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The Earth is a common home for all living creatures, but some people do not think this way and abuse lesser beings. According to the data of Animal Nepal, there are around 22,000 stray dogs inside the Kathmandu Valley, but the question is, where do they come from? These animals came through different means. While some of them are preexisting community dogs, the others were abandoned by their owners as they became old, aggressive, or handicapped.
Executive Director of Animal Nepal, Uttam Kafle, who has been working for animal welfare for half a decade said, “Though we don’t have specific laws against animal abusers, neighbors and other members of the community can file a case of public offence against such people.”
As cows are revered as a goddess Laxmi by the majority Hindu population in Nepal, slaughter of cow is outlawed in the country. Dairy farmers in the outskirts of Kathmandu abandon their old, injured cows and calves on the streets once the animals are no more beneficial to them. While some cow owners leave their cows to graze all day and only take them home for milking, some unknowingly kill the calves by over-milking their mothers, said Kafle.
Moreover, stray animals, including cows, dogs, cats and monkeys among others are prone to causing road accidents. According to Spokesperson at the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division, SSP Umesh Ranjitkar, two road accidents were caused by four footed animal in the last fiscal year.
To minimize such road accidents, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) now and then captures cows that are found lurking on the roads and fines their owners. Chief of Public Health Division of Kathmandu Metropolitian City, Hari Kr Shrestha said, “We capture cows and oxen from the streets, load them onto trucks and transport them at Teku ground. Owners of these cows are fined between Rs 100 Rs to Rs 7,000 in return of their animals, while the remaining cows and oxen are handed over to the people who are interested to take care of them outside the Valley.”
He added, “Many animals as well as humans get injured in road accidents caused by stray animals, so we are planning to build a Kanji House to curb stray animals.” Following road accidents, starvation is another major cause of death among stray animals.
Every year, KMC spends around Rs 1.5 to 2 million for the disposal of dead animals that are found in a public places.
Rabin Man Shrestha, director of Social Development Division Metropolitan City, said, "We have handed over this responsibility to private sectors, and we change the tender every year. The cost of disposal of dead animals varies from Rs 650 to Rs 1,500 depending on their species and size."
KMC has allocated a budget of two million rupees for the construction of a Kanji House for stray animals. According to Pramada Shah, president of Animal Nepal, different kinds of skin diseases, canine distemper, parvo virus and parasites are the common health problems in stray animals of Kathmandu. “Every year, KMC spends a certain amount of budget for the treatment of injured stray animals and for the birth control of stray dogs of Kathmandu. This year, KMC has allocated a budget of Rs 13 million for the same,” he said.
Shah said, “Not only stray animals, but even pets are suffering from cruelty in our society. So, instead of depending on the government to do something, we as members of the society should be aware about animal welfare in order to eliminate animal abuse.”
Globally, commercial farming is another main reason for animal cruelty as they are crammed into congested spaces in a huge number and transported in inhuman ways. Similarly, animals of commercial farming have to through several painful processes like de-beaking, devocalization, de-horning, chick culling and tagging. Shah added, “We are working to humanize commercial farming and in order to do this, we should first eliminate cage poultry farming in Nepal." It is not bad to use animals for fur, security, pleasurable looks, milk, eggs and so on, but these creatures must be raised in a humane way. Just because we are at the top of the food chain, we are not supposed to treat innocent animals in a brutal way.
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