Stop monkey killing in Himachal, urges animal rights group

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

SHIMLA - Expressing anguish at farmers killing monkeys to protect their crops and fruits in Himachal Pradesh, an international animal rights group Tuesday urged the state’s Chief Justice Kurian Joseph to intervene and stop the mass culling.

“We seek your intervention to stop the barbaric culling of the wild animals, mainly monkeys. The conservation of wild animals requires an ethical approach of coexistence,” said the letter written to the Himachal Pradesh High Court chief justice by the International Organisation for Animal Protection in India.

“The government must work on finding an optimal management strategy that does not include a wildlife cull,” it said.

To save crops being destroyed by monkeys, wild boars and blue bulls, the state government has authorised farmers to selectively hunt these animals.

Naresh Kadyan, a representative of the animal protection group in India, told IANS from New Delhi that the man-monkey conflict is a problem but culling is not a solution.

“The increased monkey numbers in urban regions is a direct result of human activities. With their natural habitat disappearing due to human interference, the animals are forced to acquire new habitats in urban areas,” he said.

According to him, it is the government’s responsibility to handle the situation in an ethical manner.

A delegation of five animal rights groups - People for Animals, Citizens for the Welfare and Protection of Animals, the Friendicoes-Seca, Animal Saviour and Wildlife SOS - met Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh in Delhi Monday and urged him to stop the killing of wild animals.

“We have requested Jairam Ramesh to direct Himachal Pradesh to immediately stop the killing of the wild animals and revoke the shooting permits issued to farmers. The action is totally illegal and unwarranted,” said Sonya Ghosh, spokesperson for the NGOs.

However, Kheti Bachao Sangharsh Samiti (KBSS), a farmers’ outfit that took the initiative to motivate farmers to take up guns against wild animals, said the killing of monkeys destroying crops would continue.

“The wildlife wing has given permission to shoot the monkeys under a sub-section of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. The permits are valid for specific time and area,” said KBSS state convenor Kuldeep Singh Tanwar.

He said over 60 monkeys have been killed in Shimla, Sirmaur and Hamirpur districts and the drive would continue till Dec 23.

Chief Wildlife Warden A.K. Gulati said: “So far 300 permits to kill animals have been issued. Permission has only been given to shoot animals in fields. Our range officers are monitoring the killings. There would be selective killing. The aim is to shoo away the animals from fields.”

Agriculture is the main occupation of the people in the state, providing direct employment to 69 percent of its workforce

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