While Slumdog Millionaire will likely make quite a showing at the Oscars, actual dogs in Mumbai can now breathe a bit easier.
After pressure from PETA and frequent supporter Pamela Anderson, the Indian Supreme Court ruled that dogs must be sick, injured, or dangerous in order to be put down — much like the guidelines many shelters in the United States follow.
Anderson was instrumental in pushing for the new regulation. In a letter to the Mumbai municipal commissioner, she asked that the city consider a spay and neuter program to decrease the nuisance stray dog population instead of their current euthanasia routine.
“I was very concerned to learn from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) that dogs that live on the streets of Mumbai may be caught and cruelly destroyed,” Anderson wrote. “It is well established that killing stray dogs is not a permanent solution to controlling their populations.”
She referred to studies by the World Health Organisation and the Animal Welfare Board of India that show sterilization efforts to be more effective than euthanasia in controling dog populations.
Over 70,000 strays in Mumbai alone are killed every year, many of them completely healthy.
“A dog cannot be exterminated because it barks,” said lawyer Fali S. Nariman. “The main thing here is that we need to make people realise how important these dogs are and there’s really nothing demeaning in having a stray dog. They’re just another dog.”