In March 2023, the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India, released an updated version of the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, first released in 2001. The document outlines a revised and far more comprehensive guide for the humane implementation and regulation of the ABC program to prevent cruelty towards animals.
Earlier, with many across the country exterminating street animals they viewed as a nuisance in inhumane ways, it became necessary to create and enforce a set of rules that safeguard the rights of the voiceless. While it was a step in the right direction, the 2001 rules still left too much room for the unjust treatment of animals. Are the 2023 rules any different? Let’s find out.
First, what is ABC?
ABC refers to the Animal Birth Control Program created specifically to address the growing number of free-roaming dogs. Through mass sterilisation and vaccination drives, ABC programmes aim to humanely and ethically manage dog populations, eradicate rabies, and reduce man-animal conflict while ensuring the animal’s welfare. These programmes benefit not only the dogs in question, but also each community and animal welfare organisation charged with their care.
What new rules are in effect, and why should you know about them?
It’s important to realise that these rules are not meant only for the knowledge of animal welfare organisations like Friendicoes and local authorities. It’s equally essential for the public, especially animal advocates, to be aware of the current guidelines to hold the requisite bodies accountable and be able to spot any non-compliance. To help in that regard, we’ve identified some of the more relevant rules to be aware of:
Rule 3: Project recognition
Any local authority or organisation that wishes to conduct or organise an ABC program needs a Certificate of Project Recognition from the Board. The Animal Welfare Board of India can refuse recognition if their conditions are unmet.
Rule 8: Responsibility for vaccination and sterilisation
These rules place the responsibility of deworming, immunisation and sterilisation of street animals on local authorities, allowing them to engage an Animal Welfare Organisation recognised by the Animal Welfare Board of India to carry out the ABC program.
Rule 9: Formation of Monitoring Committees and its functions
Requires the formation of monitoring committees at central, state and local levels and outlines their respective functions to ensure the effective implementation of these programmes in accordance with the rules.
Rule 10: Obligations of the local authority
The local authorities must ensure adequate facilities at each ABC centre, including kennels, vans, mobile OTs, incinerators, CCTV cameras, etc. They are also required to make provisions for and maintain cleanliness and hygiene standards, record keeping, reimbursement of costs and hiring of staff.
Rule 11: Capturing or sterilisation or immunisation or release
Details specific reasons for capturing street dogs and comprehensive humane guidelines for their capture, sterilisation, immunisation and release.
Rule 12: Records to be maintained
Requires maintenance of detailed records at each ABC centre, which is to be updated daily.
Rule 15: Euthanasia of street dogs
Dogs may be allowed to be humanely euthanized only under a specific strict condition like rabies.
Rule 16: Resolution of Complaints regarding dog bites or rabid dogs
Establishes guidelines for resolving complaints.
Rule 19: Sterilisation and Immunisation of Domestic or Feral cats
Creates the possibility for the sterilisation and immunisation of domestic or feral cats.
And perhaps the most relevant to our readers,
Rule 20: Feeding of community animals
Holds the RWAs/AOAs or Local Body’s representatives responsible for making necessary arrangements for feeding community animals and provides methods of conflict resolution between animal caregivers and RWAs/AOAs, or other residents.
Evidently, these updated rules are significantly more thorough, ensure accountability at every stage, and clearly outline a regulatory framework for animal welfare organisations and local authorities to follow. More importantly, the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules 2023 includes clauses that detail the effects of non-compliance — a much-needed method to ensure rule enforcement and hopefully prevent unauthorised and unethical practices from prevailing.
If you would like to access the document in detail, visit this link.
The Friendicoes promise
Friendicoes SECA is recognised by the Animal Welfare Board of India and has been since xxxx. Carrying out nearly 1500 sterilisations per month, we will continue our efforts towards humanely implementing these ABC programmes, always keeping our four-legged friends as our first priority!
If you’d like to support the cause, you could donate to help us keep these programmes going here.