Year Ends on Great Note for Animals in India.
Some would say that 2016 has been a dismal year overall to say the least, with financial, health and business troubles overwhelming many. There have been moments so intense this year (ISIS terror attacks, sudden deaths of well-loved celebrities, far too familiar farmer suicides, melting ice caps, the USA Presidential election, the Indian demonetisation move to name a few) that the world at large has been left stunned on more than one occasion, trying to catch its breath and attempting (sometimes unsuccessfully) to adapt to the superfast changes. But just when we began to think that 2016 would in no way be able to redeem itself (there has been an animated discussion about this on Twitter-verse), two government initiatives in December have injected a fresh dose of positivity into the Indian animal welfare movement.
First, the National Green Tribunal imposed an ‘interim nationwide ban’ on the use of glass-coated manja – a specially manufactured thread for kite-flying. The move was made to ensure that humans, birds and animals and safe from the dangers posed by these sharp strings. According to the Times of India, ‘The green panel said that the ban order would apply on nylon, Chinese and cotton manja coated with glass and directed Manja Association of India to submit report to Central Pollution Control Board on harmful effects of kite strings’.
Within a couple of days of this ban, another move by the government was very well received by the entire animal welfare community – draft rules were notifies by the Ministry of Environment & Forests with multiple provisions to regulate and pet shops in the country and thereby prevent the shocking cruelty meted out to animals housed within these shops. The Times of India reported: ‘The rules, once notified by the environment ministry after analyzing suggestions of stakeholders, will regulate, among other practices, the capture, housing, breeding and transportation of animals sold in the pet trade’. Anil Madhav Dave (Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change) was quoted to have said, “The entire sector is unregulated. Now, the state animal welfare boards will register them after inspections. The rules also define space requirements and other basic amenities to keep the pets. It will also be mandatory to maintain records of sales, purchase, sick animals and death of animals in the pet shops.”
So, pernicious as 2016 may have appeared to the best of us, it certainly seems to have softened its grip and laid the paving blocks to a far brighter 2017 – for the animals, for the climate, for the environment and natural resources, and for all of the wonderful humans who do their bit everyday, all year round, to make the year end on such overtones of success in social justice.
Happy holidays everyone – have a blessed Christmas and ring in a fantastic new year!