Animals starve to death in Nepalgunj Kanji House

[slideshow]Kathmandu/Nepalgunj, September 4, 2012 – Animal Nepal calls for immediate action to prevent the starvation of animals at Nepalgunj’ Kanji House. “The municipality, which is supposed to take care of confiscated animals until their owners collect them, only seems to care about earning money from fines,” says Animal Nepal.

At the moment twenty animals have been kept at the Kanji House since fifteen days. Their health condition is deteriorating day by day. If no action is taken they too might not survive.

Animal Nepal has been lobbying for improved conditions at the Kanji House for the past three years. In a bid to prevent the animals from dying from thirst, the organization donated a water pump to the Kanji House in 2011. Animal Nepal also provides free medical check ups once a week. Nevertheless, the animals keep dying from a lack of food and regular medical attention.

In 2010, 25 equines died a slow, agonizing death due to starvation at the Kanji House. In August 2012, Animal Nepal observed the death of a horse as a result of starvation and a lack of medical attention.

The Kanji House acts as the municipality’s shelter for animals, including cows and equines, which have been confiscated. Owners need to pay a fine before their animals are returned.  The Kanji House runs on an annual budget of merely Rs 30,000 (300 euro), which includes the sole caretaker’s salary. The income from fines can be as much as Rs 35,000 per month but this money is kept by the municipality.

Animal Nepal urges the authorities to take immediate action. “The municipality, despite many complaints, has turned the shelter into a graveyard. Unless the budget is increased, fines for owners are revised, and a new strategy for abandoned equines is developed, animals will continue to starve to death at a government facility.”

Also read this report: ‘Beasts of Burden – Equine Abuse in Nepalgunj’

Animal Nepal unites equine owners in union

DSCN0122In order to strengthen equine owners, Animal Nepal has encouraged them to form a union. After realising that the equine owners are generally landless, illiterate and marginalised people, Animal Nepal felt it is important to encourage them to unite, to address the following:

–              Stop system of exploiting middle men and advance system

–              Promote safe transport for equines and their owners in the face of lawlessness

–              Stop the purchase and use of weak, handicapped and sick equines

–              Decrease dependence of factory and equine owners on Animal Nepal’s services

–              Improve social and economic status of equine owners in order to improve equine management

The union collected Rs 20,000  for registering the group with the government (as a business group). The union initially was very active and managed to stop the deaths of equines which were picked up from the street by the municipality and left in the Kanji House. After finding an abandoned equine, the union would take it, and charge Rs 150 to its owner, which is cheaper than government rates (the municipality charges Rs 500 per equine). This prevented equines from ending up in the badly managed Kanji House.