Under which law are dogs killed for meat in Nagaland when there is a ban on killing them under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act? Punjab has posed this query to the north-eastern state for a different reason: to combat the stray dog menace back home.
Since Punjab has no funds to arrange for the sterilisation of dogs across the state, killing them could provide an answer, felt a three-member committee of the state vidhan sabha.
The panel, headed by BJP MLA Anil Joshi, had been set up to recommend ways to check incidents of dog bite after the matter was highlighted in the assembly session last year.
It was on the panel’s brief that the state veterinary and health departments had been considering the possibility of killing dogs under some provision of law, as being done in Nagaland.
The panel, with MLAs Makhan Singh and Gurbachan Singh Babbehali of the SAD as the other two members, had held a two-day meeting in Shimla on November 17 and 18 last year and discussed with Himachal Pradesh officers the measures taken by them to check the menace of monkeys and other wild animals. What caught the panel’s fancy was the outcry among Himachali farmers for permission to kill wild beasts and monkeys to save their crops.
The Punjab health department shot off a letter to the Nagaland government on Friday, asking “under what legislation dogs were killed in that state, where dog meat was available for human consumption despite the countrywide ban on killing dogs under the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001”.
The animal husbandry department had expressed its inability to carry out a sterilisation drive across the state, citing paucity of funds. It also submitted before the panel that the central grant for constituting an animal welfare board in the state on the lines of the Animal Welfare Board of India was still awaited.
The health department has also conveyed to the panel that the anti-rabies vaccination could not be made available on a large scale due to shortage of funds.
A senior health department officer pointed out that the practice of killing stray dogs was prevalent in Punjab about 15 years ago.
Besides looking for a provision in law to kill stray dogs, we are working out the possibility of sending the canines to Nagaland, where dogs are commonly sold for meat.
MLA Makhan Singh
(Member, Vidhan Sabha committee)