Thiruvananthapuram | The allegation by animal activists that the Kerala Government has taken a decision at an all-party meet to cull all stray dogs is totally baseless, Tourism Minister A P Anilkumar said today.
Their subsequent widespread Worldwide Boycott Kerala Movement 2015 on the social medium is based on misinformation, the Minister said, making a strong rebuttal of the allegation.
In the past couple of weeks, the Kerala Government and its tourism sector have faced a backlash through social networking mediums over the stray dog issue in the state with a group of animal activists and the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) launching an online campaign to boycott Kerala.
The AWBI, protesting the alleged government decision taken at an all-party meet to cull aggressive stray dogs, subsequently called for the boycott Kerala campaign.
The campaign, which was also conducted in metros like Kolkata, Delhi and Bengaluru, requests people to not select Kerala as their tourist destination till the government rescinds its decision to kill stray dogs.
The allegations are baseless; the government has decided to kill only rabid and dangerous stray dogs because of the dangers they have posed to people, particularly to children, over the past few months, said Mr Anilkumar. There is no decision to kill all dogs, as mentioned in the online petition.
In fact, the #Visit Kerala campaign, initially started by the tourism department to market the state, has been taken up passionately by the local people in response to the allegations.
The government has decided to implement an Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme at veterinary hospitals, noted Mr Anilkumar.
It has been decided to start sterilisation in 50 veterinary hospitals with primary facilities across the state, and to implement anti-rabies immunisation in all veterinary hospitals. In the initial stage, ABC will be implemented in 50 centres across 14 districts and this will gradually be taken up in 500 centres.
I do not believe that the online campaign will affect Keralas tourism. The state registers a steady growth in the domestic and international tourist arrivals annually, said Kerala Tourism Secretary G Kamala Vardhana Rao.
Kerala is an animal-friendly and pet-loving state. We will soon implement measures for the registration of pet dogs through local self-governing bodies.
He also pointed out that the states sensitive treatment of rabid and stray dogs would make Kerala a more tourism-friendly and safer place.
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