Special Correspondent

To intensify vaccination, animal birth control programmes

Board plans to strengthen animal birth control through rehabilitation and adoption of stray dogsMore animal welfare organisations, units campaigning for prevention of cruelty to animals planned

CHENNAI: The Animal Welfare Board of India plans to intensify anti-rabies vaccination and animal birth control (ABC) programmes to achieve a rabies-free India, its new Chairman Major-General R.M. Kharb has said.

Talking to reporters during his maiden visit to Chennai after assuming office, he said the Board aimed to "eradicate rabies from India by mass rabies vaccination of stray dogs and further strengthening the ABC by rehabilitation and adoption of stray dogs."

Priority would be accorded to establishing more animal welfare organisations, goshalas and units campaigning for prevention of cruelty to animals in more areas, particularly at the district-level.

"Institutional synergy"

An "institutional synergy" would be developed in association with the Veterinary Council of India, State Governments, veterinary colleges and private institutions for coordination and support to animal welfare activities, Dr. Kharb said.

Efforts would be made to check illegal transportation of animals for slaughter and overloading of vehicles with animals. The rescued animals would be housed in nearby goshalas for proper care.

The Board would also write to State Governments and authorities concerned to implement laws regulating slaughterhouses and minimise cruelty inflicted upon animals.

They would be urged to create electric crematoriums for the disposal of carcasses of stray as well as pet animals.

Fruitful partnership

Vice-Chairman V.N. Appaji Rao said incidence of rabies in Chennai had come down significantly owing to the fruitful partnership between the Corporation and organisations such as the Blue Cross and the People for Animals. Birth control measures and successful solid waste management techniques contributed to the success of the drive.

However, suburban areas such as Koyambedu, Saidapet and Ambattur still experienced the menace. Dr. Rao urged civic bodies in these regions to work towards bringing down the number of stray dogs.

Though the Board supported about 2,200 animal welfare organisations nationwide, it must try to establish contact with similar organisations, numbering over 10,000, working in rural and semi-urban areas, participants said.