News & Events Categories News on Animals in India

Neon collars to avoid road kills

CHANDIGARH: Disheartened by increasing number of road accidents of dogs, members of Panchkula Animal Welfare Association have started a new initiative of putting neon collars on their necks. They got around 70 collars for Rs 50-60 each from Indore and are now planning to order more.

The main idea was given by Meenakshi Mahapatra and executed by her, Neenu Sodhi, Nidhi Anad, Gunjan Rastogi, and Ivneet Kataria.
“We have started to put neon collars on dogs for their safety on the streets. I really want to thank Rimjhim and Tushar from Indore for providing us the collars. They had been using them there and we have adopted the same here keeping in view the growing number of accidents involving dogs,” said Meenakshi.

“Recently, five to six accidents were reported in Panchkula itself. The most recent was of an abandoned Labrador that died after a day of treatment. On July 23, one more accident was reported,” she said.

The group members are further planning to extend the drive with the help of other animal lovers from the Tricity. “On Facebook, we are promoting the initiative as more the word spreads, the more dogs will be safe. If anyone wants the collars, they can contact us. The idea is to reach out to as many dogs,” she added.

They are also planning to write phone numbers on them and stick them with the help of glue so that they are not stolen. “Two of the collars that we put on dogs in Sector 5, Panchkula got stolen on Sunday. We are trying to ensure it doesn’t happen again,” she said.

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Date : 26 July 2017

Man-elephant friendship brews in tea estate

Each year, tea estates in Assam collectively yield around 680.5 million kg of tea. The north-east state is the largest tea growing terrain in the world. And elephants often pay the price for the produce with their lives.

India consumes about 70 per cent of the tea produced in the country. And they can’t seem to have enough of it. As a result more and more forest lands are levelled to fashion tea estates.

This creates territorial and other conflicts between man and animal. One of the animals most affected by tea plantations in Assam is the elephant, reports a blog, The Better India. The conflict resulting from forest land encroachment has killed scores of elephants. Humans too have suffered casualties.

But at least two tea estates in Assam are thinking differently to find a solution. The farms are located in Udalguri district of Assam. And they have been certified elephant-friendly.

The farms have entered into a partnership with Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network and the University of Montana in the US for guidance and certification.

The tea estates are owned by Tenzing Bodosa. Unlike most other plantations, Bodosa’s estates do not just grow tea. “I plant trees like guava, jackfruit and others. There are no big trenches or fencing in my farms, which provides an easy passage for the movement of elephants,” Bodosa was quoted as saying.

The trees give an illusion to the elephants that they are still in a familiar habitat, and helps them to be calm.

Recently the Telegraph newspaper quoted Julie Stein, executive director, Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network, as saying: “Our goal is to support conservation of elephants while providing opportunity for tea growers to obtain premium prices for their tea, based on the idea that consumers love great tea and want to make sure the tea they drink is not harmful to elephants.” This involves conservation of water resources and stock elephant feeds, so that they don’t feel threatened and become violent.

The measures of a cup of elephant-friendly tea includes removal of barriers to “elephant movement between habitat areas, elimination of electrocution risks from fencing and power lines, elimination of drainage ditch hazards and elimination of risk of poisoning of elephants.”

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Date : 26 July 2017

Despite warnings on animal deaths, deer seen eating garbage in IIT Madras

The IIT Madras campus is home to many deer and blackbucks. But the animals are dying in large numbers inside the campus because of speeding vehicles and garbage strewn inside on the sides of the roads. While activists have been raising the issue for several years now, a photo taken by a student inside the campus recently shows that not much has been done to address it.

A deer was caught on camera eating paper recently, and there was more garbage, including plastic, strewn around.

Speaking to TNM, Antony Rubin, honourary animal welfare officer of Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), said, “For weeks the garbage is not cleaned up inside the campus. Even Tamil Nadu Pollution Control says in its report that garbage is a big problem and plastic is everywhere.”

He added that IIT has put up a stall in the blackbuck area, and that the whole area is destroyed. “They have made it to a mela for orientation programmes for freshers,” said Antony.

The garbage – and the increasing footfall inside the campus – have proven fatal for many animals. Just a month back, a fawn was hit by a vehicle and died, the driver was caught by the security guards and the forest officials were informed about the incident.

Antony Rubin had filed an RTI on April 6, 2017, questioning the number of deaths of deer and blackbuck in the campus. “It was quite shocking. 220 deer and 8 blackbuck had died between 2014 and 2016, but nobody has even made a noise about it. As far as cause of deaths are concerned, only one death has been attributed to an accident,” he had earlier told TNM.

