Street dogs, trains, & Indian elephants
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2010:
(published October 5, 2010)
DELHI–Longtime animal welfare concerns flared into public view
in September 2010 in connection with two symbols of Indian national
pride–Indian Railways and the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Animal advocates worried ever since India agreed to host the
two-week Commonwealth Games in 2006 that the games would be preceded
by an illegal but nonetheless officially encouraged dog massacre, to
rid the streets of perceived “dog menace” before the arrival of
thousands of foreign visitors. Under activist pressure, the city
of Delhi increased the pace of dog sterilizations under the federally
subsidized Animal Birth Control program, but was nonetheless
embarrassed by dogs roaming the athletes’ village at the start of the
games. The animal charity Friendicoes SECA agreed to hold the dogs
in temporary quarters for the duration of the games.
Environment and animal welfare minister Jairam Ramesh
interrupted his attention to that matter on September 30 to inspect
the site where on the night of September 22 a speeding freight train
killed seven elephants in the Moraghat forest of West Bengal. More
than 150 Indian elephants have been killed by trains since 1987, but
the September 23 accident drew attention as never before to the
appeals of activists to either re-route the tracks in elephant
habitat or reduce train speed.