No more euthanasia for animals in army: Minister

New Delhi, Dec 16 (IANS) Euthanasia of animals serving in the army has been stopped except for those suffering incurable diseases, the Rajya Sabha was informed.

“Policy regarding disposal of unfit army animals has been revised recently and necessary instructions have been issued to army headquarters regarding immediate cessation of further destruction of old and worn out animals,” Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh informed the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday in a written reply.

He added that there is an exception of “animals suffering from incurable diseases, injuries and terminal diseases”.

In a written reply to Lok Sabha in July this year, the government was asked about number of animals killed in since 2012. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, in a cryptic reply, said 1,989 animals were put to death.

He said in the same reply that it is done in accordance with the provisions of army regulations.

The army in the past, in a reply to an RTI application by R. Kannan Govindarajulu, had said: “Army horses and dogs are evaluated for their fitness with respect to the performance of duties. The animals which are considered unfit for one month active service are disposed of by humane euthanasia.”

A movement was started by animal lovers demanding government to stop killing of animals like dogs and horses that serve the forces after they retire.

A Public Interest Litigation was filed in the Delhi High Court, and an online petition was also started.

The army generally uses horses and dog breeds like Labradors, German shepherds and Belgian Malinois.

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