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Author Topic: Pet rearing, a profitable industry  (Read 450 times)
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« on: October 11, 2012, 06:13:21 am »

the actual value of these species? Some animals, such as dogs are sold between Rs. 80,000 to Rs. 100,000.

No one would believe that a dog lover, Martin James, 58, a wealthy British national who lived in Sri Lanka had a pet dog, worth about Rs. 5.4 million. He had brought the dog, `Red Tibetan Mastiff' from England in 2002.

A well-known animal lover in Kandy, the former president of the Kennel Association, Gamini Wadugodapitiya said the present price of the `Red Tibetan Mastiff' is over Rs. 6.5 million. According to international records, the `Red Tibetan Mastiff' is the world's most expensive dog today.

The dog was with his master, James until his diplomatic service period ended in the country. James was fond of the dog and looked after him like a father bringing up a child. At times, both the dog and master shared meals together. The dog slept on the same bed with James. He did not sleep much at night and always kept a close vigil on his master. Although the dog was not ferocious , he used to bark at outsiders, who did not seem friendly towards his master.

After completing the seven-year service, James wanted to take his `Tibetan Mastiff' back to England, but he could not get the documents prepared in time and the request was turned down by the officials under the Fauna and Flora Act.

It is reported that three such costly dogs are owned by animal lovers in the country. Two Sri Lankan millionaires and a foreign national are the proud owners of these `Tibetan Mastiffs'. It is also reported that only a handful of people in the world, in the calibre of kings, queens and multimillionaires currently own such species.

It is sad that when people in the country cannot afford even Rs. seven lakhs for a heart surgery, another section is spending millions of rupees on dogs.

The Sunday Observer last week visited several places in Colombo and the suburbs to meet people engaged in the sale of pet animals and birds.

A prominent Sri Lankan dog lover dealing in the sale of pets K. G. Jayantha Kumara of Nawala said he has over 15 years experience in the trade. He runs two shops under the name Bauva Shop in Kirulapona and Nugegoda.

Kumara also has a mobile shop at Nawala where he sells animals and birds travelling from place to place. It is the country's first and only mobile shop that sells pet animals and birds.

He thanked the Finance Ministry and the Economic Development Ministry for providing him with a `Dimo Batta' to run the mobile shop.

Although Kumara is permanently stationed in business near the Nawala cemetery, he takes the mobile shop to densely populated areas in the city during weekends and holidays. It is also run at carnivals and exhibitions.

Kumara says that the `Bullmastiff' is the most expensive dog in Sri Lanka. Each dog costs between Rs. 65,000 and Rs. 70,000.

According to the Fauna and Flora Act, no person could cage or sell wild animals or birds, other than domesticated animals and birds.

The domesticated animals that could be sold are ducks, quails, chicks, turkey, guinea fowl, kittens , rabbits, hamsters (equal to squirrels) and guinea pigs. The domesticated birds are African birds, cockatiel, finches, java, udgerigar, pigeons, and doves.

Kumara said Sri Lankan dog lovers are fond of dogs such as German shepherd, doberman, pomeranian, dachshund, dalmation, terrier, cockerspaniel, shih-tzu and boxer.

Recent research shows that over 500 families in the country are engaged in the selling of pet animals and birds and over 100,000 people depend on the industry.

Kumara said new varieties of animals and birds have been found in South Africa, Thailand, Holland and Singapore and therefore restrictions to import these varieties should be removed, so that we could import such animals and birds.

When asked what advice he would give unemployed youth in the country, Kumara said unlike in the past, most people rear animals and birds in their homes as a hobby and it indicates their interest in pets.

"I call upon the unemployed youth to start selling pet animals and birds as self employment projects without seeking jobs abroad", Kumara said.

He said if one is devoted to the industry, he could earn at least Rs. 200,000 a month.

Kumara pointed out that a large number of Lankan pet animals and birds are purchased by Maldivian nationals, including hoteliers, every year and it should be stopped by the authorities, as Sri Lanka could lose its animals and birds.

Animal sellers say it is sad that no government has extended recognition towards the pet industry. It could be developed if the authorities visit animal breeders and sellers and look into the problems faced by them. They should be granted bank loans to upgrade the industry.

They are of the view that if the industry is developed, animals and birds could be exported and in turn earn a good foreign exchange.

Our visit to Godagama to view animal breeding was interesting. We had to walk about three kilometres along with a cameraman to see the art of breeding pet animals such as dogs, cats and also ornamental fish. A long-standing animal lover, Dayasena Peris 49, said at least ten families in the village are engaged in the industry and some families earned around Rs. 50,000 a month .

They breed animals, birds and ornamental fish for the local and foreign markets.

The book Benefits of rearing Pets, written by a renowned animal lover P. George highlighted the importance of protecting endangered animals and says the process of importing or exporting wild animals and birds between countries should be carried out only through government channels and not by individuals.

A bird seller Gunapala Herath said animal selling has become a lucrative business in the country and advised especially the females who are not employed, to breed animals and birds in their home gardens as self-employment projects.

The new born pets could be sold back to animal sellers. He said he has four pairs of black spotted white doves and gives them to various opening ceremonies and other functions to release them at auspicious times.

Another animal seller, Peter Mayadunne 62, of Kegalle said he had brought a pet dog from Australia a few years ago and bred about seven pups. Each pup was sold at Rs. 15,000.

He said he has a bird farm in his village and people visit the farm to buy birds to be presented to their loved ones for birthdays and doves for functions.

Mayadunne also called upon the retired people to start animal breeding in their home gardens in a systematic manner as this industry has now become a lucrative business.

A person who breeds or sells animals and birds could earn at least Rs. 80,000 a month, he said.

He proposed the Government to conduct animal and bird shows in the city and suburbs.

Sunday Observer News
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