TN govt throws lifeline to five animal welfare organisations

Tamil Nadu was the first state in the country to make a budgetary allocation to support animal welfare organisations.

Published: 17th January 2023 05:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th January 2023 05:49 AM   |  A+A-

Nigel Otter, founder of India Project for Animal and Nature, said their sanctuary reached saturation point and struggled a lot during the pandemic

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Every year, hundreds of stray and abandoned animals die due to starvation and in road accidents in Tamil Nadu. Though there are several individuals and animal welfare organisations offering help, the efforts have so far been unorganised and scattered. Initiatives such as Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme have also not been implemented properly.

To address this issue, Chief Minister MK Stalin on Monday formally launched Vallalar Palluyir Kaapagangal scheme as part of Thiruvalluvar Day celebrations by handing over cheques to five non-governmental organisations engaged in animal welfare activities.  

Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan, an avid animal lover who had earmarked Rs 20 crore for the scheme in the budget, told TNIE that the initiative was part of government’s larger objective to streamline both government and non-governmental efforts in handling the problem. 

Tamil Nadu was the first state in the country to make a budgetary allocation to support animal welfare organisations. “It’s important to support those who selflessly work for the welfare of stray animals. That said, the government can’t distribute funds to individuals or unregistered organisations. So, we are requesting such individuals to register (their initiatives/organisations) and have proper documentation.

The Tamil Nadu Animal Welfare Board (TNAWB), which had been defunct since its inception in 2014, was revived and is actively helping genuine animal welfare organisations to complete the necessary paper work to receive the funds and also to close a few places that are doing shabby work in violation of norms.”
Shruti Vinodh Raj, member of TNAWB, said they had received 23 applications so far seeking funds under the scheme. “We have completed inspections in 15 animal shelters and selected five deserving organisations.”

KS Palanisamy, Commissioner of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services, told TNIE that the five NGOs were allotted a total of Rs 2.14 crore, of which the first tranche of Rs 88 lakh was released, primarily for animal feed. “The selection was made based on a scoring system that took into consideration various aspects such as the number of years of service, maintenance of animals, medical facilities, shelter provision for in-house animals, cleanliness, etc.,” he said. 

The beneficiaries are India Project for Animal and Nature in the Nilgiris, Animal Care Trust, Madras Animal Rescue Society, Bhairava Foundation and Prithvi Animal Welfare Society (all four are Chennai-based organisations).

 Nigel Otter, founder of India Project for Animal and Nature, which received the highest grant of close to Rs 40 lakh, said his facility had about 300 rescued animals, including horses and donkeys. “Our average monthly operating cost is Rs 5 lakh. We receive animals from across India. Our sanctuary reached saturation point, and it was a struggle to stay afloat, especially during Covid-19.”


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