People own good breed dogs only for prestige.Animal welfare activists talk about the need to keep a tab on dog breeders, possible solutions for keeping the stray dog population in check and animal welfare
Rashmi Narayan, DNA


After Hrs: Animal rights activist and parliamentarian Maneka Gandhi has decided to approach the central government to prevent makers of reality shows from exploiting loopholes in a law that helps ensure the welfare of animals. What are the other concrete steps that can be taken to help ensure the welfare of animals on TV and film sets?
Yasmine Claire: As far as the film industry is concerned, the scene has changed a little. We were present throughout the duration of a shoot for a Bollywood film for which we had provided cats, and were happy to note that they were treated well. When it comes to reality shows, it is brutal to use animals the way they do, and Im hoping something can be done about it.Shiela Rao: I am hopeful that Maneka Gandhi will be successful in her endeavour to amend the law. Caring for animals goes beyond the realm of ones own home. Animals must stop being used in circuses and magic shows. There are also certain religious beliefs that clash with animal right for which we lack authority. I hope the government will do a lot more than just ban reality shows that use animals.Jayaprakash Satyamurthy: It is really annoying to see people use animals for entertainment purposes. Im not saying reality shows are bad, but there are other activities that involve clean fun rather than getting a celebrity to sleep on snakes. Get volunteers to monitor the treatment of animals on the sets. If one wants to see animals, go to the zoo.

Gopishankar: Even a zoo is unsafe for animals. Let them live in their natural habitat or forest reserves. Coming to Maneka Gandhi, Im glad she has taken up the issue. I hope theres a ban on such shows as they demonstrate cruelty towards animals.

Achala Paani: Every animal lover hopes that such shows are banned. There needs to be more authority vested with animal welfare activists. We must be able to register a complaint against those who are cruel and make sure that some action is taken.After Hrs: The city has witnessed fewer attacks by stray dogs over the past few months. Would you agree?
Yasmine: There has no doubt been an improvement. Dogs dont attack without provocation. If they have been ill-treated — either hit or provoked — by people over time, it is those unpleasant experiences that make them prone to attack. We must also help ensure that the stray dog population is kept in check.Shiela: The problem does not end with sterilising stray dogs. NGOs and other animal welfare organisations face the issue of rehabilitating these dogs. We dont have adequate funds to take care of them. There is the incorrect assumption that animal welfare organisations are well funded.Jayaprakash: Ours is a city that decides to cull dogs after a dreadful incident, yet it is also a city that goes out of its way to take care of dogs. We need to strike a balance between the two. While I completely empathise with people who have been attacked by dogs, culling them is not the answer.Gopishankar: There has been a significant decrease in the number of attacks by stray dogs. The number of dog lovers in the city, by far, outnumbers those who hate dogs. People should therefore, be open to the idea of adopting stray dogs.Achala: If one is not open to the idea of adopting a stray dog, it might be more feasible for a community to adopt a dog instead. This would help create a more animal-friendly environment.

After Hrs: Many dogs which come from a good pedigree have been abandoned or abused by their owners. How can one tackle this issue and educate people?
Shiela: Its a puppy mill of the worst kind. Licensing of dog breeders is absolutely necessary. Dog breeders wash their hands off the issue once they sell the puppies. So, before one buys a dog, one must ensure the dog breeder has a valid licence and all the papers required for purchasing and owning a dog.

Jayaprakash: People should be aware of Animal Birth Control (ABC). Over-breeding good dogs and selling them to careless people is a crime. We must make ABC stringent and educate the masses about which dog breeds are suited to the city. Dog breeders must also be kept a tab on as they tend to over-breed dogs, which in turn could cause diseases like cancer of the uterus.

Yasmine: People own good breed dogs only for prestige, but when it comes to taking care of them, they really need to be taught a lesson. I think we need to start educating children from a young age. People might love dogs, but they must also know how to take care of them. One perhaps cannot keep a constant tab on dog breeders, but people could help by adopting stray dogs. They dont invite any diseases if they are vaccinated.

Gopi: Yes, adopting stray dogs will help. It might sound less appealing to adopt a stray, but it will make a huge difference to the stray dog population as well as to the pedigree dogs who suffer from over-breeding. As much as one might suggest sterilising pedigree dogs as well, the problem still lies with dog breeders torturing good breeds for money. Also, intensification of the ABC concept will make Bangalore a less rabid city.

Achala: I think we have the infrastructure to build foster homes for dogs. I agree that animal shelters do their bit in taking care of dogs, but those who abandon dogs on the street, could instead leave them at a foster home where people will take care of them.

PicS: A Veeramani; Moderator: Rashmi Narayan


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