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The Toll of Ambiguity in the Government’s Culling Orders

Discussions on culling had moments that were difficult to comprehend – especially since India claims to be a leader of wildlife research in the region.

The media extensively covered the debate around culling during May and June 2016. A spat between two cabinet ministers underscored the sound and fury. A spate of culling orders, December 2015 onwards allowed for wildlife to be killed in large numbers. As Neha Sinha wrote in The Wire in June 2016,

Wild species are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 – all except vermin. These vermin include animals like rats, crows and insects like termites. In the case of damage to human life, protected wild animals, like ‘man-eating’ tigers or leopards and ‘rogue’ elephants can be killed or removed, while individuals of others species with lower levels of protection, like nilgai and wild boars, can be killed or removed on specific orders even if they damage property. Moving from the occasional act of removing individual animals toward the more active decision to declare entire species as vermin has been seen as populist, and as coming at the cost of good management. [Prakash] Javadekar says he is helping farmers, while [Maneka] Gandhi questions the human-centric move of shooting the animals. A series of broad orders by states now allow animals to be killed, implying that they can also be trapped or tortured without the need to report back to the state.

The Supreme Court has since refused to stay the Central government’s notifications allowing for nilgai, rhesus macaque and wild boars to be declared vermin under section 62 of the Wildlife Protection Act (WLPA). Bihar, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh were the states affected.

There is very little understanding on how the situation has shaped in these states after the culling decisions. This also stands true for Maharashtra and Telangana where the state governments (under section 11(b) of WLPA) have permitted culling. Critical questions remain unanswered; from the number of animals killed to whether culling has had an impact on the human wildlife conflict situation.

Madhya Pradesh has used helicopters and horses to capture nilgai and move them to forests. This approach has led to lines in the press like “a scene resembling hallmark cowboy movies of Hollywood”. The number of nilgai and conflict locations the forest department will be able to address using this method is unknown. Also, while department officials appear to have colour-marked the animals captured, what prevents the ‘red’ nilgai from venturing out of the sanctuaries they are released in and into nearby crop fields? Above all, is this financially viable?

Karnataka has allowed the culling of wild boars across the state. A conservationist who did not want to be named said that no one from the Bengaluru wildlife community on his Facebook list even shared the news, let alone discuss it.

Himachal Pradesh decided to pay Rs 500 for each rhesus macaque killed – yet no one did any killing. The state then contemplated entrusting the task to its two eco-battalions, which otherwise ensure conservation of its urban forests. It also came up with an audacious plan to translocate the monkeys to Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.

Discussions on culling had moments that were difficult to comprehend – especially since India claims to be a leader of wildlife research in the region.

The Supreme Court had asked each of the three petitioners – Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations and Gauri Maulekhito – to make representations to the environment ministry.

In reply to one of these representations, the ministry stated, “Blue Bull (Nilgai), Wild Boar or Macaque are known as not very preferred prey … even within the forests”. Two days later, in the court, the petitioners presented the ‘Status of Tigers, Co-predators and Prey in India’ reports, besides other documents. These reports, by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), mention the blue bull and the wild boar as being tiger prey. The WII is an autonomous institution of the environment ministry while the NTCA is a statutory body under the ministry. In other words, the ministry had contradicted its own documents.

Abi Tamim Vanak, of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bengaluru, has suggested that a sound and robust scientific management plan is needed to systematically evaluate each intervention option using advanced modelling and decision support tools instead of winging the implementation.

On the other hand, Arpan Sharma, of the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations, said that they were opposed to killing animals as a means of controlling a problem that had been created by treating animals as objects of human use. Further, there is little clarity on the number of animals that exist, which groups or individuals from this population are actually in conflict and what is driving that conflict. On top of it there is no mechanism in place to ensure that the conditions stipulated by the culling orders are adhered to. It is a free for all situation coupled with ambiguity.

