Dr Thinlay N. Bhutia graduated as a veterinarian from Nagpur Veterinary College, Maharashtra, in 1998. Upon graduation he returned to Sikkim, and worked for the Animal Husbandry Department, while also volunteering at the State Veterinary Hospital.
Dr Thinlay Bhutia has been responsible for a number of initiatives to the benefit of Sikkim. In 2005/2006 he was involved in developing and nurturing the Sikkim Anti-Rabies and Animal Health (SARAH) programme created jointly by Vets Beyond Borders(VBB), Fondation Brigitte Bardot and the Government of Sikkim. The SARAH program is India’s first government sanctioned initiative for state-wide rabies and stray dog population control program. At the inception of SARAH, Dr Thinlay worked with VBB to ensure the banning of mass shooting of dogs on the basis that it is both inhumane and ineffective in controlling rabies. He also took the initiative in implementing India’s first state-wide annual mass anti-rabies vaccination campaign as per WHO recommendations on Rabies control. Dr Bhutia helped with the creation of a separate Division under the aegis of the Department of Animal Husbandry for long term implementation of this important public health and animal welfare program. Dr Bhutia has been invited to speak on the SARAH program in Delhi, Thailand, Geneva and China. He has been actively involved in training veterinarians from other States on small animal surgery and rabies program management.
Dr Bhutia continues to be an active campaigner for improving animal welfare in Sikkim and is the State representative of the Animal Welfare Board. With his involvement, in addition to legislation to ban the mass shooting of dogs, legislation has also been passed and enacted in Sikkim to ban the sale and importation of birds other than poultry, and to ban the castration of farm animals without adequate anaesthesia and proper restraint. With his sheer dedication, India’s first comprehensive Rabies legislation “Preservation of Rabies-Free State, Act (PoRFSA) 2017 has been framed and enacted in Sikkim
Dr Bhutia further demonstrated his commitment to animal welfare through his earthquake relief efforts. Following the Sikkim Earthquake in 2011, he went with Phurba Tshering to Chungthang to help the animals in distress. Many animals were rescued, and rehabilitation and treatment were provided. Likewise he, along with other SARAH team members, went to Nepal during the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in April 2015. They worked with Nepal veterinarians and international aid agencies in rescuing and treating numerous critically injured animals in remote parts of Nepal.