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.