Date : 03 January 2017

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New Delhi (December 7 2016): In a monumental decision for animals in circuses, the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) has passed orders cancelling its recognition to 21 circuses. This means that circuses across the country (except Ajanta circus, whose animals are under scrutiny) can no longer house wild animals like elephants. The CZA has passed these orders following official inspections in which extreme cruelty to animals was reported. Dr. D N Singh, head of CZA said “in addition to the written reports, we commissioned photo and video footage of animals kept in circuses and what we saw was horrible. The conditions in which animals were kept in these circuses were far below the recommended standards. This is no way to keep any animal, let alone a heritage animal like the elephant. The CZA, taking serious note of the same, cancelled recognition to all these circuses”. Going a step further, the CZA has directed the Chief Wildlife Wardens of states to rehabilitate the elephants from derecognized circuses.

**The complete list of all circuses prohibited from keeping wild animals is given in the annexure.

Prashanth V, Senior Campaign Manager, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) said “we welcome the move by the CZA which is a validation of the fact that circuses are universally cruel to animals. The process of training animals to perform unnatural tricks is inherently abusive, as shown in the inspection reports. FIAPO reiterates its appeal to the ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to take note of this and ban the use of all animals in circuses”.

FIAPO’s End Circus Suffering, campaign has so far enabled the rehabilitation of more than 160 abused animals from 15 circuses. The Federation, supported by 82 members and over 200 NGOs nationwide, has also submitted a detailed report of the ‘State of Animals in Circuses in India’ to the MoEF&CC. FIAPO’s investigations have shown animals with broken bones; infectious diseases; permanent physical and mental disorders; crippled animals that can’t even walk being forced by circuses to perform tricks.

More than 40 organisations and 100 activists from 16 states have been involved with detecting and reporting cruelty to animals in circuses, as part of the End Circus Suffering campaign initiated by the Federation. The campaign has revealed violation of multiple provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (PCA) and the Preforming Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001 (PARR) by circuses. From cutting the flight feathers of birds to chaining elephants with spikes, circuses train animals under the harshest conditions to make them perform acts that are completely unnatural to them. The entire process of breaking these innocent creatures during training includes burning them with hot iron, piercing their genitals, threatening them with fire, tying them for days on end without food or water among other gruesome acts. Displaying such abused creatures for entertainment is a reflection of circuses’ callous attitude towards suffering of animals.

Date : 07 December 2016

Dy Mayor of Jaipur stands up against cruelty to cattle

Jaipur, 16th October: Dy Mayor, Jaipur Shri. Manoj Bhardwaj strongly condemned cruelty by dairy establishments and assured the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) of stern action against the perpetrators.

Shocked by the callousness of the Government of Rajasthan and their refusal to take action against the illegalities in the dairy industry, FIAPO, with its member organisation Seva Samarpan, Raksha, met with Shri. Manoj Bhardwaj, Dy Mayor, Jaipur Municipal Corporation, and discussed several disturbing statistics about the condition of dairy cattle. The Federation also shared the findings of the undercover investigation conducted by the federation and its members in 49 dairies across four cities in June this year.

In addition to the ‘State of dairy cattle in Rajasthan’ report, FIAPO also shared new evidence against 10 dairies that have violated the Prevention of CrueltytoAnimals (Registration of Cattle Premises) Rules, 1978 and the Rajasthan Municipal Act, 2009, along with complaints from the citizens of Jaipur.

Shri. Manoj Bhardwaj said,“ ‘Cattle cruelty is a significant problem in Rajasthan, and we must continue to collect evidence against the dairies. We are supportive of FIAPO’s recommendations and findings from the collected evidence and assure them of full commitment to protect the dairy cattle of Rajasthan “.

“Shri Manoj Bhardwaj’s support is very encouraging; especially after the disappointments we have been facing from all authorities in the state. There are inadequate laws that exist for cattle in Rajasthan and whatever little is there is not enforced. The ground reality is that the treatment of cattle is entirely different from what the dairy establishments want us to believe and they fear no one. Cattle are subjected to extreme cruelty from birth to death and we wanted to bring this forth in our discussion with Shri. Bhardwaj. We are certain that with his support we will be able to make a difference in the lives of thousands of animals that perish ever day. We are happy that Municipal Corporation will now take notice and hold defaulting establishments accountable for their action.” said Varda Mehrotra, Director, FIAPO

Speaking on the occasion, Jaivardhan Bhardwaj, Seva Samarpan said,”We are happy with the response we have received from Shri Manoj Bhardwaj. Seva Samarpan has been working with FIAPO to improve the condition of cattle in Rajasthan and we will make all efforts to ensure the movement is implemented at the earliest.”


