Choki Wangmo

A messenger of Thimphu dzongkhag livestock office in Ramtokto is convicted of official misconduct for illegally using office seal and issuing unauthorised livestock movement permit in the last eight months.

According to the police investigation, the accused had issued nine authorisation letters allowing movement of livestock before he was caught.

He used office computers at night to forge letterhead and used official seals of the vets while signing on the documents. There are five veterinarians in the office.

According to an official at the livestock office, the messenger could have collaborated with rustlers and could have either slaughtered the animals or sold them off.

The police have forwarded the case to court.

The veterinary office monitors and authorises cattle movement from places such as Thimphu-Paro and Thimphu-Punakha.

Several people have been arrested for cattle rustling and slaughter recently.

In the last two months, Thimphu police arrested seven men for suspected cattle rustling from various parts of the dzongkhag. This month, Paro police registered cases of theft and slaughter of five cattle and ten missing livestock.

In an interview last week, Agriculture Minister Yeshey Penjor said that while moving the animal from one place to another, there was a proper protocol to reduce the spread of zoonotic diseases, which exposes the native animals to viral infections.

While the intention is to save lives of animals, Lyonpo said that the animal saving groups violate animal care rules and regulations, therefore lacking aftercare for rescued animals. It also makes the animals released in the wild easy prey to feral animals. “Tshethar tshogpas’ working culture is inconvenient and unaccountable.”

The tshogpas, he said, were encouraging people to sell animals illegally for a hefty amount, defeating the whole point of animal rescue.

“They are also not legally authorised entities,” Lyonpo said.