According to past reports, the postmortems of several deer led to the discovery of sanitary napkins and condoms in their stomachs. Moreover, several of the animals had allegedly injured their hooves by stepping on glass.

After an inspection by a TNPCB engineer, a report was submitted to the National Green Tribunal on July 17, 2017, stating that the institution has constructed 10 buildings after September 2006 and no consent from TNPCB was taken for it. It also states that plastic waste was noticed in some areas of the campus, namely, the area near Krishna Gate, Velachery Gate, and the STP area.

“Action must be taken to provide display boards in all strategic area namely residential quarters, stores, canteen, hostels, academic buildings etc showing ill effects of plastics,” the report had said.

Antony had also filed a petition to the National Green Tribunal, in which he had asked for a complete ban on non-recyclable plastics in the IIT campus, and also the shifting of festivals like ‘Shaastra’, ‘Saarang’ and other events to outside the campus, since they draw a large crowd inside IIT-M.

The petition was marked to the State of Tamil Nadu, IIT-M, Greater Chennai Corporation, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) and the Tamil Nadu Forest Department.

“The next hearing of the case before the NGT is August 7, 2017. The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), IIT Madras, Chennai corporation, Forest department, have to file their responses by then,” said Antony.

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Date : 26 July 2017

How safe is that chicken or egg that you are eating?

Just what kind of meat and eggs are we eating these days? It seems it’s less protein and nutrients, and more antibiotics… stuff that we most definitely don’t need to pump into our bodies.

Most of us, me included, have had our suspicions regarding the plumped up chicken, juicy pork and bacon and big, huge eggs that we have been cooking and enjoying these days, but when the fact that all might not be well with them stares back point blank in the form of proven research – the jolt hits hard.

This is what happened when I came across a new study led by researchers from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP), published in the July 2017 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

The study conducted on Punjab farms has found high levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in chickens raised for both meat and eggs there. The numbers it unveils are scary! Two-thirds of the farms reported using antibiotics for growth promotion.

High levels of resistance to many important antibiotics were found across the board, ranging from 39 per cent for ciprofloxacin (used to treat respiratory infections), to 86 per cent for nalidixic acid (used to treat urinary tract infections).

This study raises serious concerns over the use of antibiotics for growth promotion (read higher production) in farm animals. Basically, it proves (yet again) that the same life-saving drugs that are prescribed to treat everything from ear infections to tuberculosis in humans are also being used to fatten the animals – chicken, beef and pork – whose meat we eat day in and out. This threat to public health from the overuse of antibiotics in food animals is very real and growing, not just in Punjab, or India, but worldwide.

Simply to cater to the rising demand for food and animal products, which is leading to over use of antibiotics for growth promotion in farm animals, to keep the cost of meat low and to produce more meat for less money, resulting in fatter profits. This is leading to serious consequences on human health.

The science is solid on the fact that there’s a big cost involved in eating cheap meat. “Overuse of antibiotics in animal farms endangers us all as it multiplies drug resistance in the environment,” explains author and CDDEP director Ramanan Laxminarayan. And this in fact has been proven beyond doubt.

Antibiotic use in animals can over time promote the development of hard-to-treat antibiotic-resistant superbugs that make people sick. So we are slowly but steadily, thanks to our own follies, becoming an antibiotic-resistant race.

What happens is that when we feed antibiotics to animals, the bacteria in and around the animals are exposed to the drug, and many of them die. But there are always some that the drug can’t kill, and those survive and proliferate – leading to the creating of superbugs. And these superbugs then move from the farm to the kitchen, via uncooked meat and poultry.

The fact is that antibiotics have been in use since the 1940s and have helped bring about a dramatic reduction in illness and death from infectious diseases. But extensive use of antimicrobial drugs is now threatening to reverse the medical advances of the last 70 years. The stakes are that high.

It’s imperative to remove antibiotics from the human food chain, and restrict them only to treat sick animals to avoid facing the fantasy movie-like (increasingly getting real) prospect of a post-antibiotic world, where nothing, no medicines work on us. Sporadic superbug outbreaks are already pointing in the direction of a future like that.

To prevent antibiotic resistance, definitely avoid antibiotic medications unless absolutely necessary, eat less meat (or give it up entirely) to help reduce demand and buy from small, organic farms which raise antibiotic-free animals. It’s not easy, but then catching (and becoming a medium of spreading) a superbug and becoming antibiotic-resistant is a far scarier prospect by any stretch.

