Thursday, 29 December 2011

Zoo authority serves notice to circus

CHANDIGARH: The Central Zoo Authority Of India issued a show-cause notice on Wednesday to Jumbo Circus going on at Manimajra, Chandigarh, for not complying with the provisions laid under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001, prescribed by the Animal Welfare Board of India.

A complaint was lodged at
Manimajra police station by a representative of International Organization for Animal Protection (OIPA) in India, Naresh Kadyan.

"Jumbo Circus is violating the legislations as animals are being compelled to perform illegally and treated with cruelty, particularly the elephants," said Naresh Kadyan in his complaint to station house officer of Manimajra Rajesh Shukla. "We will look into the matter and take necessary action," the SHO said.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Animals big source of TB infection: Expert

NAGPUR: Dr Ashok Kale, head preventive and social medicine (PSM) department of Dr Ulhas Patil Medical College, Jalgaon, said on Monday that tuberculosis in humans could not be controlled unless it was controlled in animals.

He was addressing a workshop conducted jointly by National Association for Welfare of Animals and Research (NAWAR) and Maharashtra Gazetted Veterinary Association, Nagpur Chapter. The workshop was a part of celebrations of World Veterinary Year - 2011.

Dr Kale said that the main reason behind failure of the government in tackling the spread of TB was that it was not giving enough attention to combating the disease in animals. "Animals are a big source of TB virus. The milk, excreta, breath of TB affected animals can spread the disease and most of us are unaware of this ," he said.

He further said that in western, developed countries the knowledge and awareness of this fact had led them to control the occurrence of the disease. "When we follow the west blindly in everything, why not in this," Dr Kale asked.

India had the highest population of cattle in the world and probably of TB patients too. In western countries, cattle were registered and their records maintained. Dr Kale said this system helped in spotting occurrences of TB in them and curing the animal. "It is time the government stops neglecting animals in the treatment of TB," he said.

Dr Gajanan Dange of Centre for Research and Strategic Planning for Substantial Development, Pune, said that dynamics of development were changing and that an inclusive and bottom to top flow of activities was emerging as pathway for growth.

"Such small issues which till now were being neglected play a big role and have a great impact on productivity and development. That is why it is important that issues like these are taken up at regional levels and from there at higher levels," he added.

Secretary of NAWAR Dr Ajay Poharka informed that a Centre of Excellence on Zoonotics was to come up in Nagpur with the efforts of the Nagpur Veterinary College, ICAR and ICMR.

Katraj zoo to pair up endangered species

PUNE: An ex-situ centre to breed species of animals facing extinction will come up in a few months at the Rajiv Gandhi zoological park in Katraj. Animals like the rusty-spotted cat, jungle cat, mouse deer, king cobra and the Indian giant squirrel will be bred here.

Zoo director Kumar Jadhav told TOI that an 'off-site conservation' breeding centre for endangered animals outside their natural habitat will come up. Animals will be procured from other zoos, but they will not be put up as exhibits.

"The idea behind the conservation breeding is to increase their population. At present, these animals are dwindling. We have the expertise to take up such a project," he said.

VB Sawarkar, former director of Wildlife Institute of India, said that conservation breeding is carried out when there is concern about the status of the population of a species in the wild. "In case of a drastic decline in the population or the habitat is lost, conservation breeding is taken up to save the animal species from extinction. It is carried out to restore the population. Animals are bred in captive condition and later released in the wild," he said.

There have been such experiments elsewhere in India. Pygmy hog, a small species of wild pig in India, which inhabited Nepal, Bhutan and India, is now only found in Assam. Human encroachment has largely destroyed the natural habitat of the pygmy hog. Development, agriculture, domestic grazing and deliberate fires have robbed them of habitat.

They were bred in Guwahati zoo. Two males and four females comprised the founder species with which the captive breeding started in 1996. In 2004, the authorities successfully bred 70 animals, which were rehabilitated in the wild.
Another example is of Pere David's deer that was extinct from native China. It was captive bred in European zoos.

However, captive breeding needs certain conditions. The psychological condition and sex ratio of the animals should be looked into before conservation breeding is taken up.

Experts said it is not just about keeping animals in pairs and breeding them. They need behavioural environment and population parameters must be studied. For example, there are animal species that should have more female population compared to male for successful breeding.

"In many cases, after successful breeding, the animals are either left in sanctuaries or released into the wild when there is a natural habitat to support them or the threat to the species has lessened," Sawarkar said.
The giant Indian squirrel found in Bhimashankar wildlife sanctuary is now seen in scattered population. The mouse deer in Maharashtra is difficult to spot and there is a decline in population of the jungle cat and rusty-spotted cat.
Permission from the Central Zoo Authority and trained biologists are needed for conservation breeding, BC Choudhari, scientist, Wildlife Institute of India said.
Nandankanan zoological park in Orissa was the first in the country to have a captive breeding centre of endangered species. It has undertaken a reintroduction programme for species like the gharial, mugger, blackbuck and spotted deer.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Dhanush, Vidya Balan, Sonu Sood lead in veg celebrity contest

Chennai, Dec 26 (PTI): National award winning actor and "Kolaveri Di" song fame Dhanush, Bollywood actress Vidya Balan and actor Sonu Sood are among those who have taken early leads in the vegetarian celebrity contest, conducted by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Besides the three, other film stars in the foray are Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, actresses Mallika Sherawat, Kareena Kapoor, Hema Malini and Ayesha Takia, competing for the title "India's Hottest Vegetarian Celebrity of 2011" organised by PETA and being conducted to promote vegetarianism among the public. 

"From Bollywood to Hollywood, the world's kindest and most gorgeous celebrities are adopting a healthy, humane vegetarian diet", PETA India Chief Functionary Poorva Joshipura said. Vegetarians are not only less prone to obesity, but also save the lives of more than 100 animals a year, the statement said, quoting a recent United Nations report which said that a global shift towards vegetarian is necessary to combat the worst affects of climatic change. Celebrity winners of the contest would be chosen on the number of votes each receives. They would be announced in January, the statement added.

