In a move that would bring delight to the hearts of many animal lovers, India’s paramilitary forces could soon retire the animals with benefits, much like the soldiers they accompany during their career. Animals which the paramilitary forces use such as dogs, camels and horses would be able to enjoy the retirement benefits.
A recommendation by a six-member panel from paramilitary forces has sought post-retirement benefits for all animals in service in border and plain areas. The perks are likely to include stay for the retired animals at old-age homes and rehabilitation centres accompanied with continuation of over 70% of their diet.
Notably, the army had also decided in the year 2018 to put its service animals in retirement homes as Delhi High Court had taken note of a petition on the practice of putting army dogs to sleep after their retirement, the Ministry of Defence had issued orders to send service animals post-retirement to army centres.
The army sends its service dogs to the army’s RVC centre in Meerut after they complete their service. Along with this the equines, horses and mules are transferred to the Remount Training School and Depot, Hempur in Uttarakhand.
For the paramilitary forces, the new standard operating procedure (SOP) made by the panel comprising a member each from the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Assam Rifles and National Security Guard (NSG) has been sent to the ministry of home affairs (MHA) for clearance and will be rolled out this financial year, a veterinary official with ITBP said.
Interestingly, service animals are generally inducted into paramilitary forces when they are a year old and spend an average of 8 to 16 years in service. While dogs perform functions such as explosive detection or guarding bases, animals like horses, mules, yaks and camels are used for patrolling and transport. Upon retirement, the animals are auctioned off to civilians.
Acknowledging the animal rights, new SOP states, “No euthanasia or auction will be conducted for worn-out cases. Worn out cases will be disposed by relocating them to old age homes at appropriate places… For large animals, old age homes will be located at their respective company, unit base, sector or frontier headquarters. Dogs will be dispatched to breeding and training centres.”
Apart from the retirement benefits, transportation rules have also been modified to allow canines and their instructors to travel first-class in trains. CISF PRO Hemendra Singh said, “This move honours those who have dedicated their lives to the nation.”
This move would be significant in marking the great contribution of our service animals in defending the nation. Recently, CISF had also honoured seven dogs that retired after eight years of service with the Delhi Metro by giving them mementoes, medals and certificates at a ceremony. Several police forces in the country have even honoured canines for their services by giving honorary ranks to them. The animals too deserve respect and honour for the courage they exhibit while in the service.