New Delhi: Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the city government, civic bodies and others on a plea regarding cruelty inflicted on milch cattle housed at dairies in Delhi.
A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar asked the authorities concerned to file status reports on the plea that claimed violation of animal rights and relevant laws at the dairies.
The court asked Delhi’s Departments of Urban Development and Animal Husbandry, Delhi Advisory Board for Animal Welfare, Delhi Milk Scheme, Delhi Pollution Control Committee and Drugs Control Department of Delhi to file responses on the plea before April 23, the next date of hearing.
The public interest litigation filed by animal rights activist Gauri Maulekhi claimed that the health and well-being of cattle was severely compromised at these dairies falling within municipal zones of Delhi.
She alleged that there was indiscriminate violation of animal rights and due to lack of infrastructure, there is no proper space for dairy animals which have to sit alternatively.
The petitioner sought directions to immediately identify the number of cattle at these dairies to ensure the owners followed minimum standards prescribed under the Delhi Municipal Act and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Registration of Cattle Premises) Rules.
The petition said that it was not uncommon to inject these cattle with oxytocin, a prescription drug, to boost milk yield, sometimes 2-3 times a day.
The petition said that newborn male calves are separated from their mothers at birth to prevent them from drinking milk.
“Further, the male calves with no financial worth for milk producers are illegally sent to slaughterhouses, immediately after birth,” it said, adding, that there is rampant illegal slaughter of male calves and cattle considered non-productive by dairy owners.
Other unwanted cattle are abandoned on roads, forcing them to fend for themselves after spending their most productive years tethered to ropes and with pumping machines attached to their udders, the plea said.
Maulekhi said that animals were kept in sheds with thatched roofs supported by bamboo sticks in east Delhi’s Ghazipur dairy, and at Masoodpur dairy near Vasant Kunj in south-west Delhi, the animals are forced to live under broken asbestos sheets which do not protect them from extreme weather conditions.