Plea to freeze elephant as BSP symbol dismissed

NAGPUR: The Delhi high court on Friday dismissed a petition filed by representatives of International Organisation for Animal Protection (OIPA) seeking direction to ban use of national heritage animal 'elephant' as party symbol by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Naresh Kadyan, the petitioner and India representative of OIPA, affiliated to the United Nations, duly recognized by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), wanted the court to issue directions to chief election commissioner (CEC) to freeze or replace the symbol of the BSP from elephant to other.
The petitioner also wanted respondent - ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) - to make guidelines and rules for the national heritage animal to protect them from any kind of abuse, unnecessary pain and suffering.

"The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) although imposed a ban on display of elephants, it failed to rescue them. The BSP was abusing national heritage animal elephant during elections by using it live in the party rallies and hence it should be withdrawn as party symbol," said Kadyan.

But, dismissing the writ petition for a ban on elephant as BSP's election symbol, the Delhi high court said, "Elephant does not come under the National Emblems Act (NEA) and hence the writ petition is dismissed." The NEA prevents improper use of certain emblems of government, said Rajender Yadav, counsel for the petitioner.

Kadyan said that under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, elephants are protected under Schedule I, and hence use of any protected wild animals and their trophies is an offence.

He alleged that BSP candidates use live elephants for parade and campaign and also in victory rallies. Recently, a BSP MP had booked elephants for pride during marriage celebration in Meerut. Due to abuse, the animals went out of control and damaged public property. Same elephants were later rescued and rehabilitated by the authorities.

Similarly, Kadyan said, in 2008, a BSP candidate booked two elephants for campaigning. Besides, elephant is being displayed symbolically on statues in parks along with statues of late Kanshiram and Mayawati. This is being done to gain popularity. "We will appeal in the Supreme Court against the high court order," Kadyan stated.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Ohri's brings a royal experience for the Veg food lovers of twin cities

Ohri's, a leading hospitality chain, today launched Jiva Imperia - an exclusive vegetarian restaurant designed to appeal to the gourmet vegetarians of Hyderabad. This is the 23rd offering by Ohri's in Hyderabad with overall 26 F&B outlets across Hyderabad and Bangalore.

Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, December 16, 2011 /India PRwire/ -- Ohri's, a leading hospitality chain, today launched Jiva Imperia - an exclusive vegetarian restaurant designed to appeal to the gourmet vegetarians of Hyderabad. This is the 23rd offering by Ohri's in Hyderabad with overall 26 F&B outlets across Hyderabad and Bangalore.
As the name suggests, the elegantly designed Jiva Imperia has a royal imperial theme to it. The designers have used White as the predominant color in the interiors to add on to the luxurious ambience and also to bring in an element of purity. Jiva Imperia will offer the largest vegetarian buffet in the city with more than 70 major dishes in the buffet spread. The restaurant which has buffet as its exclusive offering is located in White House Building next to Lifestyle in Begumpet.
Jiva Imperia, is an initiative by Ohri's to bridge the void in premium vegetarian dine out options in the city and bring in the best of the vegetarian selection over one spread. Feedback from various restaurants owned by the chain suggests that food lovers are constantly seeking for more variety and wholesome vegetarian cuisine. Approximately 40% of consumers in the feedback forms received at various outlets of the chain are asking for more vegetarian options, larger variety in vegetarian dishes.
Mr. A K Solanky, COO, Ohri's Group of Hotels, said, "Jiva Imperia is born out of fulfilling the gap and need of vegetarian food lovers -be it families, couples, friends or groups - to enjoy a good vegetarian meal from different parts of the world in a relaxed and royal setting. Jiva Imperia offers the best choice, widest variety, innovative display and relaxed atmosphere to have a great vegetarian experience."
Vegetarian food lovers will take back an experience of tasteful and elegant ambience, widest variety of food from different regions with original flavors and best of quality, four live counters and the largest Chocolate Fountain Cascade in town for kids to dip into.
The selection of cuisine at Jive Imperia offers delicacies in their most original form and flavor. The buffet spread will have a range of Indian food that will include Gujarati, Rajasthani, Punjabi, Jain, South Indian cuisine and an International tinge to it with global favorites like Chinese, Thai, Mexican and Continental fare. The specialty of the restaurant will be the authenticity of the flavors and any dish will be made in the exact manner as would be made in that region using the similar spices, Ingredients and preparation methodology.
The fare is very attractively priced at 250/ all inclusive for lunch and Rs.299/- all inclusive for dinner easily being the value for money offering in the city for the overall experience it provides in terms of the luxurious ambience and variety and quality of food.
The restaurant also has a very innovative Mocktail menu called the Nectar that serves uniquely prepared Mocktails aimed at expanding the tasting experience. Along with a delectable spread of food, the guests will be able to enjoy Mocktails from the ala-carte menu which are very interestingly named with natural ingredients such as Saas Bahu aur Tulsi, Kahaani Faalse Ki and so on. These exclusive Mocktails which are not just colorful and appealing but also lead to a experiencing something different are reasonably priced at Rs. 150/-
The various components of the buffet include soup, salads, starters, breads, range of traditional Indian rotis, main course (Indian and International dishes), live counters for India street food, Chat, Momos and South Indian specialties like Dosas, Uttapam, Pesarattu and so on in miniature. Like it's other gamut of fine dining restaurants, Jiva Imperia is also dedicated to ultimate service, consistent quality and positive impact, because at Ohri's you are family!

Forest dept team on ‘jumbo junket’ to Kenya

Official who had been on an earlier trip says wildlife management practices vary in India, Africa
The State Forest Department has sent seven of its officers to attend a course on ‘Man animal conflict and wildlife management practices’ in Kenya, despite the opinion of B K Singh, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), that the management practices adopted in Africa were different from those in India.

