ANIMAL RIGHTS

ANIMAL RIGHTS IN INDIA

M. Mohanapriya, 6 October, 2020, 11:20 PM IST

In India, culture and traditions are vibrant, colourful and rich. Most Indians take their religions and gods associated with their religion too seriously. People have built countless temples and other religious places across the country probably to express their devotion and faith towards the divine. The Indian people treated animals as equal to god. Hinduism is the only religion in which various animals are closely related to God, and some are worshipped as one of them. In Hinduism, Aranyani is a goddess of the forests and the animals that dwell within them. Ans also said that when Brahma created the animals, he hid a specific secret in each of them to signify their spiritual importance to humans. Hindus regard all living-creatures as sacred-mammals, fishes, birds and more. Animals have rights that must be respected. Rights are much more important than interests, because rights impose a burden on others that the other parties must accept. If animals do have rights then there are certain things that human beings should not do to animals, because doing them would violate the animal’s rights. There are certain rights which will safeguard the animals for their welfare.

Constitution of India: –

Animal protection laws can be enacted and enforced at every level of government. Most animal protection legislation happens at the state level. There are also a handful of federal animal protection laws. Additionally, some cities and counties pass ordinances to protect animals. Under Article 48 A and Article 51A (g) of the Indian Constitution that prohibits hunting of wild animals except in certain limited circumstances.

  • Article 48A of the Indian Constitution states that the state to protect and improve the environment and safeguard wildlife and forests.
  • Article 51-A(g) provides that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.
  • Article 21 includes the right to clean the environment.

ALSO READ: JUVENILE JUSTICE IN INDIA: A CONSTITUTIONAL PROSPECTIVE

Indian Penal Code, 1860: –

  • Section 428 and 429 (Cognizable Offence) of the Indian Penal Code states that killing, maiming, poisoning or torturing of any animal is punishable by imprisonment for up to two years or with fine or both.   

Prevention of cruelty to Animals Act, 1960: –

India first embarked on its endeavours to promote animal welfare and ensure animal safety with the enactment of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in 1960 (‘the PCA Act’). Since then, there has been a sustained movement towards animal welfare in the country. There has been significant progress as a result of these events, which is seen in the development of various laws and policies like those on the treatment of performing animals and the ban on animal testing of cosmetics. To prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals as well as to prevent the cruelty to animals under Section 3 and 11 of this Act.

The Animal Welfare Board of India is a statutory advisory body to the Government established in 1862 under section 4 of this Act.

  • Section 9(k) states that to import education in relation to the humane treatment of animals and to encourage the formation of public. Opinion against the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering to animals and for the promotion of animal welfare by means of lectures, books posters, cinema exhibition and the line.
  • Section 11(1)(A) – Causing pain, Suffering & injury
  • Section 11(1)(B) – Using a Sick, infirm or Wounded Animal
  • Section 11(1)(C) – Wilfully Administering any injurious Drug or Injurious Substances.
  • Section 11(1)(d) – (Carrying or Transporting Animals in Cruel Manner) Conveying or carrying animals whether in or upon any vehicle, in any manner or position which causes discomfort, pain or suffering is a punishable offence not only in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.  It is also punishable under Motor Vehicle Act 1978.
  • Section 11(1)(h) – If an owner fails to provide its pet with sufficient food, drink or shelter, the person shall be liable for punishment.
  • Section 11(1)(i) and Section 11(1)(j) of the Prevention of cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 – Abandoning any animal for any reason.
  • Penalty; It may be Rs.50/- per animal for each violation or prison term 3 months or both.
  • Section 26 of this Act states that no animal can be used for entertainment purposes except Registered animals.  If anyone violates this section that person shall be punished with imprisonment or fine.

Wildlife Protection Act, 1972:

The Act provides for the protection of wild animals, birds and plants. Main objectives of this act are Prohibition of hunting, Protection and management of wildlife habitats, Establishment of protected areas, Regulation and control of trade in parts and products derived wildlife and Management of Zoos. It has six schedules which give varying degrees of protection. 

  • Section 9 of the Wildlife protection Act, 1972 –  Capturing, trapping, poisoning or baiting of any wild animal or  Distributing or destroying eggs or nests of birds and reptiles or chopping a tree having nests of such birds and reptiles or even attempting to do so constitutes to hunting and attracts a punishment of a fine of up to 25,000 or imprisonment up to seven years or both.
  • Section 16(c) of the Act provides that it is unlawful to injure, destroy wild birds or reptiles, damaging their eggs or nests.  The person found guilty can be punished with an imprisonment of 3 to 7 years and a fine of Rs.25,000. 
  • Sec38(j) – Teasing, molesting, injuring, feeding or causing disturbance to any animal by noise or otherwise is prohibited. The punishment for this offence is imprisonment up to 3 years or fine up to Rs.25,000 or both.
  • Section 39 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 states that wild animals are Government property and it is illegal to acquire, keep in possession, custody or control, transfer or destroy and damage on such government property.
  • Section 48A of the Act prohibits transportation of any wild animal, bird or plants except with the permission of the Chief Wildlife Warden or any other official authorized by the State Government.

