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SC defers hearing on plea seeking medical relief for animals in Zoological Parks in the wake of COVID-19

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Supreme Court defers hearing on a plea filed by animal rights activist Sangeeta Dogra seeking medical relief for animals in Zoological Parks in the wake of COVID-19.

A Bench led by Chief Justice S. A. Bobde, Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar asked the registry to list the matter on April 20 with the amended copy of writ petition and serve the copy of Status report filed by Centre to the petitioner.

A PIL has been filed by animal activist Sangeeta Dogra seeking issuance of specific guidelines and directions in respect to Wild Animals confined in zoological parks of the entire country in the States. Petitioner sought directions to Government of India through its Secretary to add zoo animals food and diet supplies as essential services across country and allow weekly transportation for storage. Also the Petitioner prayed for directions to be issued to Central Zoo Authority to immediately close down slaughterhouse opened within any of zoo premises across country. The Petitioner in the last hearing had agreed to amend the Petition by inculcating recent developments.

Petitioner while talking to India legal told that there is no hospitalisation, isolation and quarantine facilities for sick animals in Zoo. Petitioner further said that Laboratory for conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES) are needed and not National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) which Central Zoo Authority has called. Also, the Petitioner told that the Zoo authorities sanitize the food which is given to animals but then they throw it in cage and these cages are not quarantined. So, medical teams are needed. There is need of medical team of Wildlife surgeon, Medicine Pathologist and admission facility for animals in hospitals. The only solution is for LaCONES Scientists to test animals. Many zoos have Bird Flu spread. Cats died already. Still no flag was raised by CZA. It would be better if charge of CZA is given to Veterinarian Council.

The Petitioner also told India legal that animals cannot carry infection unless their body is left unattended. In China, people had killed alive cats, so directions regarding this from the Court will also be sought. Day by day , there is new development in contamination of COVID, Hantavirus and as confirmed by WHO, Ebola has followed new Ebola virus by a case confirmed in Democratic Republic of Congo. In animal’s prospect, it is in 3 layers, zoo animals, wild animals and then pets and street animals. Animals have not yet spread infection, they have just been receivers as per details. Humans are carriers and receivers both. Animal digestive system and respiratory system is same as humans as the activist has quoted in the petition. And lifting carcass of animals and cremation is most critical aspect and the best way is to incinerate them than burial. Zoo animal’s food supply meat should be tested and slaughterman should also be regularly tested.

The matter would now be heard on 20th April, 2020.

-India Legal Bureau

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