MULTI-CITY VIGIL IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE ANIMALS SUFFERING IN HYDERABAD’S MUNICIPAL POUNDS
17 September 2011 — Hyderabad
Animal lovers in three Indian cities – Hyderabad, New Delhi and Udaipur – will come together in a show of unity on Saturday to protest cruelty to animals in Hyderabad’s five municipal dog pounds. Dogs, monkeys and pigs have been subjected to unspeakably harsh treatment at the hands of authorities running the city pounds. Evidence of gross mismanagement and malpractice obtained by various investigators and visitors to the pounds has been widely circulated among concerned citizens, prompting legal warnings to the GHMC by the Animal Welfare Board of India and a recent official visit by the central government body to discuss remediation of the sites with state and municipal authorities. The campaign to abolish cruelty at the pounds has been taken up by animal activists in the West, who have set up internet petitions and online discussion pages.
“We are excited that people here and in other Indian cities have come out in support of Hyderabad’s animals,” said Praveen Ghoshal, an animal lover in the city. “Like us, animals feel pain and fear. They have as much right to live as we do. They deserve better, and we look forward to much needed reforms at the pounds so they will no longer be a source of suffering for the street animals of the city,” he continued.
Those attending the protests belong to multiple groups and have various aims. Some wish to stress the importance of compassion to all living beings. Others insist that the pounds be transformed into properly run ABC centers in order to constructively address Hyderabad’s roaming dog population issues. Still other attendees wish to show the municipal authorities that they expect competent, lawful governance from those entrusted with the task of running the city. Of the diverse groups in the three cities, all stand united on at least one point: the cruelty must end immediately, and proper, lawful and humane procedures implemented at the GHMC pounds.
NGOs specializing in street dog sterilization have been particularly critical of the functioning of the municipal pounds at Hyderabad, claiming that the substandard practices have not only resulted in unconscionable cruelties to the animals, but have exacerbated the city’s free-roaming dog problems. Dr. Lisa Warden, Advisor to ABC India, states “Arbitrary capture and removal of street dogs, as has been widely practiced in Hyderabad, is illegal in India for very good reason. Expert studies have established that ‘any actions that cause instability in the dog population encourage an increase in the transmission of rabies’ (Reece & Chawla 2006, Beran 1991, Blancou 1988). Displacing or killing dogs leaves a vacuum in the habitat, which is rapidly filled by new dogs who migrate into the area vacated by the dogs that are removed. Being new to the area, the new dogs are unsettled and possibly fearful, and may battle with surrounding dogs for dominance of the new turf. This increases the risk of dog bite and rabies transmission to residents. In a place in which rabies is endemic and in which there is a large population of free-roaming dogs, the best defense against both rabies AND human-dog conflict is to have a stable population of sterilized, vaccinated dogs. Those dogs, if left to live in peace in the neighborhoods, are comfortable in their surroundings and do not tend toward aggression. Not only can they not transmit rabies once vaccinated; they actually act as a defense against rabies for the human residents of the area by keeping out other unvaccinated, potentially rabid dogs (since they are territorial). Further, if they are sterilized, they will not reproduce and the dog population of the area will decrease over time of its own accord. We urge the GHMC to adopt scientific and humane dog population management practices at the earliest.”
The protest at Hyderabad, which begins at 6 pm at People’s Plaza on Necklace Road on Saturday 17th September, will consist of a silent demonstration in solidarity with the suffering animals, followed by a candle light protest. Participants are asked to wear white, to signify the innocence of the animals. Events will be held simultaneously in Delhi and Udaipur. The Hyderabad media is invited to attend and cover the protest, with the goal of spreading the message of compassion and kindness to animals.
ABC India is a pan-Indian trust consisting of animal welfare organizations and technical specialists united by a commitment to rabies eradication and scientific, humane dog population management through rigorous support for and implementation of the ABC (Animal Birth Control) program nation-wide.
ABC India salutes the concerned citizens of Hyderabad, Delhi and Udaipur who have united to insist on kindness, compassion and good governance.