Himachal Govt To Defend Monkey Cull Stance In Court

Shimla: Stopped by the courts from going ahead with a monkey cull to contain the man-animal conflict over protecting farmlands that is opposed by animal rights lovers, a government consultation committee constituted under the High Court’s direction is likely to defend its stance on Monday.

Sources disclosed that a brainstorming session of the stakeholders, which included animal rights activists, farmers, foresters and wildlife wardens, was held on Wednesday to trash out a course for containing the simian population.

The consultation meet was held under directions from the High Court, after it had ordered a stay on culling of monkeys that was allowed by the forest department.

The issue was agitated before the court through a public interest litigation by People for Animals, a Chandigarh based NGO’s court citing it to be a violation of the provisions of Wildlife Act, 1972 and the next hearing in the contentious matter comes up before the court next week.

The court had asked the government to come up with solutions for sorting out the problem after holding a consultation with all stakeholders.

Having failed to resolve the monkey-farmer conflict by setting up primate parks and the ongoing sterilization program not bringing about any immediate tangible results, chief wildlife warden AK Gulait had let the court know that in November-December, 2010 they had issued 259 permits with a two week validity for allowing killing of monkeys.

Only 6 permit holders had killed a total of 15 monkeys against the permits granted and there was no mass culling, the court was informed.

When asked about the stakeholders meeting, principal chief conservator Vinay Tandon said that it was held on Wednesday and the government’s response to the High Court on the monkey issue was yet to firm up.

He said the forest department was of the view that a partial monkey cull should be allowed as it was well within the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, which allows killing of wild animals if they are causing damage to agriculture and could bring about immediate results to the ongoing man-monkey conflict.

Sources disclosed that the animal rights activists were totally opposed to any killing and farmers organizations which included Kehti Bacchao Sangarsh Samiti that is spearheading the campaign to save crops from wild animals in the hills.

Contradiction in Arms Act and Wildlife Protection Act and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act were also discussed. Whereas one law was for protecting wild animals but on the other hand gun licenses were issued for protecting crops from wild animals.

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