Animal Welfare Current Affairs - 2020

African Swine Flu in Assam

On May 3, 2020, the Assam Government confirmed that more than 2,500 pigs in 306 villages were killed due to African Swine Flu in Assam. There was no relevance brought with COVID-19.


The reason of death of the pigs were confirmed as African Swine Flu by the National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NIHSAD) of Bhopal. According to 2019 census, the pig population in Assam was 21 lakhs.

Though the central government has passed order to cull the pigs, the state government is looking for alternative measures to save the pigs before culling them.


Though, there are acts to protect animals such as Wildlife (Protection) act and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, there is no legislation or rules on culling of animals. Animal Culling is done based on order passed by the central government.

Culling on Vermin

When an animal is classified as “vermin” by the Central Government, the protection over the animal under the Wildlife Protection Act is removed. Vermin are wild animals that are believed to be harmful. When as species is declared vermin, it can be culled or hunted without restriction

Any species can be declared as vermin except for those species that are listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and also those species that are listed in part II of the schedule II of the WPA 1972.

African Swine Flu

The African Swine Flu is a double-stranded DNA virus and is a causative agent of African Swine fever. It infects pigs, warthogs and its natural hosts.

Task Force to be set up to prevent Human and Animal transmission of COVID-19

The Indian Government is taking precautionary steps after it was learnt that COVID-19 infects animals as well. Recently a Malayan tiger in the zoo of New York was reported to have infected with COVID-19.


India is taking precautionary step to prevent Animal and Human transmission of the virus in the country. The Central Government has instructed the state governments to take immediate steps to stop the spread of the virus from humans to the animals.

Steps taken

The number of staffs in the zoos, national parks, tiger reserves and sanctuaries are to be limited. A Task Force is to be set up with field managers, veterinary doctors and front-line staffs. Also, a nodal officer is to be appointed to report a “round the clock mechanism”. The GoI has also advised the animal welfares to stick to stipulations issued by the Health Ministry. This is mainly being done to restrict the movement of staffs and other local people in and around sanctuaries, national parks and tiger reserves.