Following an appeal from PETA India, the central government body the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has issued an urgent advisory dated 21 May requesting that states and union territories (UTs) allocate sufficient funds for feeding community animals including dogs, cats and birds – as Odisha has done – and ensure the effective distribution of food to them. AWBI warns that, the current pandemic situation and curfew restrictions have hindered the feeding of community animals, which may lead to starvation and decreased immunity among animals, making them more susceptible to infectious diseases. The AWBI has also recommended that states and UTs designate veterinary service providers, workers with animal welfare organisations, and animal feeders as frontline workers to ensure that they’re able to keep providing animals with veterinary care, food, and other animal welfare services.
PETA India’s office has been inundated with reports that because lockdown restrictions have reduced restaurant food waste, community animals and birds are in dire need of food. Accordingly, we are encouraging kind people to continue putting out water and feeding community animals during lockdowns, noting that it can be done while complying with basic protocols, such as wearing a mask and maintaining distance from others. We also encourage everyone to keep an eye out for animals in distress and call our animal rescue team on (0) 9820122602 for assistance.
Recently, on a public interest litigation filed in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the state government to feed community animals during the lockdown, the court directed the creation of a committee to develop a plan to help animals in need. A similar petition was also filed in the High Court of Delhi during the 2020 lockdown.
During the early months of the pandemic, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik received PETA India’s Hero to Animals Award for allocating relief funds to feed community animals. Earlier this month, PETA India also presented an award to Lucknow Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Chiranjeev Nath Sinha for providing community cows and other animals with food, water, and care.