Mohit Joshi, RAKSHA shared. “We need more leaders like Shri Bhardawaj, who have a positive outlook towards animals and understand the need of taking adequate measure to improve their living condition. We are sure it will go a long way in our fight to protect dairy animals in the state.”

Date : 16th October 2016

Citizens of Jaipur File FIRs for Immediate Action against Unparalleled Cruelty to Cows in Dairies

Jaipur, 8th October:Withrising anger against the immense cruelty that cattle are subjected to in dairies across Rajasthan, citizens of Jaipur today started a campaign to file FIRs and complaints demanding immediate action against the perpetrators in dairies.

A protest was held outside Malviya Nagar police station in Jaipur, where anF.I.R filing activitywas initiatedagainst the dairies that have been mistreating cattle.

India’s apex animal protection organisation, Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) also launched a tip-off line for those who would like to anonymously complain about the cruelty to animals in Rajasthan. Since the tip-off line has been launched, complaints from across the state have been flooding in, showing grave concern for the ill-treatment of cows in Rajasthan.

In June, the FIAPO released an undercover investigation that was conducted in 49 dairies across four cities in Rajasthan with shocking findings – illegal sale of calves for slaughter, the use of banned and illegal drugs such as Oxytocin; lack of basic infrastructure, inadequate food and veterinary care for cattle were a common occurrence across all dairies investigated.

FIAPO had earlier shared the findings with PrabhuLal Saini, the Minister of Agriculture, asking for implementation of law and of a code for standard welfare of dairy cattle. However, no action has been taken so far. It is shocking that these are the conditions of the only state which has a cow ministry in the country.               However, the Ministershirked all responsibility and turned the issue down stating that “Crimes happen every day, it is the duty of the society to prevent these, Ministries cannot do much in this situation. So many laws are made every day such as preventing smoking, but not all get implemented to punish violators. We cannot ask an animal owner to keep their animals in a particular manner, it is their personal matter”.

“We are shocked at the apathy of the Minister and the regulatory authorities. Even the inadequatelawss that exist for the cattle of Rajasthan are not enforced, resulting in shocking and immense suffering to Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Registration of Cattle Premises) Rules, 1978 and the Rajasthan Municipal Act, 2009, clearly state the requirement of registering dairy premises under these Rules, failure of which may lead to seizure of animals and sealing of the dairy premises. But the authorities seem to be turning a blind eye to the pitiable condition of dairy animals. With citizens filing FIRs to demand action, it is really a wake-up call for the authorities. We urge more people to join us by contacting our tip-off line.” said VardaMehrotra, Director, FIAPO

Date : 15th Oct 2016

Don’t Get Milked: National Agency says to Indian youth

A campaign depicting the cruelty that exists in the dairy industry

(Delhi, 26, September, 2016): Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisation (FIAPO), today, launched a nationwide campaign to create awareness around the rampant cruelty and insensitivities that exist in the dairy industry. The #Don’tGetMilked campaign questions the age old belief of milk and milk products being a source of nourishment for humans and the high price dairy animals have to pay for it, sometimes by death.

India is the highest producer of milk in the world, yet the gross ill-treatment and deplorable condition of dairy cattle is evident from the recent cases of cattle death in Rajasthan and in similar cases across the country.

With the launch of the campaign, the Federation has revealed shocking truths of modern-diaries which are kept under wraps like illegal sale of calves for slaughter, use of banned and illegal drugs such as Oxytocin to increase milk production, artificial impregnation and inadequate food and veterinary care for cattle. The yearlong campaign has been launched aimed at educating and encouraging young Indians to switch to dairy alternates.

Varda Mehrotra, Director, FIAPO said “Drinking milk is cruel and the idea of milk being a great source of nourishment for humans is absolutely misleading. Like humans, cattle produce milk as a feed for their young and once the animal is of a certain age the milk production stops. But the dairy industry has been playing on this lie and fabricating tales for its own benefit. We at FIAPO want people to know the facts and cruelty of the industry and tell them that alternate cruel free methods exist, in case they want to opt for them.”

The DontGetMilked site will also ask people to ‘MAKE A PROMISE’ against brutality and live a cruelty free life.

Rambo madness should stop!