The 11-day trip, from December 14 to 25, has got the clearance from the Union Ministries of Finance, External Affairs and Environment and forest. The department is spending Rs 2.13 lakh on each officer attending the course. 

Singh - who had visited Krugar National Park in South Africa and Masaimara and Amboseli National Parks in Kenya between November 22 and 27 - has submitted a report to the government stating that the circumstances in Africa are different from those in India.

“Our circumstances generally do not tally with the facts and circumstances of conflict management in maintenance of barriers and eco-tourism there,” he states in the report.

As per Singh’s observations, at Masaimara Park in Kenya, the park management kills animals straying out as the provision of killing elephants minimises conflict.  Singh also cites the instance of a translocation experiment carried out in Kenya. Of the 60 elephants at Norak Town Elephant Park translocated to Masaimara Park three months ago, one has returned to its original habitat, while two female elephants moved into human dominated areas and were shot dead by police. Though 57 of them are still in the translocated area, more time is required to come to any conclusion, he states. Singh says elephants there are ‘hardly aggressive’ compared to Asian elephants. 

Human-animal conflict is less in Krugar National Park, compared to our country. Krugar does not have any human habitation. Thus, the conflict with humans is only on the fringes of the park.

Community participation

In his recommendation, he states community participation is the need of the hour.“The Masai tribes in the vicinity of the park coexist with elephants, and there are hardly any instances of conflict. We need to learn lessons from the community participation in Kenya. Tribals and forest dwellers should learn to coexist with wild animals, especially elephants, as Masai tribes have learnt to live with African elephants.” 

When contacted by this reporter, Singh said his trip to Kenya and South Africa had been with the Jungle Lodges and Resorts Limited, and that the main focus of the trip was to study the eco-tourism sector in Africa.

“The process to send the officials to Kenya began two months ago. It is only incidental that my report was submitted before they left. Also, I had only visited two national parks, while these officials will visit five parks,” he said. 

Singh said: “Yes, I do feel that we have few lessons to learn from the wildlife management practices adopted in Kenya. However, I have also highlighted the aspect of community participation adopted in that country, which has proved to be a good measure.” 

Officers who have been sent on the trip are: Ajay Mishra, CCF, Project Elephant, Mysore; H P Prakash, CCF (CAMPA), Bangalore; Vijay Ranjan Singh, DCF, Wildlife division, Hunsur; K T Hanumantappa, DCF, Bandipur; Vinay R Naik, ACF, Bannerghatta National Park, Bangalore; S R Prasanna Kumar, ACF and Technical Assistant to the office of PCCF (wildlife), Bangalore; K T Boraiah, RFO, Kollegal Wildlife Range. M S Chinappa, RFO, Periyapatna range, Hunsur division could not make it due to technical glitches.

The department has utilised the slots available under the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) project of Karnataka. Once the officials return, the total expenses incurred will be forwarded to the Ministry of Finance, which will reimburse the department under the JICA project. After completion of the foreign visit, the officers should submit a report within two weeks.

No donkey, monkey in poll campaign: Election Commission

The State Election Commission (SEC) has issued an order banning the use of animals by political parties during election campaigns. In a letter to all political parties, the SEC said donkeys, bulls, elephants and cows cannot be used for politics.
Often donkey with blackened face are paraded on streets to highlight the failure of the government or portrayed as rivals.
“The political parties found misusing the animals to highlight any issues during the local bodies elections will be dealt firmly. The candidates have no business to inflict atrocities against animals to highlight the public cause. The politicians have been urged to show restrain in abusing each other taking animal names.
Several instances of politicians calling each other donkeys or dogs have been brought to the election commission’s notice,” state election commissioner Neela Satyanarayan said on Friday.

The misuse of animals amounts to cruelty against animals and is punishable under the Act. The SEC decision to issue directives to the parties in Maharashtra comes in the wake of growing instances of misuse of animals by the political parties to settle scores with their rivals or ridicule the administration and the government.
Several animal rights activists and non-government organizations have brought to the notice of the EC to stop the use of animals in campaigns.
Sources in the SEC revealed that most abused among the animals at the hands of politicians are donkeys and bulls. The common abuse, which has been in practice, is the politicians taking out procession of a donkey on the streets. The donkey walks down the streets carrying a garland of chappals.
Bulls, elephants and cows are the other animals used by parties during their campaigns.
“If any body is found disobeying the directives and abuse animals to serve their political campaigns will be taken to task. The SEC has every right to act,” the directive said.
The SEC under Sections 343 (K) and 243 (ZA) is authorized to undertake the entire responsibility in conducting the state local bodies elections. The municipal corporation elections and zilla parishad elections are scheduled in February and March (2012).

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Maharashtra to let dogs out at new stadium!

In Pune Avinash Rajput For the first time in the country, man’s best friend will ensure that there’s no mischief at a cricket stadium. The Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium at Gahunje in Pune, where the inaugural Maharashtra-HP Ranji fixture began on Wednesday, will be the first to have a special 24-dog squad manning the space between the outfield and the spectators’ galleries instead of the imposing iron grills that block the view.

But officials are quick to inform that the dogs have been trained to restrain mischief mongers and not to cause grievous hurt or unleash panic. “A set of four dogs each will be positioned at six different points on match day. The dogs will be used as deterrents and not to terrorise the audience. This step is totally pro-audience and will serve the purpose of helping people enjoy the match without visual hindrances — a practice being followed in many other countries,” Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) treasurer and Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) president Ajay Shirke said.

“We have taken this step so that spectators can enjoy the match without any visual obstacle. The dogs will be here for the safety of the audience as well as the players,” Shirke added.

The stadium will have four-feet-high barriers guarding as well as dividing the boundary line and the spectators’ gallery. MCA will have 24 trained dogs (Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds) that will keep a close watch on the indiciplined cricket fans and also look after the security of the stadium throughout the year.

