The Tamil Nadu Animal Welfare Board (TNAWB) has planned to train nearly 500 veterinarians to carry out Animal Birth Control (ABC) programmes across the State, especially in municipalities and town panchayats that do not have qualified vets.
In a sensitisation workshop on the ABC programme for officials from municipalities, corporations, and town panchayats, the TNAWB on Thursday said measures are being taken to ramp up efforts to sterilise and immunise stray dogs.
Around 280 officers were trained on strategies and scientific approaches to undertake birth control programmes. However, several urban local bodies lack the infrastructure and manpower to conduct ABC procedures and are dependent on animal welfare organisations to sterilise stray dogs.
The ABC Rules 2023, which standardise the ABC process, require all organisations to apply for a fresh registration and obtain a project recognition certificate. There are currently no animal welfare organisations that have permission from the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to engage in sterilisation, making it tougher for both the organisations and municipalities.
When this conundrum was raised in the workshop, Dr. S. Chitrasena, Deputy Director of Health Services, Directorate of Public Health, said municipalities can continue working with trusted welfare organisations based on goodwill until necessary approvals are obtained.
“Four animal welfare organisations have applied, and we will push it to the AWBI to clear them soon,” said Dr. Vivekanandhan, Veterinary Assistant Surgeon, TNAWB. Announcing that 500 veterinarians will be trained for ABC procedures, he said it is up to the municipal commissioners to get the infrastructure ready.
A representative from Virudhunagar municipality complained that the 10-page application form for registering with AWBI and getting a project recognition certificate is an “exhausting and laborious process”. A simplified application will make the process easier, he added.
The local body officials were advised to move on from a complaint-based approach to sterilising stray dogs and do the ABC programme systematically.
Mangat Ram Sharma, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry; Tamil Nadu Animal Welfare Board members; M. Lakshmi, Director, Directorate of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services; and members of the TNAWB and the Greater Chennai Corporation were present at the workshop.