Chennai man creating world of compassion with his animal rescue mission

Chennai activist hopes to rescue animals from across TN, proving not all heroes wear capes

Published: 24th July 2022 05:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th July 2022 02:40 PM   |  A+A-

Antony Rubin started working towards animal welfare as a Class 11 student | Ashwin Prasath

Antony Rubin started working towards animal welfare as a Class 11 student. (Photo | Ashwin Prasath)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Growing up in his grandmother’s house at Alwarpet, Antony Rubin would often look at the flocking birds and loitering animals through the rusty window panes. Suffering from dyslexia, the young boy’s thoughts and hands were not in sync. “I could not decode words, people could not understand me since there was so much stigma around it,” he says, adding that an IQ test done on him in Class 4 proved that he had the IQ of a third-year engineering student.

When he reached Class 11, Antony decided to volunteer for an NGO and test the waters in working towards animal welfare. This was when he realised the purpose of his life: helping out animals. “Working with the team, we would catch overloaded bullock carts and file cases againsy trucks illegally transporting animals. Later, I was involved in a rescue operation to save animals from illegal slaughter,” recollects Antony, currently advising member of the State Board of Wildlife.

His tryst with saving animals reached a new level in 2002, after the use of wild animals including lions, panthers, monkeys and tigers was banned in circuses. He received a tip-off that four lions were caged in Virudhunagar, and that the people behind it where hiding in pockets of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. “To my utter shock, the lions were kept in a rusted cage and fed vegetarian food and animal fat. Outside the caravan, life went on as usual with tea, laundry and departmental stores opened, and children casually played cricket,” Antony said, shuddering at that sight.

When his pleas to the government failed miserably, he made an attempt by driving to Chennai to inform the media about the incident, and took them to the spot. “The pressure from media made the government take action. All four lions were shifted to an animal rescue centre in Vandalur,” Antony says with a laugh.
This was followed by the rescue of four chimpanzees and numerous horses from the Marina Beach that had been kept under cruel conditions. “One of the horses died in front of us. The government then initiated action and seized the horses that were not kept in good condition,” he adds.

Apart from this, the animal lover rescued Malabar squirrels and exotic species like peacocks and panthers reared by people to appear fashionable in Chennai. Such constant intervention invited death threats from those who rear horses and other wild animals for their livelihood.But the threats failed to deter Antony from caring about the environment.

Antony was in the spotlight recently when the Finance Minister, and a dog lover himself, Palanivel Thiagarajan thanked him on social media for assisting in the rescue of a seven-month-old golden retriever that was reunited with the family after a 40-day search. Ruby’s disappearance had sparked a furore when the FM tweeted about it. Antony and a team of activists created a video, which was circulated on social media. All food delivery boys in the area were tracked, and they zeroed in on the boy who took the dog away.

According to him, there is only one way to prevent animal cruelty and preserve the bubble of kindness, which is to spread awareness from school level. “The government should provide guidance to the students,”he adds.


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