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What’s Wrong with Indian Government? Ask Animal Lovers

People all over the world are asking what is wrong with the Indian government on account of ruthless culling of animals

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Animal cruelty is widely condemned all over the world. Image courtesy: Wikimedia commons
  • 1.5 million people over the world are outraged at the fact that protected animals are killed as vermin by the Indian government
  • About 100 NGOs have urged Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar to stop unscientific killings of animals
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that conservation of nature should not be a drag on development

NEW DELHI: Notwithstanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for conservation and to project India’s eco-sensitive stance, the government’s call for culling of “vermin” animals has caused a blot on its image abroad, with over 1.5 million people asking ‘what’s wrong with the Indian government’.

“It is distressing to learn that protected animals are being killed and treated as vermin. When laws are disrespected it does damage to the image of any country as one is committed to the rule of law and to protection of species,” Kathy Hessler, Clinical Professor of Law and Animal Law Clinic Director at Lewis and Clark Law School, told IANS. The institute is one of the only centres in the world that teaches animal law.

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About 100 NGOs under Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisation have urged Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar to stop unscientific and indiscriminate culling of wild species declared as ‘vermin’.

The Indian government has admitted to culling Nilgai, an antelope species, wild boar, and monkeys (rhesus macaque) on the specific request of state governments after terming them “vermin”. The debate has now reached the Supreme Court, which will hear a plea challenging three government notifications that declared these species as vermin.

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Prime Minister Modi, addressing the ‘Third Asian Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation’ in April this year, had said that “conservation of nature should not be a drag on development and can happen in a mutually complementary manner”.

Though India’s own Wildlife Protection Act-1972 is considered one of the best and inspiring laws in the world, the reports of culling of 250 Nilgai in Bihar, and plans to kill other species, and the Union Environment Minister supporting the move, has shocked international institutes.

Hessler says the Indian government should seriously explore alternatives.

“We also recognize that human-animal conflicts cause real damage, but it needs to be prevented and managed better with the interests of all in mind,” she added.

animals
About 100 NGOs under Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisation have urged Prakash Javadekar to stop unscientific and indiscriminate culling of wild species. Image courtesy: Economic Times

Javadekar has said there are laws that support culling. But experts disagree.

“Under section 62 of the Wildlife Protection Act, certain animals could be declared vermin. But it never says that killing is to be the first solution. In the case of Nilgai, it seems that the government is not interested in exploring other options, which are easy and require no killing,” Nikunj Sharma of PETA told IANS.

He adds that ever since the debate on culling has arisen, India’s image abroad as a society that has always respected conservation and valued the environment has taken a beating.

“We have been receiving reactions from across the globe. There have been some 15 lakh reactions on our webpage alone. People are asking what is wrong with the Indian government,” he said.

According to Hessler, India needs to educate its public about the value of animals and the need for peaceful mutual coexistence for better functioning of the ecosystem.

Stating that Nilgai and wild boar are part of protected species in India, she said that culling of these animals is proof that laws need to be strengthened.

Kartick Satyanarayan of Wildlife SOS, who is working with ecologists in Alaska on bear conservation, also says that the news of culling of Nilgai has hurt India’s reputation.

“The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 is a visionary law. There are case studies on it. Students across the world come here to learn about conservation and people admire India for its pro-wildlife image. But the culling and consideration for more animals to be declared vermin has damaged our reputation,” Kartick told IANS.

-by Saurabh Bodas, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter Handle: @saurabhbodas96

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  • Shubhi Mangla

    Both animals and plants constitute our nature. Hence, culling animals by declaring them as ‘vermin’ is certainly not an excuse. Strict action must be taken against these poachers.

  • AJ Krish

    The government should never resort to killing animals as their first choice. Another alternative must be found.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    poaching should be immediately looked after. We cannot afford losing animals or plants which belong our ecosystem. This way we are putting ourselves into huge problems as disturbing the ecosystem harms the surroundings of that particular area.

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  • Shubhi Mangla

    Both animals and plants constitute our nature. Hence, culling animals by declaring them as ‘vermin’ is certainly not an excuse. Strict action must be taken against these poachers.

