As India enters day two of the 21-day lockdown, daily life has been thrown out of gear. And one group that is suffering, but is not as talked about, are the stray animals. With people who used to feed them earlier compelled to stay at home, there are many animals that facing food scarcity. To remedy this, the government is now allowing people to get animal feeder passes so that they can venture out and feed stray animals during the lockdown.
Lok Sabha member Maneka Gandhi on Thursday tweeted details of concerned persons who could be contacted to obtain animal feeder passes. The state-wise details are as follows.
Andhra Pradesh: Principal Secretary Praveen Prakash (09013133636)
Tamil Nadu: Chief Secretary Shri Shanmugham (9444362062)
Telangana: Passes can be collected from the Superintendents of Police (SPs). People will have to state where they will feed the animals and the pass will be from 7 am to 9 am.
Bengaluru: Commissioner of Police Bhaskar Rao (9480801001) is helping those who want to feed stray animals.
Pune: Those who want to get passes reach out to Neha Panchmiya of ResQ at 8805667777. The collector will give feeder passes through Neha.
Goa: Passes can be collected from Animal Husbandry Director Santosh Desai (98224 88911 or 08322437244), or from Animal Health Secretary KS Ganger (9958894664)
Rajasthan: Contact district collectors, or contact Dr Rajesh Sharma (9414070990)
Delhi: Feeder passes can be collected from the district Deputy Commissioner of Police. 100 passes per district available.
Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh: District Magistrates can give feeder passes and permission to evacuate stranded animals from pet shops.
Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh: Follow up with District Collectors for animal feeder passes and rescuing animals from pet shops.
Assam: People can follow up with Deputy Commissioners for animal feeder passes and evacuation of stranded animals from pet shops.
Tripura: WhatsApp your request for a pass to District Magistrate (west) at 8902497917 and you will be given a pass. Chief Secretary of the state Manoj Kumar can be contacted in case of a problem (0381 -2413200).
Earlier on March 24, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) wrote to Chief Secretaries of states and union territories (UTs) saying that it had come to the Boardâ€™s notice that many animals who are kept in pet shops and for breeding, were now stranded due to the lockdown.
â€śThe animals stranded in such places are likely to suffer and die without food, water, temperature control etc. All such pet shops are to be evacuated by the State Animal Welfare Boards through SPCAs," the AWBI had said.
SPCA or Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, is mandatory in every city, and is headed by a District Magistrate. â€śWhere there is no SPCA available, the District Administration shall ensure to check and evacuate all animals, if any from all such steps to avoid pain and suffering to those animals,â€ť AWBI added.
On March 26, Maneka Gandhi had issued a statement saying she had directed all animal welfare workers to feed animals during the lockdown period and that she would be doing the same. Her animal welfare organisation said on Twitter, â€śAnyone with an issue while feeding can refer to this letter. Do so under the government norms; do not step out in groups or for longer. Keep dry food and bigger water bowls that sustains for longer. From the safety of our home, we can help. Place food/water bowls right outside your home.â€ť
Anyone with an issue while feeding can refer to this letter,do so under the govt norms,do not step out in groups or for longerâ€” People For Animals India (@pfaindia) March 23, 2020
Keep dry food and bigger water bowls that sustains for longer.From the safety of our home we can help .Place food/water bowls right outside your home. pic.twitter.com/1tvrkw7oEg
On March 11, the AWBI had written to the Chief Secretaries of all states and UTs against abandoning animals or inflicting cruelty on them over fears of COVID-19. AWBI had clarified that as per the World Health Organisation (WHO), dogs and cats cannot spread the infection, and so, people should not abandon their pets.
Then, in a March 23 communication, AWBI had asked Chief Secretaries to provide fodder for large animals, and food for companion and stray animals during lockdown. â€śDistrict Administration may, if need be, allot specific time during the morning and evening hours for individuals/ volunteers to provide food and water for street animals and birds. This is a valuable service consistently provided by compassionate individuals and the absence of it may cause a large number of animals and birds to suffer and die and carcasses of the dead animals and birds may further spread different diseases amongst community which will be difficult to control,â€ť the Board had said.
It also asked the Chief Secretaries to raise awareness among the public to care for stray animals during the lockdown, and for the law enforcement to ensure that birds and animals do not suffer from hunger during the lockdown.