Kerala

Stray animals, birds face starvation

A victim: Even morsels of leftovers are hard to find in urban spaces these days, imperilling animal lives.

A victim: Even morsels of leftovers are hard to find in urban spaces these days, imperilling animal lives.   | Photo Credit: Sakeer Hussain

PFA approaches police seeking permission to feed such animals

The COVID-19 lockdown in the State has upended the lives of not just human beings but also animals and birds. Homeless animals such as stray dogs and cats are faced with starvation with animal welfare activities hampered by the restrictions in place and restaurants and eateries downing shutters.

The Thiruvananthapuram chapter of the People for Animals (PFA) has written to the District Police Chief (Thiruvananthapuram city) requesting freedom of movement for its staff to feed strays and animals housed in rescue shelters.

“If we ignore this issue, it could lead to a more severe problem. Strays left starving may start attacking people. If they start dying, the carcasses could pose health problems,” PFA (Thiruvananthapuiram) secretary Latha Indira told The Hindu.

PFA plea

The PFA has requested permission for vehicles of animal welfare organisations to attend rescue calls and take food supplies to animals in need. Stray animals are faced with the prospect of starvation due to the closure of restaurants and eateries, the PFA said in its petition.

Further, a number of organisations operate rescue centres where hundreds of animals are cared for, the PFA pointed out. There are also several people who feed and care for animals on a daily basis. The organisation has requested the police to allow animal feeders to supply food to homeless animals till 9 p.m. every day. “These animals are our responsibility and we need to feed and take care of them,” PFA said.

AWBI petition

The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), in a letter to Chief Secretaries of all States and Union Territories on March 23, had suggested that district administrations can allot a specific time during the morning and evening hours for individuals/volunteers to provide food and water to street animals and birds.

Valuable service

“This is a valuable service consistently provided by compassionate individuals and its absence may cause a large number of animals and birds to suffer and die. The carcasses of the animals and birds may further spread different diseases in the community which will be difficult to control,” AWBI chairman O. P. Chowdhuri said in his letter.

Pet shop owners also have approached the police with a similar request. They have birds, animals and fish which need to be fed. Moreover, pet shops also stock feed for pets. The Pets Farmers and Traders Association, in a March 25 letter to the District Police Chief (Thiruvananthapuram city), has requested permission to keep pet shops open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Essential services

Meanwhile, the State government has issued orders listing veterinary clinics, animal husbandry services and dairy development as essential services.

The government has amended the March 23 order on the lockdown to facilitate their inclusion. All veterinary hospitals and sub- centres will function with skeleton staff and provide services to dairy farmers, Animal Husbandry Director M. K. Prasad said. In view of the COVID-19 scenario, it would be ideal for farmers to approach the hospitals only for emergency medical care, Dr. Prasad said.

Amending the March 23 order, the government included ‘waste management service by IMAGE and other private waste management services’ in the list of essential services.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 8:03:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/stray-animals-birds-face-starvation/article31176507.ece

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