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Programmes to make India Rabies free soon

Animal Welfare Board proposed to commence mass vaccination programme of stray dogs to make India Rabies free.

india Updated: Jun 09, 2006 12:13 IST

Animal Welfare Board of India on Friday said it proposed to commence mass vaccination programme of stray dogs to make India Rabies free.

The Board also proposed to strengthen the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme, the Board's newly appointed Chairman Maj Gen (Retd) Dr RM Kharb, told reporters.

Kharb and Board vice president Appaji Rao said a rough estimate had put the total number of stray dogs in India to the tune of 18 million, including 1.5 million in Tamil Nadu. Annually, Rabies accounted for over 30,000 deaths in the country, they said.

Asked when the Board proposed to launch the programme, he said the programme would take six months to commence as it depended on availability of vaccines.

Regarding the ABC programme, Rao said a study conducted jointly by the city corporation and two animal welfare organisations had shown that the number of dogs that were brought for sterilisation had drastically gone down from 160 per day in 1980 to a mere 34 per day in 2005.

With rehabilitation and adoption of stray dogs and a more active ABC programme, the Board hoped to reduce the stray dog birth rate drastically, he said.

Asked what the Board proposed to do regarding an NGO report on the appalling conditions of slaughter houses in the state, he said the Supreme Court had now appointed inspectors to visit some of the slaughter houses and give a report within the next three months.

Kharb said there was an urgent need to monitor slaughter houses and to check illegal transportation of animals for slaughter.

The Board would stress on the state governments and authorities to implement the laws pertaining to slaughter house management, he said.

Asked about the use of horses in a Tamil movie, Kharb said though the Board was seized of the matter, the matter came under the purview of the union government. Moreover, the matter was before a court and hence sub-judice, he said.

Referring to future strategy, he said the Board proposed to develop institutional synergy with Veterinary Council of India, state governments, veterinary colleges and private institutions for coordination and support to the animal welfare activities.

It also programme to hold seminars and media interactions to create awareness to educate and sensitise common man on the issues pertaining to animal welfare.

The Board also proposed to have linkages with international organisations like RSPCA (Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) so as to replicate new management techniques practiced by them, wherever feasible, he said.

First Published: Jun 09, 2006 12:13 IST