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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
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  • 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.

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Cepheid to Establish Manufacturing Unit for TB Diagnostics in India

Rifampicin is a drug commonly used in treating TB bacteria in first line of treatment

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The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach.
The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach. (IANS)

Expanding its footprint in India, US-based molecular diagnostics company Cepheid Inc on Thursday announced its plans to establish a manufacturing unit in the country to improve Tuberculosis (TB) diagnostics.

Cepheid’s GeneXpert MTB/RIF test is a closed-cartridge-based system that is easy to operate by minimally trained staff and gives results in approximately two hours, speeding the conventional backlog that used to exist in traditional diagnostic methods.

The new manufacturing unit would produce MTB/RIF test cartridges, contribute to the government’s “Make in India” initiative and thus bringing the company’s global expertise in TB diagnostics to India, the company said in a statement.

As part of the plan, Cepheid also unveiled its latest portable, easy-to-use TB-testing system — the GeneXpert Edge — which is expected to be available in India later this year, the company said.

The GeneXpert Edge is developed specifically for near-patient testing, to help support a one visit test-and-treat approach.

“Cepheid recognises the need for technological advancement and is committed to contributing significantly to India’s goal of TB eradication,” said Peter Farrell, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Commercial Operations, Cepheid.

Cepheid's Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB)
Cepheid’s Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB).

“We are hopeful that GeneXpert Edge will help eliminate delays in TB diagnostics by providing definitive results within hours and facilitating fast and easy last-mile delivery even in the remote villages of India,” he added.

India has nearly one-fourth of the global TB patients and an estimated 4.8 lakh lives are lost every year due to delayed diagnosis and inadequate treatment and there are above 2.5 million new cases of TB every year. The country aims to eradicate TB by 2025.

Approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2010, more than 1,200 Cepheid’s GeneXpert Systems have been installed in the last two years at various Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) sites in the country and more than 2.5 million cartridges were supplied last year at various centres of Central TB Division (CTD).

Also Read: Fruit Bats Identified As Source Of Nipah Virus Outbreak in Kerala

Cepheid’s Xpert MTB/RIF test has the potential to detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis(MTB) and rifampicin-resistance mutations, which are markers for MDR-TB strains in under two hours.

Rifampicin is a drug commonly used in treating TB bacteria in first line of treatment.

Xpert MTB/RIF tests also have excellent negative predictive value, which allows clinicians to manage TB-negative patients more effectively to prevent unnecessary and costly respiratory isolations. (IANS)