Delhi, India: The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has declared feeding companion and stray animals to be an essential service during the nationwide control and containment of Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

In an advisory issued by the AWBI, it called for District Administrations “to allot specific time during the morning and evening hours for individuals/volunteers to provide food and water for street animals and birds”.

The Board has asked the various cities in the country to give special “feeder passes” to individuals and animal welfare groups to feed street animals who are in danger of starving.

The advisory issued by Dr OP Chaudhary, its Chairman, requested the concerned authorities to create awareness amongst the public to take care of stray animals during the lockdown and that “the law enforcement authorities may also be directed to see that the animals and birds do not suffer due to hunger.” India imposed a lockdown from 24 March - 31 May, 2020.

  Dr Chaudhary speaking at World Animal Day Celebration in October last year.