ABC  than almost any AWO we know.

  • VoSD is killing the income source of AWOs by publishing ‘against’ them: A quick analysis shows this – that of the $8-$10 Billion in funds coming into India to the NGO sector – and growing at 30% – those  coming for animals in the non-wildlife category is so small its not even being reported. We estimate this to be in multiple of $ 100K not even perhaps in millions. So the quantum of this impact is suspect. Another data point is that for the largest recipients of funds today in the NGO sector, the largest amount of counter information is available wrt their use of funds etc, but they continue to raise funds.

Besides better disclosure should mean a discerning donor and more deserving AWO’s get funded.

  • VoSD does not work with the ‘agencies’ in the ecosystem including the municipal corporations and other AWO’s: For a simple reason – one can’t be completely in the system and speak about it impartially. If BBMP were to be able to listen to pleadings of dog-lovers and hear the cries of dogs – it would have in all these years; if AWOs could have put in better monitoring mechanisms by themselves to ease the suffering to botched captures, surgeries, drops – they could have too.

Actually they still can.

  • VoSD should share information privately with the concerned part but it makes everything public: I’ve answered this many times when personally being told this – if we have information we will publish. We do NOT perform this function as an outsourced organ of an existing entity. To our belief the moment we bring our ‘judgement’ on who it favors or impacts adversely and to publish or not – the information will be colored and not in compliance with that’s said above.

Selectively publishing information is to our mind – blackmail

‘The Voice of Stray Dogs’ is committed to bringing you the unadulterated reality faced by the stray dog everyday. We’ve chosen to be (one of) their voice(s) and we take it very seriously.

I leave you with our mission statement that I wrote the day we started, it still remains, and its carried in every mail that we write: ‘The Voice of Stray Dogs’ is a not for profit organization. Our charter is to analyze data & report and help form legal, civic and media opinion on strays. We seek to keep municipal corporations, AWOs & NGO’s honest through correct actionable information.

PS: The author may have a caustic writing style, but that does not adulterate the truth nor does it change facts and data points. We’ll continue to write it that way!

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