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Date : 26 July 2017

9 representation received from public figures on cattle sale

The Centre has received nine representations from various public figures including chief ministers of Kerala, Puducherry and Karnataka, on a ban on the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter, Lok Sabha was informed today.

“Nine (9) representations have been received from the public representatives against the newly enforced Cattle Trade Rules,” Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan in a written reply.

He said that representations were received from Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Meghayala Governor Banwarilal Purohit, Puducherry chief minister V Narayanasamy and Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah.

He said representations were also received from Lok Sabha MP N K Premachandran, Leader of Opposition in Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala, MP Vincent H Pala, Kerala Governor Justice (retd) P Sathasivam and MP Lok Sabha C K Sangma.

The Minister said that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 was notified on May 23 this year.

The notification was stayed by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court. The Supreme Court has also observed that the stay granted by the Madurai Bench to the operation of rules shall apply to whole country.

“Thus, the operation of the notification dated May 23, 2017 has been stayed by the Supreme Court and the matter is sub-judice,” Vardhan said.

The new rules ban the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter.

It also prohibits practices that are cruel to animals including painting of horns and putting ornaments or decorative materials on them.

The government has been maintaining that the rules are very “specific” and aim to regulate animal markets and sale of cattle.

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Date : 26 July 2017

Canines spread fear on MGMGH campus

TRICHY: For long, patients, relatives, doctors and employees at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial government hospital (MGMGH) in Trichy have been treading with fear as they enter the hospital premises. This is because they are most likely to be chased or bitten by a pack of ferocious dogs which have been wreaking havoc on the campus.

A gang of 50 dogs have been roaming around the vast campus throughout the day and night for sometime now. It is a frightening experience for anyone to move freely through the campus. What has left the people solely at the mercy of the canines is that hospital authorities have been washing their hands of the matter claiming it was up to the civic body to act. On its part, the city corporation has been silent on the issue.

Suresh Alvar, a trader, was one among the latest victims of the stray dog menace. Being a regular visitor to the campus to supply sugar to a refreshment shop, he went there as usual on Tuesday. When he was busy delivering the commodities, a dog pounced on him to grab the bundles of sugar. “I was taken aback by the incident. It took a long time for me to come out of the shock because the dog was ferocious. With the help of others in the area, I could break free from the dog. Fortunately, I escaped unhurt,” said Suresh Alvar.

At present, the campus has around 50 such stray dogs moving around the superspecialty building, TB centre, and isolation ward for fever patients. The security guards on the campus also found it difficult to chase them away because the dogs would retaliate. Incidences of dogs biting people on the campus have been reported time and again.

The corporation health department which is responsible for catching and vaccinating the mongrels remain mute spectators. “A veterinary doctor on contract has been on leave for the past 20 days. So, we have not taken up ABC measure. We also have no idea as to what to do to control the menace,” city health officer (CHO) in-charge B Alli told TOI.

An animal welfare activist in the city blamed the city corporation for the menace. “It is the failure of the government. They should organize NGOs to maintain these ferocious dogs. There is no proper system in place to carry out animal birth control (ABC). If the corporation does ABC for 5,000 dogs every year for three years continuously, they can control the population of the dogs in Trichy. But they are not ready to do so,” said honorary animal welfare officer G Ramakrishnan. It was unclear if any one of the dogs had undergone ABC which includes anti-rabies vaccine (ARV). The absence of ABC to the dogs may make the dogs prone to rabies attack., which presents an even bigger danger.

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Date : 24 July 2017

Animal lovers find SPCA ‘heartless & unhygienic’

Chandigarh: Animal lovers and rescuers are disappointed with the government bodies for lack of compassion for animals and maintaining poor hygiene at the animal shelter. As a result the animal lovers have taken to Facebook to vent out their anger.

They have also started coming forward and lodging complaints. Recently, an engineering student from UIET, Panjab University, gave a complaint against the shelter run by Society for Prevention of Cruelty towards Animals (SPCA) to the deputy commissioner and director, animal husbandry, to highlight the poor condition. A copy of the complaint is with TOI.

He said, “On July 18, I found two kittens abandoned, malnourished and dying in the college. They were in a box and surrounded by a bunch of people who were doing nothing but predicting which one of them will die first. When I saw the box with those kittens inside, I immediately took them to the animal hospital in Sector 22, Chandigarh.”

