Saturday, 28 May 2022 | PNS | Dehradun
As the 2018 directions of the Uttarakhand High Court have not been complied with by the State government, a contempt notice has been issued by People For Animals (PFA) Uttarakhand to the chief secretary, additional chief secretary- Urban Development, Animal Husbandry secretary and the director general of police, stating that the use of animals on the tracks of the Char Dham Yatra must be stopped forthwith in the absence of requisite infrastructure especially because the State government has failed to formulate a policy for management and regulation of equine movement and use in Uttarakhand despite suffering the major tragedies of 2009 and 2013. PFA Uttarakhand member secretary Gauri Maulekhi stated, “It is shameful the way the State government is allowing the abuse of thousands of mules and horses and abdicating its statutory duties towards the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. It is even more shocking that our sacred rivers are now littered with dead bodies of abused and discarded animals which have been brazenly exploited for commercial gains while the government was under a policy paralysis.”
Earlier, PFA Uttarakhand had sent a representation to the Animal Husbandry secretary highlighting that
equines were being brought from Uttar Pradesh to work in extremely challenging weather conditions in Rudraprayag, Chamoli, Pithoragarh and Uttarkashi. These animals are not tested for the deadly zoonotic disease Glanders which is a notifiable covered under the The Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act 2009. Further, no equine is put through an endurance test to ascertain if they have the strength to ferry people and luggage at higher altitudes which causes accidents and loss of life. Maulekhi said that the Animal Husbandry department provides zero veterinary facilities on the 18 kilometre trek from Gaurikund to Kedarnath. No sheds, night shelters, warm water for drinking or carcass disposal systems have been put in place. The animals are neither tagged nor vaccinated and no account is kept on how many hours each animal is being made to work in a single day.