Pune (September 8, 2016) : The recent incident where an elephant belonging to Rambo circus created panic in Pune has brought the focus back on Rambo circus’ cruelty to animals. The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) has released strongly report which states that animals in the circus are unfit for performance. The reports point out multiple abnormalities in all animals belonging to the circus, including the elephant Anar who was so aggrieved by the ill treatment that she went on a rampage across the city.

The report, prepared after detailed medical examinations by experienced veterinarians from the animal husbandry department clearly mention that the elephants are mentally very stressed and frustrated due to lack of opportunity to express natural behaviour. Other problems include eye infections, foot infections, ear infection, lesions on body, tick infestation to mention a few. The dogs and horses belonging to the circus were also reported to show aggressive behaviour due to constant hitting and restraining by the circus. As evidence of the abuse, the animals showed broken bones, scars and fresh wounds on the body, which were not given any medical treatment by the circus.

Prashanth V, Senior campaign manager, FIAPO said “the report establishes beyond doubt that animals at Rambo circus are a sorry, abused lot and need to be rehabilitated immediately. We were fortunate that no one was injured in yesterday’s incident, but the circus cannot guarantee that it won’t happen again. In fact, as the reports say, they don’t know the basics of caring for animals. Punekars, who are such believers in lord Ganpati must not let such atrocities happen to his live incarnation”

Instances of elephants abused by circuses running ‘amok’ have been clearly linked to the handlers ill treating the animals continuously. Last year, a person was killed when an elephant belonging to Natraj circus behaved the same way, and an elephant belonging to Ajanta circus had to be restrained by the forest department when the circus had no means control the animal. It is time we woke up to circus cruelty and rehabilitate all animals which are routinely tortured to perform unnatural tricks in the ring. The reports have spoken and so have the animals. The government needs to act now and ban the use of all animals in circuses, including the mighty cruel Rambo circus.

Date : 8 September 2016


Trivandrum (1 Sep): Admist news of proposed illegal culls and human-dog conflict in Kerala, K.T. Jaleel, Local Self Government Minister and T.K. Jose, Principal Secretary, Department of Local Self Government met representatives of animal protection organizations and confirmed that no culling of street dogs will be undertaken and immediate measures will be put in place to conduct Animal Birth Control across Kerala.

“No such orders have been issued or will be issued. The Local Self Government Department (LSGD) is committed to implementing the Animal Birth Control (ABC) Programme as a priority in the state. This government will ensure that the programme starts at the earliest”, confirmed Jaleel.

Representatives from the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIPAO), and other Kerala based animal protection NGOs – People For Animals Trivandrum, Humane Society International/India, Street Dog Watch, PAWS Thrissur

appraised the Minister about proposals that have been submitted by NGOs to various District Panchayats/Municipalities/ Municipal Corporations and that have remained unimplemented, leading to an exacerbation of the situation and public impatience.

Arpan Sharma, Director, FIAPO, a national body of animal NGOs added “We are encouraged by the assurances made by the Minister, and we are now expecting quick action to start ABC that will ultimately prevent dog bites and human-dog conflict. Our member organizations will be meeting local authorities across the state to ensure that immediate action is taken and we expect that the minister will stand by his promise.”

Other points conveyed by the Secretary, LSGD were:

1. The government has decided to start a 3-year non-stop ABC drive in the state to curb stray dog population.

2. In places where there is a lot of reported problems, it will start immediately. In other places it will start by November, 2016.

4. The District collectors of each District have been designated the job of coordinating ABC.

5. The local bodies have been granted permission to use their own funds and plan funds to do ABC.

6. The government will ensure that there is no resource crunch for ABC projects.

7. The LSGD website is being update with all the details regarding the projects, Government Orders and instructions and also the relevant Acts and rules including the PCA Act, 1960.

8. The Government welcomes participation of NGOs and NGIs in this project. All those who wish to help should register with the District Collector. Shri. TK Jose also suggested that wherever there are enough individual volunteers it will be good to have them registered as an NGO so that the Government can tie up with them easily.

9. There has to be a very active discussion on how to make available the necessary human resources and infrastructure.

10. A blog will be started in the LSGD website which will be interactive so that success stories can be posted.

Following the meeting, Latha Indira of PFA Trivandrum said, “We are relieved and grateful that the government is on the right side of the law and that mass killing has not been ordered and will not be ordered”.

