Feeders is a feature documentary by Zcyphher about the lives, the labours, and the hardships faced by feeders – women who have taken it upon themselves of tirelessly feeding thousands of stray animals around the country.

Every night, millions of stray dogs and cats in India sleep hungry. Only a fraction of them get fed – Fed by Feeders

Feeders is a documentary which aims to tell the story that revolves around the lives of these heroic female justice warriors in India; women who fight the good fight against animal injustice and hunger. We bring to light the ordinary, everyday women, who are leaders of tiny revolutions in their own worlds, and who are committed to protecting the animals around them, for life.

They walk a lonely path of change, riddled with the hardships they face from society, and from their own minds – these warriors are brazen, sometimes beaten in spirit, but they are the compassionate agents of change of our society who find joy in giving.

So, who are these women, and what do they really do?

Feeders are ordinary humans, like you and me, who have voluntarily taken up the extraordinary role of protecting – with food, medicines, and love – the hundreds of animals in their vicinity. They not only feed these animals, but regularly vaccinate them against infectious animal-to-human diseases such as rabies, conduct first aid whenever an animal is in distress, and sterilize the animals by coordinating with NGOs or vets in the vicinity, thereby controlling their population. When there is a violent crime against a stray dog or cat, these feeders collect evidence and follow a legal path to justice.

Why do they do it, and who funds them?

The feeder community in most cities is largely self-financed, self-organized, and self-driven. They didn’t plan on spending their life’s savings on feeding stray animals. Nobody does.

“It starts with one kitten or dog following you home, and the empathy sets in almost immediately. Soon enough, you begin to notice all the animals who have no source of food and water in your street, then in your locality, and then the surrounding localities – and just like that you find yourself feeding a hundred animals with no particular agenda of your own other than the peace & joy of their little souls.”

-Reshma, 40, Feeder in Mumbai

Why women feeders?

In our 8 years of research on Feeders around the country, we have primarily encountered women who have taken the initiative to become mass feeders over several years, and continue to do so. There is no data to back this up because, let’s face it, India does not care about its stray population and those working for it. What we witnessed while shooting our documentary got us thinking, and on digging into this a little further, we found that universal research confirms our hypothesis – Women are more likely to support animal welfare and take initiative than men. Our analysis further crops from the theory and science behind ‘Women and Animal Advocacy.’ ‘In the past, women and animals were often equally considered as irrational and inferior. The animal advocacy movement – embracing animal rights, animal welfare, and anti-vivisectionism – has been disproportionately initiated and led by women over the years.’ A 1996 study of adolescents by Linda Pifer suggested that ‘factors that may partially explain this discrepancy include attitudes towards feminism and science, scientific literacy, and the presence of a greater emphasis on ‘nurturance or compassion’ amongst women’.

So, here we are, after 8 years of research and countless hours of animal work – with about 50% of the production for this documentary done, and now for the rest of it, we need backers.

Why crowdfunding?

This is a documentary that is not commercially profitable. We will not be able to get a production house to invest in it. But we need to tell this story. It’s high time we gave Feeders the respect and recognition they deserve in our communities. They cannot live in hiding. That is why the crowd is important. YOU, are important. Because your support and your opinion of this film is what matters. If you back this, it means you want to hear their story, understand their struggles and talk of them with pride – and that is all we need.

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