A non-government organisation and the state animal husbandry department will launch a campaign in Jharkhand on Sunday to protect animal rights and appeal people to turn vegetarian.
Helping Organisation for People, Environment (HOPE) & Animal Trust in association with the department will organise a rally as part of the World Animal Day (WAD), which will be observed for the first time in Jharkhand and Bihar. More than 200 people, including school children and animal rights activists, will participate in the rally.
“WAD celebration is an initiative to generate awareness among people about animal rights,” said animal husbandry department director Rajnikant Tirkey on Saturday.
The department of the BJP-ruled Jharkhand has decided to join the campaign for vegetarianism at a time the saffron party-led government’s ban on meat in Maharashtra during a Jain festival kicked up a row with its partner Shiv Sena opposing the move.
The killing of a Muslim villager accused of sacrificing a calf in Greater Noida triggered a controversy with the SP accusing the BJP of trying to engage in polarisation politics for gains in the 2017 UP polls. The Aam Aadmi Party called the incident a conspiracy by the BJP to divide the country.
HOPE & Animal Trust, an NGO partner of the Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) for stray dog control, will conduct painting competitions regularly in schools to spread awareness on animal rights among children.
“Animal cruelty is considered high in Jharkhand with unchecked slaughtering of animals for business purposes and lack of government monitoring,” said a HOPE official.
Around 20,000 tonne of goat meat is consumed in Jharkhand annually, which means nearly 8-10 lakh goats are slaughtered every year. The goat population has declined to 65,81,449 in 2012 livestock census from 65,91,592 in 2007.
“Not just goat, other animals are also slaughtered in a big way in Jharkhand for business purpose violating the basic rights of animals,” said Praveen Ohal, chief executive officer of HOPE & Animal Trust. Like humans, animals are entitled to the right to life and to be free from human exploitation, he said.
“Our appeal is that there should not be slaughtering of animals. Even if it happens, it should be under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughter House) Rules, 2001,” he said, adding that the rules say animals cannot be slaughtered except in licensed houses.
The rules prohibit slaughter of an animal which is pregnant or under the age of three months. Besides, animals cannot be slaughtered in slums, roadside meat shops, dhabas or private houses, he said.
Slaughtering is common near meat shops on Lalpur-Kokar road and Bahu Bazar road in Ranchi. Most of the shops have no licences, said an RMC official.
HOPE & Animal Trust is trying to rope in animal rights organisation PETA to strengthen its movement. “Our fight is not restricted to only animals killed for meat but also to other animals which face human cruelty,” Ohal said.
“We will appeal to people to be vegetarian for animal rights protection through the rally and painting competitions,” he said.