|When Protectors turn Hunters
environment ministry’s empowering of states to hunt animals deemed to
be ‘vermin’ amounts to taking the easiest route out of the crisis.
2015-09-05 , Issue 35 Volume 12
Central government seems to have found a silver bullet to tackle rising
humananimal conflict. In an unusual move, the environment minister
Prakash Javadekar has highlighted a provision under the Wildlife
Protection Act (WPA), 1972, to declare wild animals as vermin — animals
creating nuisance, who could be killed.
“In areas where farmers
are facing huge problems due to animals like blue bull and wild boar,
there is a procedure to declare them as ‘vermin’ for a particular
period of time. We will give them (states) permission to declare such
animals as vermin,” said Javadekar recently. If the provision is
implemented, the states would be free to hunt these animals.
the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change’s (MOEFCC) quest
for economic growth, wildlife protection seems to be just a pesky
hindrance. Unsurprisingly, in all these years, the one quick-fix for
the man-animal conflict has been the killing of animals. So, how does
giving a freehand to the state for slaughter reconcile with the
ministry’s commitment to protect the forests and wildlife?
is an easy, but ineffective, way to deal with the human-animal conflict
as it does nothing to address the root cause of the issue — human
encroachment and cutting down of forests,” says Manilal Valliyate,
director of veterinary affairs, PETA India.
cannot be restored through the barrel of a gun,” he says. “The spirit
of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 is clear — it is to
protect and preserve wildlife. The concept of vermin contradicts
Article A(g) of The Constitution of India, which says that it shall be
the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to protect forests,
wildlife and have compassion for all living creatures,” adds Valliyate.
The ministry does appear to be taking the easiest route out of the crisis.