Bhubaneswar: The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), a statutory advisory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF), has nominated noted researcher, historian and environmentalist Anil Dhir as the Honorary State Welfare Officer for Odisha.
The newly reconstituted board has appointed three State Welfare Officers and thirty District Welfare Officers.
After the nomination was made last month, Dhir and his team were given extensive one week training and handed over their respective nomination letters on Friday at the National Institute of Animal Welfare at Ballabgarh in Haryana.
Speaking on the occasion, the AWBI Chairman SP Gupta said that Odisha is a hot spot for animal diversity and requires a lot of awareness in the field of animal welfare.
Dhir has said that the State body will soon get active and start interaction with various Government agencies and the police for the proper implementation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.
He said that Odisha has a dismal record in ethical treatment for animals and the PCA Act is brazenly flouted at every level. The State has the highest extent of illegal cattle transportation, illegal slaughterhouses, poaching, man animal conflicts and trafficking in wildlife.
“AWBI Officers will undertake State-wide awareness programmes, conduct inspections, and monitor the workings of the District Level Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,” said Dhir, adding that most of the SPCA’s exist only in pen and paper and meetings are seldom held.
The near decimation of wildlife, including Schedule I animals like tigers and elephants, and the negligence of the authorities in checking illegal animal trafficking is a shame for the State, he said.
The entire team of the officers will soon meet the Governor, the Chief Minister and the Forest Minister and hand a charter of demands for the strict implementation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, Dhir added.
The Animal Welfare Board of India is the nodal statutory advisory body on Animal Welfare Laws and promotes animal welfare in the country. Established in 1962 under Section 4 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the AWBI had the responsibility of ensuring that animal welfare laws in the country are diligently followed. It also provides grants to Animal Welfare Organizations and advises the Central and State Governments on animal welfare issues. It has been the face of the animal welfare movement in the country for the last 50 years.