EPA: Permit to kill animals must be changed

Some of the birds put under by the Fisheries Ministry.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday said that the laws that allow the killing of living animals imported illegally into Maldives must be changed.

Following the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture revealing that 120 birds that were imported to Maldives have been put, there has been public outcry over the matter, with citizens and environmentalists raising concerns.

Under the current laws, authorities are granted the power to destroy anything that has been imported illegally, including the power to put down animals.

Speaking to ‘Sun’ regarding the issue, the Director-General of EPA Ibrahim Naeem condemned the killing of these birds and noted that the authority was not consulted prior to it.

“Those (birds) should have been exported back, and should not have been killed like that. But due to issues with documentation, there were obstacles in sending them back. When it becomes difficult to send back, then we have to keep them in Maldives and look after them well.”

Additionally, Naeem said that they face difficulties since powers pertaining to protecting living organisms lie with different ministries. He added that changes should be brought so that those powers are given to a single institution.

“The law allows that (killing). But it is not the right way. Such clauses should be amended. There should be a better way to do this.”

Fisheries Ministry states that the birds were imported without a permit, and the killing was done after consultation with Attorney General.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s Office has stated that advice was given to send the birds back.

The Communications Director of AG Office Hussain Hassan told ‘Sun’ that as per the documents received by the office, the birds were imported, and subsequently detained within September, October and November 2021.

He noted that apart from quarantining the birds, no action was taken against those who imported to date.

Pet Master’s Manager Hussain Athif told Sun today that the birds were put down at Velana International Airport’s Plant and Animal Unit.

He detailed that around 120 birds were put down – which in total cost MVR 800,000.

Athif said that at the time the birds were brought to Maldives, the permit to import the particular type of birds had not existed. However, he said that amendments were made to the law after which the permit to import such type of birds were granted.

“Has been about three months, since (the birds) have been kept at the airport. When brought to Maldives, did not have the permit to import this type of bird. But later the list was updated, and the permit was granted for this type of birds as well,” he had said.

Athif stressed that the birds were put down very brutally, by injecting them. He also added that a case had been filed at the Civil Court regarding the matter, at the time they were put down.