Bhubaneswar: An eminent biologist has said that the need of the hour was to ensure that development should take place without destruction and pollution to ensure the safety of planet earth.
“What is needed today is development without destruction and production without pollution,” Prof. Aditya Prasad Dash, former Regional Advisor to the World Health Organisation (WHO) for South-East Region, said while speaking at a program at Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan Deemed to be University (SOA) here organised to mark the World Animal Day.
Prof. Dash said the entire earth was dominated by plant bio-mass with animals and humans accounting for a miniscule 0.4 per cent and 0.01 per cent of it respectively. “A little imbalance in the animal-plant bio-mass equilibrium will cause havoc,” he warned.
“Climate change is happening everywhere and affecting the animal kingdom. It is said that industrialization and deforestation are largely responsible for this change,” Prof. Dash said adding “since we can’t stop development we should ensure development without destruction and production without pollution.”
The program was organised jointly by the Institute of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry (IVSAH), faculty of veterinary sciences of SOA, and Odisha Livestock Development Society. It was presided over by the Dean of the institute Prof. Bramhadev Pattnaik while SOA Vice-Chancellor Prof. Pradipta Kumar Nanda attended the event as the chief guest. Prof. (Dr.) Sanghamitra Mishra, Dean of Institute of Medical Sciences and SUM Hospital, faculty of medicine of SOA, also addressed the event.
Stating that humankind has to strive for ensuring a protected environment for the animal kingdom, Prof. Dash focused on the highly evolved community of ants, termites and bees. Some creatures have strong societies and ants and termites have a special symbiotic relationship with aphids, the insects which secrete a sweet liquid known as honeydew, he said.
Prof. Dash, former Director of the National Institute of Malaria Research, New Delhi, said this secretion was sugar rich and favoured by the insects as a food source.
The bees are interesting creatures and research on their behavior had found the worker bee resorts to a unique form of communication to share information on the location of a food source with its nest-mates. “This is known as the waggle dance,” he said.
Prof. Dash said the scientist who discovered the waggle dance used only an empty matchbox to understand the language of bees while Ronald Ross who found the malarial parasite used a simple microscope to make the discovery. “It shows that you don’t need sophisticated infrastructure or high-end instruments to get a Nobel Prize,” he said.
Prof. Nanda said animals also reciprocate their appreciation if cared for as love was a universal language. “We have this experience with our pets who often sacrifice their lives to save others,” he said adding “we should learn from animals and birds and pick up their positive traits.”
Prof. Pattnaik underlined the importance of animals and birds saying they were vital to the existence of human beings as most vaccines were experimented on animals first. Advising dog lovers, he said they should not feed the pet with vegetarian dishes because it was a carnivore.
Prof. (Dr.) Mishra stressed on the need to develop compassion for animals and promote vegetarianism. “We must be committed to love, protect and care for animals,” she said.
Prof. Sushanta Kumar Das, President of Odisha Livestock Development Society, also addressed the meeting where several eminent veterinarians and winners of essay, debate and quiz competitions held earlier were felicitated. Dr. Raj Kishore Mohanty, former Joint Director in the Department of Veterinary Services, Government of Odisha, also spoke. Dr. Balaram Sahu, Assistant Professor in IVSAH, conducted the program.