A special dog unit of MCA has been formed. This unit is busy tracking breeds from champion bloodlines from all over India. Retired personnel from the state’s Police Dog Unit will help the MCA team to locate, select and train the dogs for these specialised skills and techniques.

The stadium already has a dedicated space to house these dogs and the MCA plans to hire specialised dog-handlers and veterinarians. Shirke, who is also a dog-lover, added, “We are building a beautiful, air-conditioned kennel for these dogs along with generator back-up. They would be highly respected members of the stadium and hence we have decided to make customised collars with embroidered MCA logo and name or caricatures.” MCA will train three-month-old puppies which would soon be shifted to the stadium after the completion of the kennel.

Senators urge U.S. Trade Rep. to open India to American poultry

Maryland and Delaware’s Senators are among 19 Senators urging the U.S. Trade Representative to encourage India to adopt scientifically based trade policies that would allow American poultry in.
India has had trade policies since 2006 that don’t conform to those of the World Organization for Animal Health standards on avian influenza.

In a letter, the Senators have asked Trade Representative Ron Kirk to explain to the Indian government the benefits of bio-security measures implemented in this country, and how using non-scientifically based trade policies is no longer acceptable. The National Chicken Council estimates that U.S.poultry exports to India could top $300 million a year.

Senators Coons, Carper urge USTR to boost poultry exports in negotiations with India 

India’s ongoing restrictive trade policies are hurting the Delaware economy 
WASHINGTON – In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk Wednesday, U.S. Senators Chris Coons and Tom Carper (both D-Del.) led a bipartisan group of 19 senators in urging the Office of the United States Trade Representative to resolve longstanding, non-scientifically based policies during Kirk’s upcoming meeting with India’s senior government leaders. 

Since 2006, India’s trade policies have not conformed to the scientifically based World Organization for Animal Health standards on the viral disease avian influenza (AI). American poultry producers adhere to these globally recognized standards of food production. 

“Despite the United States’ track record on AI and the very effective measures in place for AI, India continues to use this non-scientifically based position to prohibit U.S. poultry to access the Indian market,” the Senators wrote. “With two of the United States’ top poultry markets having been severely disrupted in the past three years, it is especially important that efforts be undertaken to replace them. The National Chicken Council estimates that U.S. poultry exports to India could exceed $300 million annually if appropriate, fair market access was provided in accordance with India’s obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization.” 

“We respectfully request that during your upcoming discussions with the government of India, you strongly explain the important biosecurity measures that have been implemented in the U.S. and that the continued use of non-scientifically based measures to prevent trade is unacceptable.” 

According to a study released earlier this year by the University of Delaware, poultry production and processing accounts for the largest share of Delaware’s $8 billion agriculture economy, at $3.2 billion. Last year, Delaware exported $111.5 million worth of chicken and chicken products across the globe. The industry is a leading employer in Delaware, supporting more than 13,000 jobs in Kent and Sussex County. 

In addition to Senators Coons and Carper, the letter was signed by Senators Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.), Daniel Coats (R-Ind.), Joe Manchin, III (D-W.Va.), Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jim Webb (D-Va.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Kay R. Hagan (D-N.C.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), John D. Rockefeller, IV (D-W.Va.), James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Mark. R. Warner (D-Va.)

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

HC nod for conduct of traditional 'cock fight'

MADURAI: While uncertainty prevails over the conduct of jallikattu in January 2012, the Madurai bench of the Madras high court gave its nod to the conduct of 'cock fight', another traditional event of the state.

The bench comprising Justice K N Basha and Justice M Venugopal gave a directive in this regard to the district collector of Thanjavur on a petition filed by one M J Jahangir seeking to direct the authorities to grant permission to his association for conducting the cock fight at Thanjavur, near Vandayar Colony on December 24 and 25.

When the matter came up for hearing, the petitioner's counsel, A Arun Prasad submitted that 'cock fight' is a traditional game organised by villagers during festive seasons, every year. When the petitioner preferred a representation to the district collector, no action was action was taken till date.

The counsel further submitted that in a similar matter, a division bench had directed the authorities to grant permission imposing certain conditions in its order.

Holding that no prejudice would be caused to the authorities, the judges directed the district collector to consider the representation to the petitioner and grant permission to them to conduct the 'cock fight'.

The bench made it clear that the event should be supervised by the inspector of police, Kallamperumpur police station as well as by a doctor of the Government Veterinary Hospital at Thanjavur.

During the event, the bench said no injury should be caused to the birds and that they should not be intoxicated with any alcoholic substance. "Knives or those dipped with poisonous substances should not be tied around the legs of the birds. The veterinary doctor should ensure the same before the actual starting of the event," the bench said.

The judges also said the petitioner shall bear the expenses towards police protection as well as the expenses towards the veterinary doctor. All the terms and conditions should be followed scrupulously by the petitioner and he should file an affidavit of undertaking before the police.

Dog bites up by 26% in Ahmedabad, civic body seeks NGOs' help

With 3,580 cases of animal bites registered this November, it's time AMC flagged off its dog sterilisation project. The total number of canine bites this year has reached 34,215, which is 26% higher than last year's figure of 27,091 registered from January to November in 2010. Dog bite cases registered in the last five years indicate that the situation goes from bad to worse during winters.

However, after three consecutive efforts to finalise an agency, civic body officials hope to resolve this issue soon. Now, instead of inviting tenders for the dog sterilisation project, the civic body is approaching non-government organisations (NGOs) registered with Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and inviting offers from them. Till now, the civic body has received two offers and a couple more are in the pipeline.

"We hope to fix the issue of finalising the agency for animal birth control programme (alternative name for dog sterilisation programme) within 15 days. After receiving all offers from NGOs, the report will be submitted to the municipal commissioner," said Dilip Gor, deputy municipal commissioner, cattle nuisance and control department (CNCD).

Some time back, three organisations/NGOs interested in dog sterilisation were finalised by the AMC. In one of the meetings of the health department held in August 2011, health committee chairman Suresh Patel had promised to begin the sterilisation of the dogs latest by August 15. Everything was finalised right from the locations to the vehicles, but the work was not initiated.

