Cruelty Prevention ? The SAWB in Karnataka has yet to have its first meeting
Creed the Rottweiler above was found abused & abandoned with half his head eaten by maggots. He was saved, but most like him get lost in system.
The lack of a Karnataka State Animal Welfare Board (or the SAWB) has been responsible for much cruelty and breakage of the prevention of cruelty to animals laws in our state. The public as well as animal welfare activists have been insisting on the mandatory SAWB for the last 3 years and several petitions both online as well as in the form of a PIL have been initiated (bit.ly/sawbi & bit.ly/BucketteList ). It is due to this pressure that the effort was finally made to set up the KAWB (Karnataka Animal Welfare Board) in November 2019. The opacity of this SAWB has been a mystery and its time to get busy and effective. We need to make the KAWB accountable to the animals they protect and to its state citizens.
Animals are still suffering in Karnataka state, despite excellent national laws to protect them. Citizens have been increasingly unhappy about the dismissive and lethargic attitude to the SAWB set up and functioning and their voices are now impossible to ignore as are the laws in place. In order to move forward with maximum impact and effectiveness, the SAWB bylaws must be made clear as is the composition and subcommittees – or the KAWB can once again wind down due to lack of meeting, quorum and ownership, just as they did the last time. There must be accountability and continuity in the KAWB Executive Board as the bureaucrats and politicians do change portfolios and this affects success and continuity. In addition, an informal citizen support group like ACT (AHVS-Citizens Task Force) set up to support KAWB is welcome as it can can only help and achieve direction as a citizen arm . Our PowerPoint is enclosed. Points to discuss at first meeting so KAWB is transparent, effective, swift and accountable: 1. Why has there been no meeting to date from its set up in Sept/Nov 2019? Legal updates to be given to High Court re PIL.
2. No new excuse on funding as a reason to delay OR dilute KAWB implementation. We have waited long enough
3. Status on veterinary clinics and hospitals, esp Queens Vet Hospital etc
4. Expectation on the functions of the board
5. Understanding on the functional framework and implementation plan and guidelines
6. Public are helpless on animal cruelty – they don’t even know what constitutes cruelty, who to contact, redressal and penalty. This must be addressed or we will end up working in silos.
7. Points of contact in SAWB and outside
8. What is the composition of SAWB Committee, Executive Boards and also the District SPCA? We must have a diverse group – not only politicians and political appointees. Lawyers & civil society is required.
9. Update on Pet Shops n Breeder Establishment licenses given , and basis of giving the same, methodology used. Clear directive from AWBI re banning of all unlicensed breeding & pet shops
10. Clear vision goal and outcomes, coordination and connectedness with different stakeholders like the police BBMP political framework as well as media
11. Clear discussion on budget and allocation of funds across all 30 districts – as well as staff.
12. Reaching decisions on creation of shelters etc -For seized animals or cruelty cases
13. Clear plan on training and dissemination on SAWB . Do Vet Officers know the basis for cruelty, evaluating breeders and pet shop licenses? Who is doing the training ?
14. Clearer understanding of the SAWB document made for Karnataka, and it’s dovetailing into the Karnataka municipal corporations act, the Karnataka police act, with necessary ramifications and reach outs
15. Working together on best practices with successful state boards across the country especially Uttarakhand, Maharashtra etc. Start with Bangalore Urban District SPCA as a pilot project.
16. Are there reach outs to Karnataka Vet Assoc, Hebbal Vet College and Kennel Club of Indis to support and strictly implement this ?
17. Clear citizen connect across districts with a citizen on supporting the PCA across all functions. Need for a support structure like ACT who can assist and provide a warmth, public interface and greater buy in.
18. A clear set of deadlines on expectations on all the above issues – esp on structure and budgets
19. A citizen initiative ACT (AHVS-Citizens Task Force) can organise an informal panel discussion with all stakeholders like minister, BBMP, Police, Activists & NGOs to create understanding, buy in, media support and roles & responsibilities.
20. A helpline , common email and twitter/fb accounts for KAWB is a must
A PowerPoint , Survey format and past correspondence with AWBI, AHVS Secretary, Commissioner is enclosed for your reference.
We trust that the KAWB will move swiftly and effectively and make up for lost time in eradication of animal cruelty - in partnership with the citizens and NGOs.