Speaker: Parag Agarwal

Reducing Animal Suffering: Compassion For All Sentient Beings

**Please note special time for this call.

As Parag Agarwal started moving up in his 35-year global career with Fortune 500 corporations, he began to notice a lot of suffering around him.  “I used to sit in a car with my son next to me playing with a toy while there were kids outside who were begging. Pretty early on, I decided I wanted to do something for the vulnerable.” 

His heart’s journey started with helping educate underprivileged children. But when his niece sent him videos showing how animals are abused in our society, “it opened a door of awareness for me which cannot be closed.” He decided to dedicate “the second innings of his life” to reducing the suffering faced by animals in India. In 2022, while also serving in his current role as CFO of Dr. Reddys, a multi-billion dollar Indian multinational pharma company, he co-founded India Animal Fund with the blessings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. India Animal Fund is a backbone organization for ecosystem development of the animal protection movement in India. It works to reduce animal exploitation – including their use for consumption, as objects of research and testing, and other forms of labor – and to enable them to live a life of dignity without fear, hunger, or confinement. 

“No one gets up thinking I am going to exploit and be cruel to an animal today,” he reflects. “But somehow it has become part of the system… The suffering of animals is intense.”  

In a relatively short period of time, IAF has been able to mobilize various stakeholders and has positively impacted the lives of thousands of animals.    

Parag has co-founded several other social impact organizations in this area, including Ahimsa Trust (an organization to catalyze more investment and leadership talent in the field of animal welfare), Plant-based Foods Industry Association (an industry body of plant-based alternatives start-ups), and Physicians’ Association for Nutrition (a body of doctors that educates medical professionals about nutrition). 

Another pivotal turning point in his life came more recently, when he sat a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat followed by extensive reading of Buddha's original teachings about the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. “This has been the start of my real inner transformation. I feel as if I have just taken a few steps on a very long and beautiful path.” 

Parag is a Chartered Accountant and a Company Secretary and has previously been associated with organizations such as Reckitt, Unilever, GSK Consumer Healthcare & Genpact. He is also the founder of TAP India Foundation with the vision of an India where no child is out of school. Parag’s family has taken a pledge to share 50% of their net worth with society, and are signatories to Living My Promise

Join us for a conversation with this passionate vegan and a voice for the vulnerable. 

The conversation will be moderated by former Awakin Calls guests Ariel Nessel and Rev. Bonnie Rose. Ari is currently focused on advancing the alternative proteins sector to address animal cruelty. Bonnie is a minister with Ventura's Center for Spiritual Living and has recently authored a book titled Dances with Dogs.

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