Union Minister Maneka Gandhi on Thursday slammed the Ministry of Environment for allowing culling of wild animals, saying she cannot understand this “lust” for killing, but Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar defended the action, insisting it is done on request of states to protect crops.

The outburst from Maneka, who holds the Women and Child Development portfolio and is an animal rights activist, came after the recent killing of ‘nilgais’ (blue bulls) in Bihar, which she termed as the “biggest ever massacre”, even as the row led to criticism from the opposition which alleged that there is “no cohesion” in the government.  Maneka said the Union Environment Ministry “is writing to every state government”, allowing them to provide a list of animals that can be killed so that the Centre can give permission.

“This is happening for the first time. I don’t understand this lust for killing of animals.”

However, Javadekar insisted that it was “scientific management” of animal population and the permissions for killing animals designated as “vermin” were restricted to particular areas and time period.

Maneka claimed that the Centre has allowed killing of “nilgais” in Bihar, elephants in West Bengal, monkeys in Himachal Pradesh, peacocks in Goa and wild boars in Chandrapur even when the wildlife departments of states are saying they do not wish to kill animals.

On the killing of “nilgais” in Bihar, she said it has happened when neither the village head nor the farmers have called for their killing.

Responding to the charge, Javadekar said it is being done as per existing law and is not a central government programme. “As per existing law, when farmers face a lot of problems and their crops are completely damaged and when the state government sends a proposal, only then we allow (culling) and grant approval to the state government’s proposal for a particular area and time period for scientific management. It is not a programme of the central government. The law is such,” he said.


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