HC declines to entertain PIL to involve veterinarians in fight against COVID-19

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The Delhi High Court Friday declined to entertain a plea seeking directions to the Centre to involve veterinarians to help prevent the spread of coronavirus between humans and animals, claiming that a tiger in the Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh had allegedly died due to the virus.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rajnish Bhatnagar said the governments were taking all necessary steps and dismissed the plea by animal rights activist Sangeeta Dogra who claimed that forest officials “incorrectly diagnosed” the cause of tiger’s death as it was based on “speculation” and not on examination by a virologist or an epidemiologist.

The forest officials and the government had denied that the tiger was infected with COVID-19 or coronavirus and had claimed that it died as it had a football sized hairball inside it and as a result could not eat.

The detailed order of the court in the matter is awaited.

The plea also contended that since the feline died near a water body which is frequented by other animals in the reserve, the forest officials ought to have tested it for the presence of any virus as recently in Chennai viral RNA samples were allegedly found in sewage samples collected from some water treatment plants.

The petition had further contended that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had on April 23 released a report stating that COVID-19 virus has been detected in sewage systems.

WHO has also cautioned that since viral particles have been found in sewage, as a precautionary measure wastewater should be well managed, the petition had claimed.

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