Alappuzha's animal birth control

ALAPPUZHA: While residents in the district have been demanding an immediate solution to the growing stray dog menace, the local authorities say they are helpless in the matter. According to them, the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme cannot be executed due to lack of infrastructure and manpower.

As per the direction of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), the execution of the ABC programme is the responsibility of the local bodies and the State Animal Husbandry Department. However, the authorities in both these departments claim that the infrastructure and manpower for executing the programme according to AWBI guidelines are inadequate.

As per the data available with the preventive clinic in Alappuzha Medical College Hospital, 1,994 people were bitten by dogs this year. Last year, nearly 1,747 people were affected. Dr Carol Pinheiro, doctor of community medicine at the MCH preventive clinic, said, "Six people died in the district due to rabies in 2010 and 2011." As per the data, people have also been victims of attack by cats - there were 1082 cases last year, and 822 cases so far this year. Alappuzha municipal chairperson Mercy Diana Masido said they were concerned about the increase in the number of stray dog attack cases. "As per AWBI, we have to set up kennels, operation theatres and ambulances for sterilization of stray dogs. And sterilized dogs should be released in the area from where they are captured. These guidelines are not practical. So we are not getting involved with the programme," she said.

The Kerala State Animal Husbandry Department (KSAHD) director Dr Vijayakumar R said that veterinary hospitals in Alappuzha were not equipped to carry out the ABC programme. "Our hospitals function from morning to evening. As per the programme, doctors should observe the sterilized dogs for two days and provide them postoperative care. It is not practical. There is also a shortage of dog catchers and trained doctors here," he said. "But such problems do not exist in Thiruvananthapuram Corporation or Thodupuzha Municipality where the programme is on," he added.

Alappuzha district panchayat president U Pratibha Hari said though they were ready to allot funds for the programme, they had not received any project from local bodies in this regard. "There are provisions in the Panchayati Raj Act for imposing fine on dog owners if their dogs attack people. But local bodies are ignoring this provision," she said.

Heritage Animal Task Force secretary VK Venkitachalam alleged that though the Animal Husbandry Department had adequate funds for executing the ABC programme, they had been diverting the funds for other purposes. "The department is not giving any importance to the issue of stray dogs. The state government and the AWBI should take immediate steps for effective execution of the programme," he said.

Though people in the district are demanding immediate solution for the increasing dog menace, the local bodies in the district are not ready to execute Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme for sterilization of stray dogs.

As per the direction of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), the execution of the ABC programme is the responsibility of the local bodies concerned and the State Animal Husbandry Department. However according to the officials of the local bodies and the Animal Husbandry Department, they do not have infrastructure and manpower for executing the ABC programme in tune with the guidelines of the AWBI.

PETA chooses Hema Malini as 'Person of the Year'

Bollywood's eternal 'Dream Girl' Hema Malini never misses an opportunity to speak out for animals. So, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) found her to be the obvious choice for their Person of the Year award.

Poorva Joshipura, PETA India's chief functionary said, "Hema is the embodiment of the kindness and determination to effect the positive social change that PETA India stands for. She is loved and respected throughout India and beyond, and she has used her prestige time and time again to speak up for all the animals whose abuse and oppression might otherwise go unnoticed."

Hema Malini's work for animal rights includes writing a heartfelt appeal this year to the Ministry of Environment and Forests on behalf of PETA India, urging them to ban jallikattu (bull fighting).

Soon after this, the said Ministry issued a notification in The Gazette of India stating that bulls can no longer be used as 'performing' animals. Not just that, she had also written a letter on behalf of PETA India, asking that cruel and dangerous horse carts to be banned in Mumbai. In November, the Mumbai High Court came to a landmark decision to crack down on unlicensed stables housing horses used to pull carriages. 

Monday, 19 December 2011

Indian ministers and their families take part in JK Tyre – Constitution Club of India Car Rally to save Tiger

Along with their families, 70 Indian Ministers of Parliament took part in a car rally today with the aim to spread awareness for saving national animal of India, the Tiger. The car rally to save Tigers in India is being organized under the Constitutional Club of India (CCI), a club formed in 1947 for members of the Indian Constituent Assembly.

The motto of this car rally by Indian ministers is 'Save Our Tigers.' Tiger population in India is depleting at a very quick rate. If immediate measures are not undertaken by the Government, it is quite possible that the Tiger will become extinct in India by the next decade. JK Tyre and CCI have joined hands once again for a noble cause. Last year too a similar event was organized by CCI and JK Tyre & Industries Ltd. The 70 odd ministers who participated in today's car rally are eminent diplomats and parliamentarians of India.

Mr Pratap Rudy, MP and BJP leader, said, "This is an opportunity of Indian parliament to express the solidarity and be agent to spread awareness across the country for the national animal-tiger. This time we have chosen a different topic of awareness which is ''save our tigers''. It''s a national cause. We hardly have, post independence we have lost, which were about 40 thousands we have now 1400 tigers left. It's a cause at the end of the year, beyond politics, beyond parties, where diplomats and media are participating and I think it's a fun event, but at the same time a cause is there and this cause is worthy if participation and enormous participation from members of Parliament."

JK Tyre and CCI Car Rally to save Tigers will see Indian ministers competing in a TSD Rally (Time, Speed, Distance). The event was kicked off earlier today from Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi. Mr Hamid Ansari, Vice President, India flagged off the event. After travelling through various parts of the city spreading Save Our Tigers awareness, the winner of the car rally will be felicitated by Mr Jayanthi Natrajan, Minister of State for Forest and Environment, India.

Mr Naveen Jindal, MP, Congress, said, "Tiger is our national animal and we all know that tigers have been, the population has been reducing. In the last couple of decades with all the efforts, which the government has been taking, now the population has stabilized and it''s on the rise again. So, we all need to continue to make efforts to save the tigers."

