NEWS/OPINION-Kaleeji Times: a controversy between People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in India and the Chennai quarantine facility at Chennai Port has broken out because of a cat which arrived in a container on a ship from China. The Chennai authorities believe that the cat may have contracted the Covid-19 virus and therefore want to ship the animal back to China in order to protect them from a potential spread of the virus.
We are not told whether any tests on the cat are being carried out. I suspect not. It is probable that the Chennai port authorities decided that the best course of action was to send the cat back. The manager of veterinary services at PETA in India, Rashmi Gokhale, contacted the port authorities to argue that the cat should remain in the country because it has been scientifically established that cats could not contract or transmit Covid-19.
In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association states on its website that many international health organisations have stated that pets and other domestic animals are not considered a risk for contracting Covid-19.
In addition, a journey by sea of such a vessel is likely to include docking at Singapore, Colombia (Sri Lanka) and other ports where containers are offloaded and where a feral or domestic cat could have entered the ship. Therefore sending the cat back to China is inappropriate for this reason alone and in addition for the reason that China would not be a safe place for this cat because it will be highly likely that they would be killed on arrival by the authorities there.
You may remember that during this coronavirus outbreak the authorities in some parts of China have instigated widespread killing of stray cats and dogs in the belief that they spread the disease. In addition, some families have been destroying their companion animals by throwing them out of windows in high-rise apartments. In addition, many families have been abandoning their cat companions in apartment blocks without sustenance with the resulting high risk of starvation. One man and his team have been trying to rescue these animals by breaking into these apartments.
Peta India has offered to help the authorities in Chennai to find a home for the cat in question after the necessary quarantine health assessments and vaccinations have been completed.
Let’s hope that there is a happy outcome to this slightly bizarre story.