Increase Funds for Street Animal Care through the Animal Welfare Board of India

Animal Welfare Board of India looks after the rights and protection of animals in India and supports several programs towards the welfare of animals. But, the grant provided to AWBI from the Central government is only Rs45 lakhs, which is completely inadequate vis-a-vis the number of animals who need aid i.e. maintenance, medical expenses, gaushalas, and shelters. We therefore ask for an increase in the funds allocated to AWBI.

Funds for setting up the maintenance of Gaushalas and Pinjrapoles:
There are nearly 4,000 gaushalas that are functional across the country but only a few (maintained by religious sects. or individuals) are in stable 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.

Funds for development of Gauchar/ Grazing Land- Gauchar are the grazing land for animals. Nowadays, a 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.

Running Animal Birth Control Programmes for Dogs

While a few shelters run Animal Birth Control (ABC) programmes in each state, these shelters are unable to work at optimum levels due to insufficient funds and resources. These shelters can benefit hugely through developed infrastructure, better staff, increased quality of treatment and general environment, thereby improving the work of sterilisation and animal care. FIAPO requests the government to allocate special funds for the same.

Budget for an Integrated Rabies Control Programme

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. Therefore, the government must invest in an integrated programme for human-dog conflict management which includes-

Funds for regulating slaughterhouses-

The Central govt. 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.

Funds to support circus animal’s rehabilitation-

Presently, India has approximately 50 travelling circuses with about 400 wild, exotic and domestic animals. These animals suffer in the name of entertainment as shown by the government inspection reports. The government should allocate money for rehabilitation of these circus animals, especially the elephant which is our heritage animal. This can be done through allocation of sufficient funds to the Project Elephant to set up and support elephant rehabilitation centers.

Funds allotment for setting up and proper functioning of State Animal Welfare Boards (falls under the purview of Ministry of Environment, Forest Affairs and Climate Change) –

There are very few states like Uttarakhand which have a fully functional state animal welfare board. Despite Supreme Court orders and a letter from Late Shri Anil Madhav Dave (ex-Minister of State, MoEFCC), state animal welfare boards are not functional in all states. It is not possible to implement the new rules such as the Dog Breeding and Marketing Rules 2017 without the presence of active state animal welfare boards. In order to enhance the welfare of animals and in order to ensure implementation of the animal welfare laws as stated in the letter and in spirit, it is imperative that all states have animal welfare boards.

Subsidies for plant-based products that improve human health, and end animal suffering
The government should invest in commercialising plant-based products in the market like soy, almond and coconut milk. Both animals and humans could benefit if the government would start catering to the growing need of plant-based products. Currently, meat and milk producers get substantial subsidies for production and distribution. With the changing environment and health requirements of the country, many small scale and home-grown companies producing dairy and meat substitutes are cropping up, if the Union Budget 2017-18 allocates subsidies to such companies it would greatly contribute to a healthier India. From the point of view of public consciousness on the health benefits of following a plant-based diet, the budget should also allocate funds towards raising public awareness.

Date : 21 January 2018

Source : https://www.indiainfoline.com/article/editorial-union-budget-industry-expectations/fiapo-expectations-from-the-union-budget-2018-19-118012300499_1.html