Friday, April 3, 2009

Stray Animals in India: Do We have any Policy?

Public concerns do not always refer to the issues of corruption, accountability, justice. Of course, these issues are very dear to Mission India foundation (MIF). Since my friend Krishnan - A GreenPeace corp- almost threatened that he would withdraw his support from MIF if MIF did not pay attention to environment ( Al Gore of Tamil Nadu!), my curious brain started roaming on Indian roads and I said to myself: "Got to take up a public issue, man!" And here we go: Apparently small and trivial issues sometime if paid attention look worth-discussing. Let us take this example of stray cattle.

India is home to approximately 60 million stray cattle. That sounds astounding!

What are the implication of stray animals:

1. They destroy the aesthetic beauty of the surroundings (without getting the wrath of animal lovers!).

2. They cause accidents on the roads, they may cause injuries to kids, elderly people.

3. They contribute to environmental uncleanliness, filthiness (think of pigs, dogs).

4. Monkeys play havoc with life, material and resources.

5. More importantly, they cause diseases like tetanus; dog bite can cause rabies / hydrophobia. Pregnant ladies in contact with cats can acquire Toxoplasmosis (the disease can affect the growing fetus adversely). Monkey bites have resulted in grievous facial injuries and even deaths. similarly, other zoonotic diseases are well known.

We are so immune to seeing the pigs, cattle, dogs roaming around that we think this is a part and parcel of Indian life! I had the same impressions until I came out to USA. Very different: No dogs, no pets roaming around without the chains! You do not see cows, buffaloes anywhere (of course, here also we get milk! But the animals remain where they are supposed to be: in the custody of the owner! Very basic Principal: "You own the animal, you got to keep it!" Hence, whereas baby-sitters are available here to take care of your kids, you can also find pet-sitters to take care of your pets when you are away from your home! Funny! Is not it!

Now I know that the American model of cattle-rearing is not possible to be emulated over India, but there must be some solutions that we need to find to check the menace of stray cattle. Any takers!



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