Issues, Challenges and Recommendations
Submitted by – DR. PUNIT G. (PGP-2), IIMA.
ARTICLE 51 of INDIAN CONSTITUTION
Article 51 of Indian constitution provides protection to animals in India by ensuring “Compassion to all living creatures”. For ensuring the same, PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS act was enacted in 1960 under which the Government of India instituted the ANIMAL WELFARE BOARD of INDIA for carrying out the activities mentioned in the above mentioned act. Following are some of the important points to be discussed in this backdrop: 1. Saving of DOG population from mass killing by local municipal corporations. a. Enforcing the ANIMAL BIRTH CONTROL PROGRAMME throughout India, i.e. replacing mass killing of stray dogs with vaccination & sterilization programmes. 2. Creating SPCA’s (Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), monitoring their activities, and derecognizing those which are non-working or misusing their mandate. 3. Work towards licensing and taxation of all dog and cat sellers.
The report that follows will discuss each issue in the backdrop of the necessity for creating such an article in the act, the relevance in today‟s time, critical analysis of the policy, any suggestions/recommendations to improve the efficacy for the purpose for which it was put in the first place.
“SAVING of DOG POPULATION from MASS KILLING”
OVERVIEW: Mass killing of stray dogs was started in India in the 19th century during the times of Britishruled India. Almost 50,000 dogs were killed every year even after Independence by the local municipal authorities with an objective to eradicate RABIES and also reduce the stray dog population in India. But in 1993, finally the government admitted that this policy had been a complete failure as human deaths due to rabies had actually increased, and also the dog population was on a rise. This meant that the application of the technique (mass-killing) which was followed in developed countries, did not work in India (a developing nation) as the two environments and scenarios are hugely different from each other. Hence in 1994, the killing programme was replaced by ABC (Animal Birth Control) which meant masssterilization (with mass-vaccination against rabies) instead of mass-killing. In either case, the final objective of the programme is straight-forward – “Controlling the population of stray dogs.” OBJECTIVE of POPULATION CONTROL program: Rather than understanding the pros and cons of any method, let us first begin by laying out the objectives for any such system to be in place. Here are a few of the possible objectives: 1. Protecting the public health at large (as dogs are carriers/vectors for many diseases, including Rabies) 2. Maintaining community hygiene, especially in the urban context. The reasons for doing so are based on some of the facts and statistics highlighted below: i. ii. India has the highest population of stray dogs in the world, an estimated 19 million. 80% of all rabies deaths world-wide occur in India, about 30,000 deaths reported each year. iii. iv. 42% of dog-bite victims are children Noise pollution caused by night fights between dog-packs is a severe problem for senior citizens.
Stray dogs on runways have forced pilots to take evasive action, causing near-accidents to aircraft and necessitating orders from the Mumbai High Court to IAAI to take all necessary measures to clear airport areas of stray dogs.
UNDERSTANDING THE “STRAY DOG” ISSUE: “Stray dogs” are the ownerless, abandoned, un-muzzled, wandering dogs on the urban road, i.e. Free-ranging urban dogs (wikipedia). This means either they are ownerless right from their birth, or become ownerless at some point in their lifetime. These may be pure-bred, true mixed-breed, or un-bred (e.g. Indian pariah). Overpopulation of these stray dogs can cause public health problems for the societies in which they wander freely. The...