In what appeared to be another controversial statement, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane said yesterday that animals such as monkeys, wild boar and crocodiles should be killed to protect crops and human lives.
Addressing a function in Bandarawela, he said that the monkeys that destroyed cultivations in Tangalle had been caught and sent to the Yala National Park and released but that all had returned to the cultivated lands.
At the meeting, the representatives of various farmer organisations charged that the authorities concerned were not taking action regarding the destruction of their crops by wild animals.
The minister said he had instructed the police in his area not to take action against those who kill monkeys and other animals that destroy their crops.
Most representatives said they did not have the freedom to do that in their areas and requested the minister to get permission for all the farmers in the country to do the same.
“Not only monkeys but also animals such as wild boar and crocodiles are also a problem for the people. A wild boar gives birth to at least ten young at a time. They breed fast. In the past there were hunters in our area. Now there are no shotguns,” the minister said.
The farmers said, “Honourable minister, if we do it here, the police will arrest us.”
Mr. Abeywardane said, “I have instructed the police in my area not to arrest such persons.” (Palitha Ariyawansa)