PetaDishoom is NGO partner of Mood Indigo 2011

MUMBAI: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India's youth division, petaDishoom, has been chosen as the non-governmental organisation (NGO) partner of this year's Mood Indigo (MoodI) festival, which is presented every December by the India Institute of Technology (IIT), Bombay. The MoodI fest, which is the largest festival of its kind in Asia and focuses on art, music and modern culture, will be held 18-21 December and is expected to attract more than 75,000 students representing 550 colleges. Volunteers for petaDishoom will staff an information table and engage attendees in conversations about animal rights, one of the most significant social movements of our time. 

This year, petaDishoom has already been the NGO partner of 45 college festivals, including IITs, IIMs, MDI, NLS and various NITs.
"We're thrilled to partner with the prestigious IIT Bombay, because smart people know it is cool to be kind", says petaDishoom's Youth Marketing Coordinator Richa Mithal. "Animal rights are a key concern for today's young people, and Mood Indigo is giving us the opportunity to bring exciting animal protection campaigns directly to that segment of society." 

In addition to free literature and merchandise, petaDishoom's display will include a streaming video, "Glass Walls", which contains shocking undercover video footage of the horrific abuse that the meat, egg and dairy industries inflict on animals. The video footage was gathered on factory farms and in slaughterhouses in India. 

PetaDishoom focuses on reaching out to people between the ages of 18 and 24. The group's credo is that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on or use for entertainment. Members of petaDishoom regularly work with bands such as Pentagram, Parikrama and Indian Ocean to encourage young people who are eager to help advance animal rights. 

MoodI's mission is to foster social and cultural progress by helping tomorrow's leaders discover their full potential. The colour indigo was chosen for the festival's logo because it's a fusion of red and blue, signifying creativity and intellectualism.

Activist seeks cancellation of FIR against 4 youths

BHIWANI: Giving another twist to the row regarding ghurchari ceremony involving a dalit groom in Devsar village, an animal activist has demanded quashing of the FIR registered against the accused, stating that they had only performed their duty by stopping abuse of elephant in their village.

The police had nabbed four upper caste youths on charges of forcibly stopping the dalit groom from performing a wedding ritual of riding an elephant on December 13. The groom, Veer Bhan, was refrained from riding the elephant on December 5 after which Bhan's father, Ramkishan, had lodged a complaint against those youths.

The police booked a case under sections 147 (rioting), 148 (unlawful assembly), 323 (causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation), 298 (uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person), of the IPC and 3/3 SC/ST Act and nabbed the four youths, identified as Pramod, Mandeep, Vikas and Rahul, this week.

However, Naresh Kadyan, representative of an NGO, International Organization for Animal Protection (OIPA) chapter in India, filed an application with the district administration and the concerned police station, saying, "OIPA chapter in India recognizes the efforts of youth activists who opposed animal abuse and demands cancellation of the FIR lodged with the Bhiwani Sadar police station."

He said the NGO declared seven persons facing assault charges as best activists for the year 2011 because these people are facing counter criminal cases against them for performing their fundamental duties as defined under article 51 A(g) of the Indian Constitution of India.

Bhiwani sadar police SHO Shribhagwan Singh, when contacted, admitted receiving the complaint but denied taking any action, stating that there was no animal abuse as the dalit groom was not allowed to perform the ghurchari.When told that the groom had undertaken the elephant ride in Kharkhari Makhvan, his bride's village, the SHO said he had no information about this. Ramkishan had publicly stated that his son had carried out the elephant ride on the same day when he was prevented from doing so.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Jallikattu organisers leave for Delhi

TRICHY: Karu Ambalatharasu, founder-president of the Tamil Nadu Jallikattu Forum, on Wednesday left for New Delhi to mobilise support against the "unlawful notification" issued against the traditional sport event. Before leaving, he told TOI the forum was all set to conduct the annual event as "the essence of it was ingrained in Tamil culture, and there were some vested interests that were trying to exterminate this culture from the State once and for all." Karu said he and his supporters were scheduled to meet Jayanthi Natarajan, minister of state for environment, and also all Tamil MPs to mobilise support for jallikattu.

Meanwhile, despite the July 11 Central notification banning the "game" while a final verdict is awaited from the Supreme Court in the TN government vs Animal Welfare Board of India case, the villagers in Pudukottai, Trichy, Thanjavur areas are busy training their animals for jallikattu. The State organiser of Jallikattu, Ondiraj, who is accompanying Ambalatharasu, said the game was once played throughout the year, and then restricted to three months during the harvest festival, before finally becoming a one or two days' event.

In Trichy district alone, it is now celebrated only in four villages such as Koothaipar, Karunkulam, Navalpattu, and Rettaimalai, he said. Taking exception to Hema Malini's stand against jallikattu, Ambalatharasu said the Central government should not have buckled under pressure of one woman. While Hema accused that the bull was tortured in the name of jallikattu, Ambalatharasu said, "We love the bull as if they are our own children, and what is more, we adore them like god. Moreover, this is the traditional festival where girls identified their suitors based upon the bravery exhibited at the arena, he added.

In fact, Hema Malini, MP, had written to Union Minister of Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh, to stop the cruel game of jallikattu that according to her violated the spirit of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Earlier, the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act No 27 of 2009 had permitted the game, and that was challenged in the apex court. However, the apex court had permitted the game while laying down strict norms for its conduct which included medical check-up for the animals, and a deposit of Rs 2 lakh for each event.

Victorias trot towards sunset with a slice of Mumbai’s history

Enjoying an evening ride in a kitschy horse-carriage along the city’s promenade will be a thing of the past, thanks to the efforts of animal rights activists who have been demanding a ban on such rides, citing animal cruelty.

The clip-clop of hooves along the Gateway of India or Marine Drive is an enduring symbol of the city’s history. Long romanticised in Hindi movies, Victorias are also a popular tourist attraction.

