Chairmans Blog

The Chairman's Blog

12th October 2014 - By John Hicks

The Chairman's Blog


John Hicks

One thing I have never been is a self publicist. I have always preferred to let others take the credit and always have encouraged the staff at IAR Goa to deal with the press, TV and radio whenever possible. However there are times I simply have to deal with such matters and over the years I have had to deal with the press extensively.

Many people criticize me for not being more aggressive regarding publicity, particularly over things like face book and writing blogs. My view has always been that I am better at handling animals than handling a lap top and it is the animals I relate to better than most people. Sadly at last I have been brow beaten into accepting what many believe was the inevitable, I have virtually been forced into writing a blog!

In all my 42+ years in animal welfare I think there has only ever been two photos of me I liked, one is of me on Vagator Beach with the pack of dogs I had sterilized when I first came to live in Goa. This photo is more about the dogs than me and it reminds me of those joyful days when I was just able to get on with helping animals without personalities getting in the way.

John and Nora
John and Nora

The other photo I refer to is the one published with this article. It shows me with Nora, a monkey I rescued from Calangute when she was being dragged around the streets used for begging. Although I was a specialist dog trainer in the British Royal Army Veterinary Corps training a wide range of dogs such as mine detection dogs, tracker dogs, drug dogs and the like and dogs were my first love, monkeys have now well and truly taken over my life. I am amazed how few people understand these amazing incredible creatures. This article is taking 10 times longer to type than it should because at the time of writing I have an orphaned baby langur monkey called Nissa jumping all over the key board determined to make me play with her instead of writing this, which I must admit is a far more enjoyable idea!

Anyway here I am reluctantly putting pen to paper, so as to speak. I cannot imagine why anyone would want to read this but I am committed to it now and from now on I shall force myself to do it every week. Just hope those reading this can force themselves to read it every week!

My wife and I are the founders of International Animal Rescue and International Animal Rescue Goa and I have just taken over as Chairman after a 6 months break. I was hoping I could leave IAR Goa to a very large extent so I could concentrate on my primate work but things did not go well for the charity. Sadly IAR Goa got into debit and could not afford to pay the staff their wages. Under the circumstances my wife, Jo, and I felt we had no option but to offer assistance and to arrange for the funds to pay off these debits and pay the staff wages.

We have also assured the committee that we would personally take care of the financial situation to ensure the smooth functioning of I.A.R. Goa for the immediate future. In addition to this we have also worked out a long term strategic plan with regards to the financial security needed by I.A.R. Goa which will ensure we never face financial problems in the future.

Before the committee was able to discuss these proposals in detail, Max (Mahesh Patel) offered his resignation from the post of the IAR Goa Chairman and as a committee member leaving the committee no other option than to accept the resignation which came as a complete surprise to the committee.

At a subsequent meeting I was then asked to take on the Chairmanship again. This is a role I had hoped I would not have to take on again but reluctantly I felt I had no choice.

Now I am back as Chairman I am already back handling horrendous cases of suffering. Last Thursday I was at the centre when we were asked to deal with an injured monkey. I immediately dashed to the scene to find a monkey that had been hit on the road two days before. It had a broken back and was in the most appalling state. On getting it back to the centre we were at last able to put it out of its misery. Late Friday night I was called out to a baby monkey that had been electrocuted along with its mother. The mother had died at some point but the baby was still just alive but sadly before I could get it to the centre it also died.

As you will, I am sure, be aware we have been working with Mission Rabies and the Worldwide Veterinary Service to both sterilize and vaccinate a huge number of dogs in Goa. I am delighted to report that the cooperation between all the animal groups in Goa was simply amazing and in just 6 months over 20,000 dogs were sterilized and vaccinated against rabies.

At a Mission Rabies meeting to mark the end of the campaign the audience were reminded that it was IAR Goa along with People For Animals that not only put an end to dog shooting in the State by going to the High Court but we also launched the first mass sterilization of stray animals in the State. These facts I am personally very proud of.

We are now about to launch a new mass sterilization of owner dogs and cats and I am particularly grateful to Astrid, Nikhil, Manek and Loveleen who are all vets that previously worked for me at IAR Goa and are now helping again with this vital role of sterilization.

Thank you for your time patience whilst reading this!

With best regards

John Hicks