Delhi planning to club old age home with cow shelter

New Delhi: In a unique initiative, the Delhi government is planning to club a cow shelter with old age home, as it introduced city’s first Animal Health and Welfare Policy on Wednesday.

Speaking to media after a conference on the ‘Animal Health and Welfare Policy-2018’, Delhi Minister of Animal Husbandry Gopal Rai said the animals and humans have been interdependent.

“It is common that people keep a cow only till it gives milk and throws it out when it is of no use. A similar thing happens with humans. With age, when humans are not of any use, they are forced out of their homes.

“We are planning a unique coexistence programme where elderly will be allowed to stay with cows,” he said.

The Delhi government currently has five cow shelters of which only four are working. The one at Ghumanhera was shut in July last year after irregularities were found.

“The government is planning to revamp the Ghumanhera cow shelter. It will turn out to be the most advanced one in the country.

“We will start a joint venture of cow shelter and old age home so that the old people can spend and interact with the animals just like in the village culture.”

In another move, the Delhi government also plans a monkey birth control programme keeping in view the emerging problem of monkey menace in many parts of the city.

It has been suggested in the policy that the Animal Husbandry unit of the Development Department should be named as Department of Animal Health and Welfare.

Rai said the policy will ensure the city is free from rabies and other such diseases.

“Routine surveillance and risk assessment will be taken up on a regular basis to prevent diseases like rabies, brucellosis (an infection that spreads from animals to people, mostly by unpasteurised dairy products), japanese encephalitis and to reduces suffering and mortality,” he said.

The awareness and people sensitization were also included in the policy with a plan for media campaign on various platforms to sensitize the public about animal welfare and awareness programmes in schools.

The policy has proposed animal shelters and infirmaries for the abandoned/ stray animals, which will provide a secure place for animals to spend their life with care and dignity.

“Each district will have a minimum of 2 animal shelters and infirmaries,” Rai said.

It also plans to strengthen the health infrastructure for animals through 24×7 operational veterinary hospitals, polyclinics, aviaries and a helpline for distressed animal and birds.

A veterinary hospital, proposed under the policy, will be inaugurated at Tis Hazari on January 16, Rai said.

“The policy suggests a minimum four government veterinary hospitals in each Assembly Constituency. It also plans to upgrade the existing veterinary hospitals,” Rai said.

The policy suggests tagging pets and cattle with electronic chips so that the owners could be identified.