“Most of my customers are from the West Asia, who cannot resist the novelty of sitting in a decorated horse-pulled carriage,” says Ashok Kumar, who plies his carriage at Gateway of India and charges Rs500 for a short ride to the Radio Club and back.

And when he is not busy taking Arab tourists on joyrides, Kumar is approached by young couples looking for a quiet and romantic time. “Of course, they pay only half of what I get from the Arabs,” he says.

Though the 130-odd carriages may not generate big revenues for the city or the government, historians insist that efforts should be taken to preserve the city’s past. “Owners and drivers should be directed to work with animal welfare organisations. Together, they can draw up regulations for better treatment of the horses. And the civic authorities can suggest routes for carriages to operate upon,” says historian and researcher Sharada Dwivedi.

Another suggestion is plying the carriages through some of the old and historic parts of the city during non-rush hours.

Fight for survivalMeanwhile, 100-odd Victoria drivers are concerned about their livelihood. “We take good care of the horses because our livelihood depends on their health and well-being,” says Aslam Khan, who has been driving a Victoria for the last 15 years. And it is not just the owners and drivers who are staring at an uncertain future. If carriages are banned, other workers in the trade, including ironsmiths who make horseshoes and metal carriages, and stable hands, will be put out of work.

Villains or victims?When the government stopped issuing licences to stables in Mumbai in 1974, several unchecked and unregulated stables and make-shift sheds sprouted in South Mumbai. Together, these house 172 horses. And while it is the responsibility of the owners and drivers to take care of the animals, the unlettered men are largely ignorant of animal or even human rights.

Statewide zoo alert on crow deaths

The death of 4,000 crows across the state in three months prompted a high-level joint team of the United Nations and Union government to arrive in Jharkhand on Thursday to probe why the phenomenon was limited to home scavengers, and spurred the state to issue a blanket alert to all the 24 districts, zoos and parks.

A team comprising H.R. Khanna, project co-ordinator of Food and Agriculture Organisation, United Nations, and A.B. Negi, assistant commissioner of the Centre’s animal husbandry department, which reached Ranchi on Thursday, is currently in Jamshedpur.

Earlier, tests at Jamshedpur — considered to be the epicentre of crow deaths — revealed conflicting results. National Institute of Virology, Pune, drew a blank, the state animal husbandry department dithered about citing a specific virus and Indian Veterinary Research Institute in Bareilly said H5N1, one of the deadliest avian virus strains, was the culprit. 

Director of state animal husbandry department A.G. Bandyopadhyay told The Telegraph that the visit of Negi and Khanna was an attempt to find out why only crows were dying, not poultry. “No hens are dying, only crows,” he said, adding all animal husbandry officials across the districts were put on 24X7 alert to monitor the deaths.

The state forest department is also worried. “The forest department has served a blanket alert to zoos and parks in Jharkhand to protect birds and animals from infection,” said chief conservator of forests (wildlife) A.K. Gupta.
It may be a knee-jerk response, but some zoos are more alarmed than others.
“We have isolated the aviary. We are taking no chances,” Ranchi-based Birsa Munda Biological Park director P.K. Verma said. “We have temporarily closed the aviary and are cleaning enclosures and nearby areas with bleaching powder and spraying anti-virus liquid. Birds are being fed vitamins to boost immunity,” said he. 

Tata Steel Zoological Park, Jamshedpur, however, has adopted a wait-and-watch mode. But, East Singhbhum district officials have directed scavengers to dig 2ft deep pits to bury crow carcasses.

In Dhanbad district, too, animal husbandry officer Abhay Prasad Singh stressed on “digging pits and sprinkling lime” to dispose carcasses.Though all experts do not confirm bird flu, the fear about human threat and possible pandemic is running high. However, a bulletin of World Health Organisation (see box) says the worry is overrated. 

Environment bodies, zoo authorities and ornithologists are deliberating on four main angles — the exact reason behind deaths, human and animal peril, the magnitude of dwindling numbers and finally, long-term ecological impact if the bird becomes endangered. 

Ecologically, it hints towards a major imbalance. If a study conducted by Jamshedpur ornithologist K.K. Sharma — who first sounded the alarm on the deaths — is to be believed, Jharkhand had around 50,000 house crows, but in just three months, the numbers are 40 per cent down. 

“Till last week’s count, in Jamshedpur only, from 6,000 crows, the steel city now has 4,000,” Sharma said, adding he was sceptical about H5N1 virus as the cause. “In the case of vultures, too, everyone spoke about a virus scare. With 1 per cent of vultures left, we realised that diclofenac, used to treat cattle, is behind the deaths,” he said.

He said crows were winging behind vultures and eagles to oblivion.
Wildlife activist D.S. Srivastava said crows were friends of man. “They are scavengers who clean up pathogens from garbage near homes, protecting children and elderly who have less immunity,” said he.

Hazaribagh-based Satya Prakash, state co-ordinator of Indian Bird Conservation Network affiliated to NGO Bombay Natural History Society, said matters were not so serious. “The International Union for Conservation of Nature will declared crows as endangered only if deaths are reported across Asia. We need not worry about that. Let’s focus on imbalance in local environment,” said Prakash.

Friday, 16 December 2011

State may soon see rebirth of SPCA units

ALAPPUZHA: The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), which was constituted in every district in the state as per a Central directive, has not been functioning in Kerala since 2005. And though the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) directed the state this May to reconstitute the society, no action has been taken in this regard so far.

This society, under AWBI, was set up in Kerala as per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. The first SPCA unit in the state was set up in Palakkad in 1962. And the society was active in all districts till 2005. But now, nowhere is it functioning.

Kerala State Animal Husbandry Department (KSAHD) director Dr Vijayakumar R said his department had been allocating funds for the activities of the SPCA in each district till 1996."Later, the state government entrusted the job of allocating funds to district panchayats. But they stopped this practice from 2005 citing dearth of funds. Now, the government has again directed us to provide funds to the SPCA units along with district panchayats. We will soon reconstitute all the SPCA units," he said.

