The Tamil Nadu government has allocated Rs 20 crore from the state budget to NGOs that deal with abandoned and stray animals, a first government initiative of its kind. Finance Minister Dr. Palanivel Rajan called it an extension of social justice.
“The mark of an advanced compassionate society is to be kind to everyone. In this case, I think we have almost reached middle-income status in Tamil Nadu. We thought now was the time to expand the ones we all care about,” said Minister Rajan. , an animal lover who adopted four stray dogs.
Many hope this would help NGOs that deal with abandoned animals. They say the model should be emulated across the country.
At the Besant Memorial Animal Dispensary in Chennai, Shravan Krishnan, the coordinator, rescues a variety of animals, from dogs to monkeys and horses to camels. He saves about two thousand animals every year.
His team also treats 15,000 pets a year, many of them from poor and lower-middle-class families. It costs two and a half crores of rupees per year. Sometimes he is forced to refuse animals for lack of money.
“I think this is such a positive change and will benefit so many animals across the country. Most of the time street animals are treated like how trash is disposed of. It’s going to help a lot animals and work in districts where there is no infrastructure like what we have,” said Mr Krishnan, who estimates that only around 30% of stray animals are captured.
Twenty miles away, along the IT corridor, Hope For Critters, a shelter, also houses dogs and cats with chronic conditions that require lifelong medical care. For example, Roco, an abused dog with a head injury, and Kento, a Kento cat, an accident survivor with vision loss and amputated limbs, require lifelong care.
The nonprofit shelter requires two and a half lakh a month, but donations have hit an all-time high amid the pandemic.
Kirthana Raamsukaesh, the founder, said: “Every sentient being deserves a life of dignity and peace. With that in mind, this new program is sure to make a big difference in the rescue, rehabilitation and welfare of animals by ensuring their right to live in safety and peace. a peaceful life.”
T Manoj Kumar, an animal lover and volunteer at a shelter, said: “We are really motivated by this announcement and I’m sure it will motivate many of these people to come forward and do whatever they can to support these voiceless animals.”
Animal lovers and caregivers are optimistic. They hope that in the long run it could liberate Tamil Nadu’s strays and make them a model worth replicating across India.
TS Kowmari, founder of iAdopt, an NGO that encourages and finds permanent homes for dogs and cats, said: “We wholeheartedly welcome this. We also hope that the funds will be distributed democratically and to genuine organizations that lack funds.”