Culling order: The political class has blood on hands

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By declaring some animals vermin that allows them to be culled, the environment ministry has taken a short cut out of a festering problem that is unlikely to go away anytime soon.
The decision offers a quick fix to growing discontent over human-animal conflict, saving the government from going down the difficult, and possibly time consuming, path of scientific management of forests and wildlife.
It also appeases the farming community, a sizable voting bank. Animals don’t have voting rights nor can they organise themselves to raise voice against the unethical order that declares them “unwanted” — ready to be killed. “It is Jallianwala Bagh happening again, with the government acting as General (Reginald Edward Harry) Dyer,” said Gauri Maulekhi of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
It is indeed a matter of concern. With the sole exception of women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi, who has accused environment minister Prakash Javadekar of having “lust to kill animals”, the ruling class seems to have rallied against animals.
Killing animals for “development” is a given, almost a matter of right though it is humans who have encroached green spaces, eating into animal habitat.
In normal course, encroachers face action but when it comes to the man-animal conflict, the dice is loaded against animals.
By classifying them as vermin, the ministry has condemned blue bulls (nilgai), monkeys and wild boars – pronouncing them guilty without a trial.
In Himachal Pradesh, where monkeys are vermin, apple growers have encroached thousands of acres of forest land. Successive governments — both of the BJP and Congress — have been extremely slow in evicting the trespassers — they are influential and a precious vote bank.
Similarly, wild boars can be hunted down in Uttarakhand though it is their territory that has been invaded in the name of tourism and progress.
Forest survey of India reports offer a glimpse into the country’s green cover and also the reasons for the present sad state of affairs.
Since early 1990s, when India started moving towards an open market, around one-third of the dense forest cover has been lost. Half of the traditional wildlife corridors, which allow free movement of animals from one habitat to another, have disappeared.

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