Millennium Post

Dave wanted states to set up animal welfare boards

Late Union minister Anil Madhav Dave not only wished people planted more trees but also wanted states to do more on the animal protection front.

On May 16, he wrote a letter, his last official communication as minister, to all chief ministers, asking them to set up animal welfare boards.

"As animal welfare and their protection and development have begun to receive enhanced attention in recent years and have emerged as an important area of social and environmental concern, it is felt that the state governments should have similar bodies at the state level," he wrote in the letter. Animal rights activists had been urging Dave, who passed away on May 18 after suffering a cardiac arrest, to constitute such boards in every state so that violations under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 can be prevented.

He expressed a sense of urgency to have such boards, and underlined that even the judiciary, including the Supreme Court, had taken note of the absence of such a protection mechanism at the state and district levels. "I urge you, therefore, to consider setting up a state- level animal welfare board in your state. As there is no specific financial provision available to support setting up such bodies, it will be necessary for the state government to earmark resources from relevant sectors and enable such bodies to perform their functions under the PCA Act, 1960," Dave wrote.

The animal welfare boards will be given statutory status and they will be authorised to enforce legislation on behalf of the state, the letter stated. An animal rights activist, Gauri Mulekhi, who had been urging the minister to write to the states on the issue, said, "Dave was a visionary minister, who understood the need for strengthening the state animal welfare boards for better implementation of the provisions of the PCA Act. "The state governments have been dragging their feet on the issue of staff and budget for the boards, but we do hope that our minister's last wish will be respected."
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