Culling of wild animals: Maneka, Javadekar at each other’s necks

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Maneka Gandhi, Union minister for women and child developmentTwo Union ministers are at loggerheads over sanction to kill endangered animals. This follows after 200 Nilgai (blue bulls) were shot dead in Bihar in the past six days.

Union Women and Child Welfare Minister Maneka Gandhi harangued Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar for giving the green signal to states for culling the animals, including Nilgai and wild boar, for damaging crops.

This is not the first time Maneka has taken her party leaders to task. Earlier, she pressurised BJP leadership to sack party MLA for his alleged involvement in attacking Uttarakhand Police Horse, Shaktimaan.

“Javdekar has written to all states to kill as many animals that people want. In West Bengal, he permitted elephants to be killed, monkeys to be killed in Himachal, while in Goa it was the peacocks. Around 53 wild boars were killed in Chandrapur, while 50 were permitted to be killed,” said Maneka, an animal rights activist.

The environment ministry has sanctioned the killing of Nilgai, wild boars, elephants, peacock and monkeys in different states. Demand to kill these animals was accepted on account of the damage they caused to crops, property, and life.

But animal rights groups have pooh-poohed the ministry’s move. “Instead of ordering the animals to be killed, if possible they should have been relocated. Killing animals is not the answer,” said People for Ethical Treatment of Animals official Nikunj Sharma.

However, Javadekar said that man-animal conflict was on the rise and farmers were finding it tough to protect their crops and property. “As per law, if farmers’ crops are damaged, the state government sends a letter to Centre on the issue and a decision within the framework of law is taken,” he added.