She delivered an address at "Asia for Animals" conference
CHENNAI: Animal rights activist and MP Maneka Gandhi on Monday made a plea to all animal rights groups to stop bad mouthing each other and fighting among themselves. She said it would be better if everyone united under one common body to raise funds and awareness.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the Fourth International "Asia for Animals" conference in Chennai, Ms. Gandhi pointed out that most animal rights group were fighting to try and prevent the other groups from receiving funds.
`There is no cake'
"It is as if they are fighting for a piece of cake and they could get more if it was denied to someone else. But the truth is there is no cake."
Ms. Gandhi also appealed to the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to treat animal welfare groups with less suspicion with respect to devolution of funds.
She made a fervent plea to AWBI chairman Gen. R.M.Kharb, who was present at the conference, to issue identity cards to recognised animal welfare groups.
"It is of an immense help to prevent illegal trafficking of animals and to carry out raids," she pointed out.
Later, during an interaction with the media, Ms. Gandhi termed "anti-people" the order of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday lifting an earlier order banning `jallikattu,' `rekla race' and other such rural sports involving animals. "The order is very disappointing and not just because it concerns cruelty to animals. `Jallikattu' is a cruel sport and nearly 20 people die every year," She said, adding that animal welfare groups would consider challenging the order in a higher court.
The conference organisers also gave away award citations to individuals, who have supported the animal rights movement over the years.
The recipients for this year included IAS officers M. Abul Hassan and Syed Munir Hoda, IPS officer Sylendra Babu, journalist P. Opilli ( The Hindu ) and animal rights activist Umaa Unnathi.
S.Chinny Krishna, chairman, Blue Cross of India, Kim Bartlett, publisher, Animal People, Usha Sundaram, founder, Blue Cross of India and several other animal welfare activists from all over the world participated. The four-day conference will go on at GRT Convention Centre on Thyagaraja Road in T.Nagar till Friday and will move to C. P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation in Alwarpet on the concluding day.