Preethi Sreevalsan of PAWS Thrissur, who was also at the meeting, added “we were quite discouraged that despite repeated representations, the local self-government bodies were not starting ABC. After the meeting, we trust that this situation will change”.

Sally Kannan of H S I quoted “we are glad that the minister is in agreement that ABC is the way forward. This is a major step forward in relieving Kerala of repeated incidences of dog bites.”

Mary Muscroft of Street Dog Watch said, “we have high expectations off the new government. We look forward to these assurances being translated to action.”


Date : 2 September 2016



Local Govt and NGOs implement permanent solution to end human-dog conflict in Kerala

Trivandrum (24 Aug): In light of the recent reports of human-dog conflict in Pulluvilla, local authorities and Kerala animal protection organisations PFA Trivandrum and Street Dog Watch have joined forces to provide immediate and long-term solutions to human-dog conflict in the region. Organizations will soon be starting Animal Birth Control (ABC) for dogs in the Panchayat, along with anti-rabies vaccination of all dogs and awareness drives to prevent dog bites. The Panchayat welcomed the proposal and also declared that it would make the requisite budget available for ABC.

NGOs also welcomed the statement from the Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan for implementing Animal Birth Control across the state.

Arpan Sharma, Director, FIAPO said “Vaccination and sterilization of street dogs is the only legal and scientific way that reduces and prevents dog bites and rabies. Adequate infrastructure for a large-scale ABC programme should be provided, and we are very glad that the Chief Minister and the local authorities are taking such positive steps to implement this.”

Increasing population of street dogs is attributed to the poor waste management and waste dumping – a problem which the victim’s son pointed out to be the main cause for dogs turning aggressive. Local citizens have also joined this initiative to form a vigilance group to prevent waste dumping.

In addition, the tourism department also has sanctioned a project for ABC in Puluvilla. These actions are in line with the Animal Welfare Board of India’s latest directive to the state government to start ABC immediately and offer to support the same.

Municipal Corporation Fails to Implement Law to Prevent Dog-Bites

Nashik (12 August, 2016): In light of the recent reported dog bites, the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisation (FIAPO) has asked the Municipal Corporation of Nashik, Maharashtra to implement a large-scale Animal Birth Control programme to provide a long-term solution that ensures human and animal welfare instead of resorting to short-term, ineffective and illegal methods that displace or destroy dogs.

The Animal Birth Control programme, by which street dogs are caught, surgically made sterile and then left at their original territories after being administered a preventive shot of rabies, is one of the most successful programmes in many Indian cities like Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai. It is also one of the effective ways known to prevent dog bites and rabies.

The ABC programme currently undertaken by the Municipal Corporation is inadequately small and thus completely ineffective. Research shows that at least 70% of the dogs need to be sterilised for the programme to have an impact, whereas the current coverage of the NMC is nowhere near that. In a recent order Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, it has been held that, “it is suffice to say that all the State municipal corporations, municipal committees, district boards and local bodies shall be guided by the Act and the Rules and it is the duty and obligation of the Animal Welfare Board to see that they are followed with all seriousness. It is also the duty of all the municipal corporations to provide infrastructure as mandated in the statute and the rules.”

It was further observed that, “no innovative method or subterfuge should be adopted not to carry out the responsibility under the 1960 Act or the 2001 Rules. Any kind of laxity while carrying out statutory obligations is not countenanced in law.”  Relocation of dogs is not only illegal, but also causes a dog- vacuum in that location which gives way to the untreated non vaccinated dogs who are not familiar with the locality and often bark at the people crossing by to mark and claim their new territory. It also inhibits from keeping a check on the number of sterilized dog count in the city. Animal Birth Control (dogs), 2001, prohibits the relocation of these animals after treatment.

Varda Mehrotra, Director, FIAPO said “The only scientific and legal method to control dog-population, and to reduce the incidence of dog-bites and rabies is for the Municipal Corporation to run a large-scale Animal Birth Control programme. The Animal Birth Control Rules obligates the local authority to conduct sterilization and immunization  as a method to control street dogs and if the Municipal Corporation is indeed concerned about the increased dog-bites, it should immediately provide adequate infrastructure and set-up a large-scale ABC programme.” “


Date : 12 August 2016