  • AJ Krish

    The government should never resort to killing animals as their first choice. Another alternative must be found.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    poaching should be immediately looked after. We cannot afford losing animals or plants which belong our ecosystem. This way we are putting ourselves into huge problems as disturbing the ecosystem harms the surroundings of that particular area.

Next Story

By Advancing Interdependence, India will Bring New Dawn for Democracy in 21st Century

All citizens must be active participants in shaping the future of India

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Interdependence can be achieved by creating a country in which there is a shared understanding of the value of each citizen and a reliance on one another to eliminate discrimination. Pixabay

In his first speech after winning the election for his second term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proclaimed that “…we have to win ‘sabka vishwas’ (everyones trust).” What will be required to win that trust is establishing a true state of interdependence. Interdependence can be achieved by creating a country in which there is a shared understanding of the value of each citizen and a reliance on one another to eliminate discrimination, hostility, and prejudice and to provide equality and opportunity for all. All citizens must be active participants in shaping the future of India. They must be equal partners in Indias inclusive economic mobility and in Indias shared prosperity.

Independence Day is the perfect day to highlight the importance of and advance the concept of interdependence. This can be accomplished by promoting the need for a unified India on this national holiday.

The need for doing this is critical. Unfortunately, in the period since the Prime Minister called for winning “trust” in his speech, some Indians have engaged in actions destroying it.

Sadly, the heinous crimes at the beginning of Modi’s second term are nothing new. There were several lynchings and numerous attacks on Muslims during his first term.

Interdependence, India, Democracy
In his first speech after winning the election for his second term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proclaimed that “…we have to win ‘sabka vishwas’ (everyones trust).” Pixabay

Modi did not speak out vigorously then. He must do so now to demonstrate the essential leadership that will be required to create a state of interdependence. There are other serious conditions that must be addressed as well. To name just a few: sexual violence and subjugation of females continues; the caste system still exists; and, the problematic conditions of those in the weaker sections persist.

By speaking out, Prime Minister Modi can bring the country together to confront the matters that are hardening India’s democratic arteries. He cannot do that alone, however. He will need buy in and support from across the country and the citizenry.

A first step should be to “find our spiritual common ground”. That step can be initiated by recognizing that spirit is the invisible force that brings us together regardless of our caste, race, religion, region or political predisposition. The goal in discovering that common ground should be to create one nation under God. That nation would be an interdependent one and its God would be ecumenical and non-denominational. Its God would be welcoming to all.

As one nation, India would celebrate and embrace the richness of religious diversity

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As one nation, India would be inclusive and accepting unity over division and hope over fear

As one nation, India would elevate citizenship above angry and mindless partisanship and bring people together to pursue the common good

As one nation, India would be the place known for sharing and caring as opposed to blaming and shaming

As one nation, India would emphasize building bridges instead of constructing boundaries and barriers

Interdependence, India, Democracy
What will be required to win that trust is establishing a true state of interdependence. Pixabay

As one nation, India would ensure that all its people are literate and equipped with the skills to succeed in the 21st century

As one nation, India would extend life lines instead of drawing battle lines

As one nation, India would be a land of big dreams, small treasures, brave people, kind deeds, and tender mercies

As one nation, India would ensure the importance of the freedom of the free press, not to bury it

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As one nation, India would be a role model and exemplar for other democracies to emulate

Everyone must play a role in establishing India as one nation. Each citizen should engage in small acts of kindness by reaching out to those less fortunate and to the downtrodden by extending a helping hand and a hand up.

Some people can make special contributions. Religious leaders should promote interfaith dialogue. They should bring people together followers of different persuasions for meaningful conversations. They should promote a dialogue of understanding and a shared sense of community with other faiths. They should call the fact that attack on one faith is attack on all faiths. Political leaders should promote a framework of unity and civility. Civic and community leaders should promote collaboration in problem-solving. They should toil together their creeds to plant the seeds for doing good deeds.

There is no better day on which to resume our journey than Independence Day. There is no better way to make that journey than to chart a course to interdependence. By reaching that destination, India will establish itself as the beacon of hope for democracy worldwide. By realizing that potential, India will bring a new dawn for democracy in this 21st century. (IANS)