“Seeing the condition of the kittens, the doctor said their chance of survival is slim. He just wrote down the name of a medicine on a piece of paper and told me give this to kittens and hope for the best,” he said.

After that he contacted SPCA which asked them to bring the kittens to the shelter. “Upon reaching there, we were shocked to witness the condition of animals housed at the shelter,” he said.

“Stray dogs which were badly injured and needed immediate first aid were just kept in the open with no staff member attending to them. It was like they didn’t care at all. They took those kittens and kept them in a cage. The hygienic condition at the shelter was pathetic,” Saransh said.

Thereafter, they decided not to keep the kittens in the shelter. “When we were leaving, the officials at the SPCA shelter said ‘it is good that you are taking them. Here, they would have died anyways’. It was a really a bad experience for me so I decided to write to the authorities. What is the need to spend so much on the shelter if it doesn’t serve the purpose? We found another home and after dropping the kittens there, I was sure they were in good hands. It has been two days and the kittens are doing well,” he said.

He even took to Facebook to vent out his anger and said, “This organization, SPCA, should be booked for mishandling poor animals. SPCA is hell for animals. It is extremely understaffed and the staff members are not compassionate enough towards those needy animals.”

Vikas Luthra from ‘Furever Friends’, a group of animal lovers and rescuers, said that bad condition of government-run shelters was the reason why animal lovers formed different groups to help the voiceless creatures.

He said, “‘Furever Friends’ was established with the core idea of helping the suffering animals. We came up with the platform when we saw that the government organizations and NGOs did not provide requisite services and were ineffective. We felt that their while government bodies lacked compassion, the NGOs were doing everything for funds.”

“In our group we wish to prove that it’s not the money but the zeal that can help these animals. At present we have more than 179 foster homes associated with us through our network and we are always on toes to provide services to our best abilities like arranging treatment for injured or sick animals, fostering and majorly adoption. It’s just a platform where people from all walks of life have come together to help and bring about some positive changes in the lives of animals,” Vikas added.

Another animal lover, not willing to be named, said, “SPCA is the only shelter in the city where the condition was bad. Now some of our friends are working with them as volunteers and they are trying to make things better. There has been a little improvement as well.”

Dr Kanwarjit Singh, joint director, animal husbandry, said, “We mostly cater to stray animals which are injured or ailing. Seeing their condition, one might get an impression that the condition at the shelter is not good. However, we are still in the process of expanding and modernizing the SPCA shelter. We are also looking forward to get one more ambulance. Moreover, we are open not only to suggestions, but we will like to invite animal lovers to come forward and join us to improve things.”

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Date : 24 July 2017

Bombay High Court refuses to lift ban on capture and exhibition of snakes for festival

The Bombay High Court on Friday disposed off a public interest litigation (PIL), which sought to reverse a previous order banning the capture and exhibition of snakes on Nag Panchami. The festival will be celebrated next week.

A division bench of Chief Justice Manjulla Chellur and Justice NM Jamdar, while disposing off the petition filed by Pradeep Joshi, said that the court had already decided on the issue. They added that the order can be reviewed, provided some new ground is raised in the petition filed.

The PIL claimed that the high court, in its earlier order, had not properly appreciated the document in Gazetteer of District Sangli, published by the government. The petition also states that the festival is being celebrated over several years and thus it is part of the tradition.

The court had ordered the ban based on a petition filed by Ajit Patil, an animal activist from Sangli district, on July 15, 2014. Citing references to the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, the court rejected Battis Shirala’s opposition to the ban, a town in Sangli where the festival is popular.

Before the one day festival, snake groups and volunteers capture snakes from nearby forests that are stored and later displayed. As per belief, the cobra snake has a special significance in Hindu mythology.

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Date : 24 July 2017

Haryana to tag stray cattle, impose fines

Chandigarh, July 22 (IANS) The Haryana government on Saturday announced it has decided to tag stray cattle in the state and impose fines on people who let their cattle loose on the roads.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday directed officers of the Animal Husbandry and Dairy Department to launch a special campaign to tag stray cattle, as well as those at homes in cities and villages, to prevent people from leaving them on the roads.

“Fine would be imposed on anyone found doing so,” Khattar announced in Rohtak town, 70 km from Delhi, on Saturday.

On a complaint made by residents of various villages regarding stray cattle, he said that the state government would send stray cattle to ‘gaushalas’ and ‘Nandishalas’ before August 15.

