Budget 2018: With the Union budget just days away, an animal rights body has asked the government to allocate funds for host of animal issues including for maintenance of gaushalas and development of grazing land. Spelling out their expectations from the budget, the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) has also demanded increased funds for street animal care through the Animal Welfare Board of India among others. Varda Mehrotra, director of FIAPOa, urged the government to allocate special funds for running animal birth control programmes for dogs, funds for regulating slaughterhouses and for setting up and proper functioning of State Animal Welfare Boards. Mehrotra said there are nearly 4,000 gaushalas that are functional across the country but only a few (maintained by religious sects or individuals) are in good condition.
“Some of the common problems found in gaushalas include overcrowding, insufficient feed, inadequate medical attention, communicable diseases being spread to other healthy animals through contaminated air/water/feed etc. “The government needs to allocate funds for better maintenance of gaushalas since they currently house animals that no longer give milk,” she said in a statement. She said that nowadays, cattle rearing is mostly dependent on dry fodder and the government should allocate funds in the development of grazing land to enhance the quality of food for these animals. Dharmaj gram in Anand, Gujarat, is an ideal example of development and maintenance of Gauchar, she said.
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The body has also asked for budget for an Integrated Rabies Control Programme, while noting that the problem of conflict between people and street dogs has been reported widely in the past year. Killing of dogs or relocating them is illegal, unscientific and eventually useless in addressing the conflict, the statement said.
“The government must invest in an integrated programme for human-dog conflict management. “This includes an exclusive vaccination programme for street dogs, state level monitoring committees for the Animal Birth Control programme, setting up counselling centers for victims of dog bites and education programme for school children on dog bite prevention,” she said.
The body also said that the central government must take due cognizance of illegal meat shops as unhygienic meat can cause tremendous health problems to consumers. “Funds should be allocated to form local bodies in each state to report the suffering of animals in the illegal meat shops and slaughterhouses,” Mehrotra said. The body has also asked for funds to support circus animal’s rehabilitation and subsidies for plant-based products that improve human health, and end animal suffering.