Thursday, 8 December 2011

Birds' flight may be cut but not wings: AWBI

CHANDIGARH: The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) clarified that its recent circular on confining pet birds in cages pertains to ensuring these creatures are "neither subjected to having their wings cut nor kept in small cages."

Vice-chairman of Chennai-based AWBI Dr Chinny Krishna told TOI the guidelines are in accordance with the May 2011 judgment of Gujarat High Court and applicable to all the birds, whether covered under Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) or otherwise. Dr Krishna said, "AWBI had not banned the possession of exotic birds that are bred in India after import from other countries by home owners or pet shop owners.

However, pet birds must not be kept in inhuman conditions as per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960."

The Gujarat HC judgment emanated from the seizure of 494 birds from Surat-based traders. The wings and tails of the seized birds had been cut and taped and their claws were clamped with rings.

As many as 292 of these birds were wild Indian birds, whose possession is banned, unless special permission is granted by the government for restricted purposes of research and display (in a zoo).

The HC ordered their release into the wild and following this judgment, AWBI issued a circular on October 28, 2011 to all DGPs of states and UTs.
AWBI assistant secretary S Vinod Kumar said the depiction of caged birds is banned in films.

However, no such ban is in force for pet shops and household owners as far as the possession/sale of exotic/imported birds is concerned. There is a list of endangered birds covered under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), which cannot be imported and kept as pets in India, just as wild Indian birds.

The Union ministry of environment & forests is considering the introduction of new rules for pet shop owners in India, said Kumar.


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