Veterinary association ready to take up ABC programme in Kerala

Stray dogs found in Kochi. It is said that the number of dogs on the streets of Kerala could be as high as one million.   | Photo Credit: H. VIBHU

The Kerala chapter of the Indian Veterinary Association (IVA) has said it is willing to take up animal birth control (ABC) programme in the State after the High Court issued an order about a fortnight ago barring local self-government bodies from transferring funds to the Kudumbashree Mission, which had earlier been engaged by the State government to carry out the programme.

The proposal assumes significance amidst allegations that the Thrikkakara municipality in Ernakulam district resorted to engaging dog-catchers to kill strays. The allegations are still under investigation. Municipal chairperson Ajitha Thankappan of the United Democratic Front (UDF) denied the allegations. She said she came to know of the alleged killing of dogs through news reports. But the Opposition has accused the ruling coalition of not following rules governing the control of stray population.

V.K.P. Mohankumar, general secretary of IVA Kerala, said on Monday that the veterinary association was in the process of forming a society based in Thrissur to take up the ABC programme. The IVA is an association of professional veterinarians and there are around 4,000 members. The proposed society would have to set up facilities and form a team of veterinarians to take up the programme, he said.

Ambili Purakkal, coordinator and founder member of Daya, an organisation engaged in animal welfare and rescue in Muvattupuzha, said the number of dogs on the streets of Kerala could be as high as one million. She said a survey of stray dogs in the country had shown that Kerala had around eight lakh stray dogs in 2019. Given the present conditions, it was safe to estimate that their numbers had increased to a million, she added. Ms. Purakkal also said that the number of distress calls for animal rescue had increased substantially over the past months, to five per day on an average.

Animal Husbandry Department sources said the control of the street dog population was guided by the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001. The dogs are to be sterilised, vaccinated, and released in the areas from which they were picked up.

The rules also specify that ABC programmes should be handed over to establishments with expertise in the area, approved by the Animal Welfare Board. Kudumbashree did not qualify for the role, said Ms. Purakkal. The Kudumbashree Mission was launched for women empowerment and poverty eradication, she added.

Animal Husbandry Department sources said the onus of controlling the stray population was on local bodies.

A division bench of the High Court had ordered the stopping of fund transfers to Kudumbashree under the ABC programme till it was decided whether the Mission had the expertise and facilities to carry out the programme.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 5:40:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/veterinary-association-ready-to-take-up-abc-programme-in-kerala/article35544222.ece

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