PETA India urges states to count OLX and Quikr as unregistered pet shops to stop animal trade as lockdown eases
Group points to blatant disregard of law by most pet shops and dog breeders
Mumbai: As the country's COVID-19 lockdown eases, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India fired off letters to states and union territories across India reminding them to keep pet shops and dog breeders not duly registered with their state animal welfare boards closed and urging them also to stop online portals such as OLX and Quikr – which have registered offices in Haryana and Karnataka, respectively – from trading in animals.
Recently, based on an advisory issued by the government body the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) that says pet shops not registered as required under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018, and dog breeders not registered as required under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing) Rules, 2017, must not be allowed to operate, the governments of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra issued orders to ensure that illegal pet shops and dog breeders don't reopen after the lockdown. However, these orders fail to include websites that facilitate the trade in animals, like OLX and Quikr, and many states and union territories are yet to take action on the AWBI advisory.
"While illegal physical pet shops are closed, brazen breeders and other animal sellers will likely resort to trading in vulnerable cats, dogs, and other animals online," says PETA India Corporate Liaison Mallika Roy. "PETA India is urging states and union territories to stop OLX and Quikr from functioning as pet shops, as they're not registered with animal welfare boards to trade in animals."
In its letters, PETA India shared recent Right to Information responses from states and union territories across India confirming that most pet shops – including online platforms – and dog breeders operating in the country aren't registered as required by law.
Pet shops and dog breeders are notorious for their mistreatment of animals, and most have been operating wholly unregulated so far. Dog breeders often subject animals to illegal ear and tail mutilations and breed them for certain aesthetic standards, such as slanted hindquarters, flattened faces, and other characteristics that cause them to develop severe health problems. Meanwhile, pet shops routinely keep animals in deplorable conditions and sell sick animals to unsuspecting members of the public.
Every time someone buys a dog or a cat from a pet shop or a breeder, a homeless animal waiting in a shelter or roaming the streets loses a chance at finding a home. PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that "animals are not ours to abuse in any way" – urges everyone to combat the homeless dog and cat overpopulation crisis at its root through adoption and by getting their animal companions sterilised.