Sri Lanka drives cattle off the road to tackle traffic

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka today announced a crack down on cattle roaming the streets of Colombo and its suburbs in a bid to reduce traffic jams and accidents in the congested capital.

Urban Development minister Patali Champika Ranawaka told reporters that owners had been warned to clear cows and bulls from public thoroughfares or the animals will be seized by the local authorities.

"Stray cattle cause traffic jams and we want to eliminate the inconvenience to other road users," the minister said. "Owners should know to bring up their animals in proper cattle sheds."

Stray animals will be taken away by the local authorities with immediate effect.

While some small-time farmers allow their livestock to graze freely animals rescued from slaughter houses are also released to stray as part of religious acts by both majority Buddhists and minority Hindus.

The minister did not say how many cattle were roaming the streets, but stray animals are known to have caused many fatal accidents.

About 3,000 people die annually in accidents along Sri Lanka’s 12,400 kilometre (7,750-mile) national highways

Removing cattle from the streets was also for their own good, the minister said adding that many were known to eat plastic that is found in rubbish dumps. (COLOMBO, August 31, 2017)

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