Animal rights activists say that the Indian dog-breeding market is untaxed, unregulated and "quite sinister"

With Govt ban on import of foreign dog breeds animal lovers hope puppy mills will finally close
news Animal Welfare Thursday, April 28, 2016 - 19:19

The government move to ban the import foreign dog breeds for commercial purposes has ignited the hope that the animals’ torture in a cruel breeding market would finally end.

Earlier this week, the Directorate-General of Foreign Trade issued a notification prohibiting the import of foreign dog breeds for commercial purposes. However, the police, army and research organizations are exempt from this. People who wish to import dogs as pets can do so provided they have the relevant legal documentation.

The notification has been welcomed by animal rights groups, who hope that the cruel treatment that dogs meant for breeding are made to undergo will end.

Honorary Animal Welfare Officer with the Animal Welfare Board of India and animal rights activist Vasudev Murthy says the dog-breeding market is untaxed and unregulated. “It is quite sinister. Breeders often keep the bitch pregnant continually,” he says.

Once the litter is delivered, the puppies are often separated from the mother 10-15 days after birth but they should not be before 75-90 days. “As a result, extremely weak puppies are introduced to the market as they have had no time to develop immunity,” Murthy explains. This can cause them to develop “exotic diseases” for which there may not be cures in India. Consequently, when the expenses of keeping the dogs go up, they are often abandoned or sent to shelters. “This is extreme cruelty – it may not be violent, but it is extreme,” he adds.

Co-founder of Bengaluru-based Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA) Suparna Ganguly who runs an animal shelter said that pedigree dogs tend to be abandoned a lot. “People who take these dogs may not be financially equipped to look after them, so there’s abandonment on a daily basis. You can’t make commerce with living creatures,” she said.

Gauri Maulekhi of People For Animals welcomed the step which would put an end to “puppy mills” but added that a law for regulating breeding domestically was also very important. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change however, is still deliberating on that.

She says that the present notification was important because it plugs a loophole that breeders used to their advantage. Breeders would obtain licenses from the DGFT circumventing the prohibition of illegal shipping of animals under the Customs Act.

While the military takes care of its animals, dogs imported for research purposes would be regulated by the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA) instituted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. “The CPCSEA ensures that these dogs do not end up on roads,” she added.

Breeders however, are left in the lurch. Bengaluru resident Satish S made news in March for importing two Korean Dosa Mastiffs for a whopping Rs 1 crore each. At the time, one of the nine-week-old puppies was reported to be unwell. Satish had then told The News Minute that he wanted to import two more dogs.

On Thursday however, he said that he had given up the idea of breeding the dogs in the wake of the ban. “I have left it [breeding]. Now that it is banned, what can I do?”

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