In a district, the collector and the district police chief are the chairman and vice chairman, respectively of the SPCA; and the chief veterinary officer is the convener. They are entitled to appoint 11 persons to various posts in the society, and may choose them from those actively working for the welfare of animals.

The main intention of a society is to prevent cruelty to animals and execute welfare schemes of the AWBI. Alappuzha collector Saurabh Jain disclosed that the district did not have an SPCA unit at present. Pathanamthitta collector P Venugopal and Kottayam collector Mini Antony also confessed that the units under their jurisdiction had become defunct, but claimed that the administration was taking action whenever a complaint was received.

"As per the AWBI directive, SPCA meetings should be conducted at least four times a year and every unit should submit an annual report on its activities to the Board,'' Dr Vijayakumar said. Dr J Mohan, additional director, KSAHD said lack of coordination and shortage of funds were the main reasons for SPCA units in the state becoming defunct.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

PFA Sangli - Dogs Meat Seller Exposed

A racket of dogs meat sellers exposed by PFA-Sangli in Dhamni on Miraj-Kolhapur road. Nearly 30-35 dogs were killed and meat was supplied to beer-bars and dhabas in the nearby area.In some areas dogs meat was sold as the meat of wild pig. PFA-Sangli has caught this racket with the help of local police and filed a case against him.

High Court gives green signal for ‘dog-feeding’ sites

Voicing its approval for designated “dog feeding spots” for stray canines in the city, the Delhi High Court on Friday disposed of a bunch of petitions by animal activists. The petitioners had moved the court to seek protection for dogs from “intimidating” residents, so they could be fed without any hassle.

Justice M L Mehta disposed of the petitions after asking the Delhi government, Police department, MCD, Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), various residents’ welfare associations and animal rights activists to work in tandem, so feeding spots could be earmarked for canines across the city. He further stated that judicial orders passed in the previous proceedings, relating to creation of designated spaces to feed stray dogs, will attain finality through Monday’s order.

Justice Mehta also asked the RWAs, which had opposed designation of feeding spots in their premises because “it would result in stray dogs biting the residents”, to sort out the contentious issues in consultation with the AWBI and civic authorities.

Advocate Anjali Sharma, appearing for the AWBI, pledged full support to the previous directives of the court and said that sterilisation and vaccination of stray dogs would be possible through feeding and confining dogs to the localities they inhabit.

Sharma further informed the court that the Board was proactively working towards designating dog-feeding spots across the city after due deliberations with the RWAs, local police and civic body officials. The AWBI’s earlier affidavit in court had also clarified that the dogs would be tended only in parts of a colony that are less frequented by the public. Streets, footpaths and entrances to houses would be strictly avoided, it had stated.

A previous court judgement had held that feeding dogs was both lawful and helpful, and would help the civic body sterilise and vaccinate them through the municipal animal birth control programme. The court had passed these orders on petitions filed by animal welfare NGOs from Vasant Kunj, Defence Colony, Kalkaji, Neb Sarai, Saket, Geeta Colony and Nangloi — seeking protection while they tend to their dogs.

Seeking the court’s intervention so the government can protect their dogs’ “life and limb”, the petitioners accused the police of “apathy” while acting on their complaints of harassment. While police said it was the civic body’s job to protect canines, animal rights activists cited provisions of the Stray Animal Control Rules (Dogs)-2001, meant to prevent cruelty to street dogs.

Indian Animal Rights Group Asks Pakistan to Free Monkey

As if Pakistan’s ambassador to India doesn’t have enough challenges to deal with — from Kashmir tensions to the trial of militants involved in the Mumbai attacks to improving trade relations – now another tricky issue has emerged, and it comes in the unlikely form of a monkey named Bob.

Bob, or to use his full name, Bobby, was reportedly “arrested” last week after straying into Pakistan from India. Bobby, astonishingly, hadn’t even bothered to submit the necessary visa paperwork before his little cross-border trip, and now he’s paying a heavy price for presuming that, as an animal, he was free to wander hither and thither however he chose. This lax approach to admin does little to dispel the stereotype that monkeys are irresponsible, or “cheeky.”

At least now, as he sits incarcerated in Bahawalpur Zoo in Pakistan’s Punjab province, Bobby has time to reflect on the errors of his ways, perhaps as he bounces a baseball off the wall of his cell, à la Steve McQueen in “The Great Escape,” though of course, being Indian, he’d have a cricket ball.

Fortunately for the shackled simian, his plight hasn’t gone unnoticed. The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations has written a letter to Shahid Malik, Pakistan’s ambassador to India, requesting that the monkey be released back into the wild.

“On behalf of all our member organizations and thousands of supporters we urge you to kindly rehabilitate any trespassing animals in their natural environment and not in the pitiable prisons-zoo,” the letter said, adding “We really hope that you will consider our request and look [into] this issue beyond human territories defined and marked by Humans.”

FIAPO, which describes itself as India’s largest umbrella body of organizations concerned with the protection and welfare of all animals, also put out a press release on the monkey matter, in which Arpan Sharma, the organization’s convenor, said: “We hope that the authorities will do the needful. Let the monkey be a messenger of peace & freedom and not of captivity & confinement.”

A press official at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi said he was unaware of FIAPO’s letter. Later, after India Real Time forwarded a copy of the letter to the High Commission, spokesman Khalid Sarwar said the matter is being conveyed to the department of the Pakistan government that deals with animal protection issues.

Hopefully that department won’t be sidetracked by the unconfirmed reports that a flock of birds has just drifted into Pakistani airspace and a trout has been spotted in the Indus River heading straight for the border.

It’s not a one-way street when it comes to these wildlife arrests, if you can call catching an animal “an arrest.” India also, according to reports, took a pigeon into custody last year on suspicion of spying.The pigeon was placed under armed guard and visitors, of course, were strictly forbidden.