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Prodded By Apex Court, Animal Welfare Board Issues Advisory On Feeding Birds, Animals During COVID 19

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Acting on the Supreme Court directives, the Animal Welfare Board has issued advisory on feeding birds and animals during Covid-19. The board decision followed representation made in the apex court by animal rights activist, Sangeeta Dogra and in a circular addressed to Chief Secretaries and DGP of all States and UT’s, it has asked that matter has to be taken most urgent.

The advisory issued by Animal Welfare Board said, “The Supreme Court, in its order dated 21 April, 2020, in the matter of Sangeeta Dogra vs Central Zoo Authority of India for feeding the animals and birds during the Covid-19 lockdown period to extent its support for Human-Animal Co-existence while directing that the Writ Petition be considered as representation.”

1. Area:- It was clarified that during feeding Pet or Street Animals, personal hygiene shall be maintained. Feeder should identify the place and time. Pets and stray should be fed at restricted area only on specified time. Area for the feed of animals  should be away from public movement. 

2. Cooperation:- Feeder should co-operate with Local authorities implementing Government of India/ State Government guidelines for lock down and maintaining Law & Order. Provide them detail of individual(s) in writing to Local police Station and  beat constable take receiving with feeding time schedule and the same be given to the Resident Welfare Associations(RWA) society heads. 

3. Waste Management:- Norms of Waste Management, after feeding of animals should be followed by destroying feeding tray and newspapers. Mask and gloves need to be destroyed or disinfected. 

Advisory for Residents 

1. Residents should be made aware to notify not to litter leftover food and may be distributed in one corner where animals can eat with respect and keep waste management in place. Staff of local bodies will be responsible to minimize fear of spreading of pandemics from stray and pet animals.

 2. Resident and Local Authorities are requested to co-operate with Animal feeders with full protection and respect as they are offering animals feed and are obeying their Fundamental Duties as per Article 5l (A)(g) of Indian Constitution as read below: 

“Article 51 A (g) of the Constitution says that it shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including forests and wildlife.” 

3. It may also be noted that pets/ stray animals do not spread COVID-19. Anyone who abandons or harass animals out of fear of spreading of COVID will be liable to be prosecuted under Section 11(1) of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, where Police is fully entitled to take cognizance under this section as deem fit. 

4. Animal Welfare Board of India is receiving number of cruelty cases during  lock down  against  animals including pet animals. Board has also noticed that animals are brutally beaten with rods/ hard objected etc. Such inhuman behaviour of the people or animal owner is punishable offence and the Police Department is requested to immediately act on the matter when reported by any person, feeder and animal welfare activists. 

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