Haryana, which has a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government since Octrober 2014, has seen the state government taking several steps for protection of cows.

The Khattar government imposed a ban on beef in 2015, followed by a ban on cow slaughter in the state in November 2015. From setting up of creches for cows to sterilising and rounding up stray bulls, setting up an e-portal for livestock, setting up ‘gaushalas’, announcing a cattle insurance scheme and even appointing a senior police officer to exclusively monitor smuggling of cows in the state – the BJP government in Haryana has done it all.

Khattar, a former Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) activist, took over as chief minister on October 26, 2014.

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Date : 24 July 2017

MP House debates stray cows, BJP MLAs say a ‘problem’

“Below Poverty Line (BPL) card holders get ration and other government facilities. Can’t we make a law to force every BPL card holder to rear at least one cow? If they don’t keep cows, they will not get BPL facilities.” This suggestion by BJP MLA Murlidhar Patidar came as members of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly, while discussing a ‘non-government resolution’, admitted that stray cows were raiding agricultural land and proving to be a menace to farmers.

The resolution, moved by veteran BJP MLA Shankarlal Tiwari, sought an end to the centuries-old practice of ‘era’, where farmers let loose their cows post-harvest to allow them to graze. The practice, members said, was adding to the number of stray cows.
While the debate occasionally veered towards cow protection and the supremacy of cow milk, gaumutra (urine) and gobar (dung), the focus was largely on the ill-effects of ‘era’ and the ways in which the problem of stray cows could be tackled. Lawmakers also admitted that monetary and commercial considerations, besides lack of fodder and encroachment on grazing land, were the main reasons why owners were abandoning their cows.

Patidar, whose constituency has the “country’s first cow sanctuary”, said, “The cow has lost the value it once enjoyed because people no longer see any monetary benefit in rearing cows.’’ Patidar, who made the suggestion on forcing BPL families to rear cows, said the sanctuary was yet to become functional but “so many cattle owners inquire about it that I get afraid. (Once it opens), 40, 000 to 50,000 cows will be released in it within 24 hours.’’ The sanctuary, spread over 472 hectares, claims to be able to hold 5,000 cows.

R D Prajapati, the BJP MLA from Chandla in Chhatarpur district, said he was afraid that if the menace of stray cows was not stopped, he would find it difficult to even enter his constituency. “My constituency has two problems: nilgai and stray cattle,” he said, while seeking a cow sanctuary in his constituency. “Let there be no development… just create one sanctuary and this will be the biggest service to farmers,’’ he said, adding “farmers run the risk of snake and scorpion bites but don’t leave their farms because they don’t want stray cows to damage their crops”.

MLA Divyaraj Singh, who represents Sirmour in the Assembly, suggested that cows should be tagged to establish their identity and that cows without owners should be given the status of “wild animals” and kept in enclosures in national parks or forest lands.
Veteran BJP MLA Shankarlal Tiwari, who moved the resolution and later withdrew it after being promised of a “permanent solution” by the animal husbandry minister, said the menace had assumed “alarming proportions”, affecting the very livelihood of farmers. “The government should come out with a law or rules to stop the practice of era,’’ he said, adding that animals that damage crops should be kept in kanji houses, with the government providing subsidy to run them.

Kanji houses are facilities where cattle are kept till owners reclaim them. Animal Husbandry Minister Antarsingh Aarya said a committee with representation from all political parties would be formed to find a permanent solution to the problem. Besides Aarya, the committee would have the agriculture minister and the cow protection board chief as members, he said.

Talking about the steps taken by the government, he said the cow sanctuary in Agar district was nearing completion and would be opened after the monsoons, followed by another sanctuary in Rewa. He said gaushalas and kanji houses for stray cattle were being set up at 107 places along the banks of the Narmada.

Senior BJP MLA Kedarnath Shukla said cattle rearing was “becoming very difficult due to the shortage of fodder and grazing land. Earlier, the practice of era lasted for a very short period; now it goes round the year.’’ Calling it “explosive information”, he said farmers pack their cattle into trucks and release them 10 or 20 km away, never to reclaim them.

Participating in the debate, Congress MLA from Pichhor, K P Singh, said the resolution was moved “not by the need for cow protection but by the difficulty cattle were posing to farmers”. He said, “The government that prided itself on welfare of farmers and protection of cows has been in power for 14 years, but has not been able to find any solution.’’

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Date : 24 July 2017