Maneka Gandhi Launches Movement Against #IllegalPetShops – Death Knell For Unlawful Pet Trade

A recorded message posted on twitter by the Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha), and Animal Rights Activist Maneka Gandhi, has left animal activists and pet loving twitterattis and pet parents in India overjoyed.

In her message posted on Friday, she introduced a hashtag #IllegalPetShops and has requested people in India to step-in and help in her efforts to identify illegal pet shops across the country.

She says, :

“Last year the govt of india passed a law saying that it was illegal for any pet shop to sell live animals, birds or fish; And for any breeder to operate, unless they were licensed.  This hasn’t happened in the last one year, mainly because of disparities with local officials who claim they have no idea where the pet shops are. This is where india has to step in. It would be very good if we could take responsibility in joining hands.

I am going to give you a hashtag #IllegalPetShops

Can you take a photograph of any pet shop selling live animals whether it is mice, guinea pigs, hamsters, dogs, cats, birds, whatever; and can you send it to me with a line underneath about where this pet shop is and its address. And if you can get the name of the owner. And then let’s put this together and either we could get the government to take action or we can all go to court.

Thanks!”

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018 has put the online sale of pets explicitly under the purview of law. In fact, around September last year (2018), animal rights activists successfully campaigned to have the online sale of dogs banned on platforms like Quikr and Indiamart.

Called the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018, the rules are part of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. They talk about the various conditions under which one may be allowed to set up a pet shop and conduct sale of pet animals. These include registration of the shop with the State Animal Welfare Board, ensuring comfortable and appropriate infrastructure for the animals, veterinary care and health of the animals, and so on.

madhulika gupta pet lover and founder REPUTE public affairs and csr consultancy

Madhulika Gupta, Animal Lover and Founder REPUTE Public Affairs & CSR Consultancy – based in Mumbai

Madhulika Gupta, Founder – REPUTE a boutique Public Affairs and a huge animal lover based in Mumbai said, “It is good to know that someone like Maneka has taken up this matter so practically and seriously. It also shows that there is a major political will in taking this forward even if it is only through her. I really hope her other political colleagues step-in to support her.”

“For the longest time, the need has always been to take these matters to its complete logical end. Take for instance ‘Lucky’ who was subject to so much cruelty in Mumbai’s Worli area. It took over five hours to file an FIR and less than 20 minutes for the person to get a bail”. Madhulika was referring to the case of Lucky the dog in Mumbai’s Worli area who was subject to utmost cruelty and is still battling for its life. “What is required is a complete revamp and understanding of the rules and education amongst the law enforcement officials, the police stations and cops itself to be empathetic to the cause and back it with a will to take action.

“People buy these pets from these pet shops. And often find these pets are not exactly what they were looking for. Some even turn up sick and the next thing they end up doing is to mercilessly abandon them,” She added. “We are constantly rescuing all kinds of highly stressed out pets from all over. Its time there also was a legislation and rules around buying of pets – of who can buy? The rules they need to follow, and some follow-up on whether they actually are take care of; only this would ensure a 360 degree solution to the entire problem of animal cruelty,” said Paramita Banerjee, an HR professional and an ardent pet Activist associated with ‘Feed the Soul’ a group that rescues and feeds strays every day. Speaking to News On Pets from Kolkatta

“This is a very good movement. We keep posting a lot of animal related things online and we keep educating people to not buy pets from shops since most of these people go and buy them,” Paramita enthusiastically added.

Most cities have illegal pet shops operating in the open as any other normal store and often, these are the same places where on request you also can acquire animals protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

Animal rights communities and pet parents have been constantly trying to highlight the cruelty behind pet trade world over and have been constantly pushing towards legislation. UK passed the Lucy’s Law, that prohibits the sale of pups and kittens from third parties and thereby completely eliminating middle men. On the other hand in America, the California state passed the AB 485 in 2018 that restricts retailers from selling dogs and cats from breeders and instead forcing them to only (if at all), sell dogs and cats from animal shelters.

“Training and sensitization of the law enforcement people around animal cruelty just like how they have undergone training to be sensitized to managing complaints around sexual harassment and are seeing success now; could be the way forward, “ said Madhulika

Speaking on the licensing itself, Madhulika questioned the basis of these licenses itself. While there are all kinds of rules on paper who checks them really, and who really knows the set steps to take when checking if those rules are followed by even those who have licenses in the first place. “Enforcement personnel need to be taught what to check, how are licenses to be given, the size and shapes of cages, what they are being fed and around the real issue of animal welfare. What’s the point of having laws and setting rules for licenses unless you train law enforcement officials how to implement them”

The tweet had already garnered much interest and action with several people tweeting pictures and stories from all over India.

 

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We are a bunch of writers and artists who also happen to be pet parents and love animals, birds, reptiles and anything that ain't human. Well, we respect humans who respect every other being. If you are one of them, we'd love to hear from ya!

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