Quarantine Chief visits brick factory

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‘This is awful.” That was the reaction of Dr. Bodh Prasad Parajuli, Chief of Central Animal Quarantine Office, when he saw the conditions of working equines in brick factories  on April 29, 2013. The government chief visited Santaneshwor Brick Factory, among Lalitpur’s worst fourteen brick factories employing equines.

Dr Parajuli warned the equine owners that equine abuse cannot be accepted by his Department. He also realized the owners do not possess the required health cards.

Animal Nepal has urged government authorities such as Department of Livestock Services, Animal Health and Quarantine to address the issue of equine abuse in brick factories.

Dr Parajuli agreed to promote detailed monitoring in quarantine check posts and is to activate the Veterinary Council of Nepal and Nepal Veterinary Association to stop the distribution of health certificates for unhealthy equines. It is agreed that a joint meeting with the various government agencies will be held to address the problems in an effective and lasting manner.

Animal Nepal requested Dr Parajuli to strictly follow existing regulations, especially when equines are imported from India, and to improve conditions during the transportation of equines from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj and vice versa.

Animal Nepal honours ‘clean and green’ brick producer

Kathmandu, January 27, 2011 – Animal Nepal today honoured Mr Indra Tuladhar from Bungamati Itha Udyog for producing ‘clean and green’ bricks using Chinese technology. The animal welfare organization urges other brick producers to follow the example and eliminate environmental pollution as well as the exploitation of working children and equines. “The industry has the technology and the resources to stop the production of ‘blood bricks’; all it needs is the right kind of motivation,” said Krishna Singh, programme manager at Animal Nepal.

Animal Nepal’s gesture is supported by Dutch Party for the Animals member Martin Schoenmakers. Together with Animal Nepal Volunteer Director Lucia de Vries he offered a certificate and gifts to the clean bricks producer.  

The Bungamati brick factory in 2019 introduced Chinese automated brick making machinery. Instead of being seasonal the factory now produces bricks all year round and no longer employs migrant workers, children and donkeys. The bricks are transported by electric carts. Although the process is not yet completely environmentally friendly, there is a great reduction in emissions. Bungamati Itha Udyog is one of the three factories in Nepal using this technology.

Enterpreneur Tuladhar was motivated to clean up his factory when learning about the new technology. He says the brick industry suffers from labour problems, animal abuse and environmental pollution. The contracted workers at the improved kiln earn a fixed salary and no longer face hazardous work conditions.

Animal Nepal since 2008 reaches out to around 500 equines (mostly donkeys) working in brick kilns in Kathmandu Valley. There is relentless pressure to over-work and overload animals. Life expectancy for these animals is short and most donkeys suffer from serious health conditions problems.

In order to help make buyers make the rights choices, a network of NGOs active in environmental protection, children’s rights and animal welfare, including Animal Nepal, have joined hands to promote a responsible brick-making industry. They are introducing a certification system that will provide brick factories with a red, orange or green label.

Animal Nepal urges the brick industry to clean up its act and stop the production of ‘blood bricks’. “Brick kilns are the number one polluters in the Valley and employ countless children and donkeys to do the dirty work. Both issues can be addressed by introducing new technologies such as Vertical Shaft Brick Kilns or automated machinery,” says Krishna Singh.