Drugs and Cosmetics Rule: –

     According to this rule – Bans import of Cosmetic products that have been tested on Animals.  Any person violates this act that person shall be punished for 3 to 10 years or liable for fine up to Rs. 500 – 10,000.

Animal Birth Control Rules, 2001: –

The Animal Protection Rules, 2001 provide for rules relating to pets and street dogs. Animal Birth Control Rules 2001 – Dogs can be sterilized only after attaining the age of 4 months and no sterilized dog can be relocated from their area.

Other laws:

  1. Dog Breeding and Marketing Rules, 2017
  2. Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Rules (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017.
  3. Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2017.

Animal Abuses:

On 04.09.20, A group of men beat twelve puppies to death in Goregaon. A man in Uttar Pradesh poured acid on five newborn puppies and their mother. A pregnant goat dies after an alleged gang by 8 men in Haryana. 106 websites are being used for illegal wildlife trade. The list collated by India’s Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB). Wild animals illegally traded in the country increased from 400 in 2014 to 465 in 2016.  

There are 19,028 animal cruelty cases were spot out in Mumbai in Mumbai over 5 years but no single arrest was happened. On February 26, 2020 – Eight animals were electrocuted due to the power leakage from high tension line Cheramabadi range in Gudalur. Reason behind this incident was lack of maintenance.  On April 23 a resident of Amantran building kicked a docile seven-years-old female dog so hard.  Due to the actions made by the person, the dog died.  May-13,2020 – Number of people used to hunt wild animals especially in the Nilgiris forest division. The Forest official said that people were involved to hunt jungle fowl, black-naped hare and also some rare species such as sambar deer. 

 On May 25, In Dadh village of Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh – A person allegedly feeding a pregnant cow wheat flour laced with explosive substances.  In May 2020, two teenagers in order to make a tiktok video tied up a dog and drowned it in a pond, resulting in its death.  On June 06, 2020 – A pregnant elephant was allegedly killed after being fed pineapple stuffed with crackers by a local resident in Pallakad district.  July 4, 2020 – A cow has been raped in Bhopal’s Sunder Nagar area by 55-year-old Sabir Ali.  Every year more than 30,000 dogs are illegally transported by trucks in north eastern of Nagaland and Mizoram for meat. Consumption of dog meat is illegal. However, Hundreds of dogs are killed brutally for the meat trade. 

Judicial Suggestions regarding animals:

  1. SRI SUBHAS BHATTACHARJEE v. THE STATE OF TRIPURA – In this case the court held that “Sacrifice of an animal in a temple not being an essential part of religion is also violation of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution”.
  1. GEETA SESHAMANI v. UNION OF INDIA & ORS – In this case Hon’ble court directed all the states to establish State Animal Welfare Boards within three months.
  2. NAIR N.R. AND ORS. v. UNION OF INDIA – In this case kerala high court held that bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers and lions shall not be trained or exhibited as performing animals.
  3. NARAYANA DUTT BHATT v. UNION OF INDIA – In this case the court held that the state Government should constitute SPCA’s (A Society for prevention of Cruelty to Animals) in each district, if not already constituted.
  4.  ANIMAL WELFARE BOARD OF INDIA v.  A. NAGARAJA & ORS – The supreme court of India held that bulls cannot be performing animals.  Jallikattu and other animal races and fights are prohibited.

Suggestions to Curb animal rights violations:

     In the year 2014, the Animal Welfare Board of India drew up a fresh draft “Animal Welfare Bill, 2014”. It incorporated substantially higher penalties for animal abuse, but yet it was not passed by parliament. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act 1960 came into force in the year of 1960 with the aim to prevent infliction of unnecessary pain and suffering on animals and its penal provisions have not been revised since.

     Bombay Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said that law is too weak to deter them.  While cruelty to pets and animals is punishable offence under Punishment for cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 which the fine will be measly Rs.10to100. The BSPCA inspector said that a horrific case happened last year. A four people were arrested for beating a cow. The bail bond for being arrested cost about 4,000 rupees but the court left them with a fine of Rupees.50. On June 7, 2020- PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) the Government of India to strengthen the laws established to protect animals. As per the current laws set out against animal cruelty, the perpetrator would only be charged Rs.50,000 as a fine.  That is equivalent to no punishment at all.  India have to revise the fine for animal cruelty. Many of the people who were not aware of wildlife and its importance.  People should be educated by proper means and mainly by setting up training camps to educate them.

Conclusion: –

Animals play an important role in people’s lives. Animals should be treated with respect and dignity, and this right to decent treatment is not upheld when animals are exploited for selfish human gain. Animal testing should be eliminated because it violates animals’ rights, it causes pain and suffering to the experimental animals, and other means of testing product toxicity are available. Protect the animals which are the most valuable companions in human’s life.

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