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Maha govt tables bill to regulate sale of exotic birds, animals at Mumbai’s civic markets

Animal activists said the trade of animals and birds cannot be regularised.

mumbai Updated: Mar 24, 2018 12:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
While the bill permits the sale at municipal markets, there is no clarity on the trade outside.(HT File Photo)

To curb the illegal sale of animals, exotic birds and fish in Mumbai, the state introduced a bill to regulate the trade by issuing licences to traders. The bill was introduced after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) requested the state to bring in a legislation.

The bill proposes to amend the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act (MMCA) to include animals, exotic birds and fish in the list of commodities that are permissible to be sold at municipal markets in the city.

However, birds and animals protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, have been excluded from the list.

The civic officials from BMC’s licence department will be given the authority to issue and regulate licences issued to the traders.

“The animals and birds, especially the domesticated species, are sold at the markets and outside without licences and any control. This leads to ambiguity about the legal provisions while taking action against such sale. Once they are licenced, there will be proper list of species of the animals and birds and greater clarity in initiating action,” said an official from urban development department (UDD).

Mumbai has 97 civic markets where agricultural produce and animal husbandry products, condiments, spices are sold. With the introduction of the bill, the government has proposed to add the category of animals and birds.

“Though no birds and animals are specified for sale, the list may include those not protected under the Wildlife Protection Act,” the official said.

While the bill permits the sale at municipal markets, there is no clarity on the trade outside. “To allow [sale] it outside the municipal markets, the government may amend the Shops and Establishment Act in the future,” said another UDD official.

Animal activists, however, said the cruel and illegal trade of animals and birds cannot be regularised.

“Birds, fish and other wild animals and indigenous wild species are protected from capture and sale under the Wildlife Protection Act. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, also makes it illegal to keep animals in enclosures that restrict natural movement,” Dr Manilal Valliyate from PETA (India) said.

First Published: Mar 24, 2018 12:37 IST