India is a place with several religious traditions that advocates non-violence and solicitude towards animal welfare. India is also the world’s leading producer of animal products. In ancient India, the main theme of Hinduism was “Ahimsa” or non-violence towards all the living beings. According to them, killing an animal is the violation of “Ahimsa” and leads to bad Karmas. This theory leads to the practice of vegetarianism among Hindus. But on the other side, they allow animal sacrifice for religious ceremonies.
But today the civility of a man or a human being has comes to backward. And the civilized society has become a barbaric society. Today we observe the animal cruelty everywhere. A recent example is, a female pregnant elephant in Kerala died because of eating a fruit-laden with explosives. It is not a matter of whether this is a murder of an incident. It is much serious and above it. It is a matter of whether these inhuman activities are legal under Indian laws or not. What kind of humanity is this when we have lost our basic moral values?
ANIMAL PROTECTION LAWS AND THEIR RIGHTS
- Constitutional Rights
Under Article 51 (A) g, every citizen must protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife. And every citizen shall have compassion for living creatures.
In the concurrent list, both the center and state has power and force to prevent inhumane attitude towards animals. And also have the power to ensure the safety of wild animals and birds.
- Indian Penal Code,1860
Section 428 of the said act punishes the maiming, killing, poisoning, and rendering useless of any animal.
Scaring someone and preventing him/her to keep his/her pet can be punished under Section 503 of the aforesaid act.
Section 11 (a-o) of the act provides that, any person
Beating, kicking, over-loads, overdrives, Employs in work which is unfit for an animal, Willfully or unreasonably administering drugs, Carrying any animal on a vehicle that causes suffering, Keeps and confine any animal which obstructs his movement, The owner fails to provide food and care, Mutilates any animal or kills through injections, Incite any animal to fight with another, Organizing animal fights for money, Organizing or participating in the competition of shooting in which animals are released from captivity for shooting,
In all such cases, the offender shall be punishable with 10-50Rs at first instance, and with 25-100Rs and 3 years of imprisonment.
Bears, monkeys, panthers, bulls, lions are being prohibited from being trained for entertainment under section 22(ii).
This act also makes provisions for the protection of wild animals, birds, aquatic animals, and zoo animals. Section 48 of the act prohibits the transportation of wild animals and birds aside from the authorization of chief wildlife warden and any authority authorized by the State Government. Section 49 prohibits the buying of animals from dealers without a license. Teasing, feeding, or disturbing any animal in the zoo is a punishable offence with 25000Rs and up to 3 years imprisonment under Section 38(j).
- Animals (including chickens) cannot be slaughtered other than a slaughterhouse. Sick and pregnant animals shall not be slaughtered. Rule 3 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (Slaughterhouse rules) 2001.
- According to Slaughterhouse Rules, 2001 animal sacrifice is illegal.
- Cosmetics test on animals is banned. Rules 135-B and 148-C of Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 2001.
In the case of “Animal Welfare Board of India vs A. Nagaraja and Ors,” SC held that animals too have the right to live with dignity and honour. In Karnil Singh and Ors vs State of Haryana, the court took the matter to the extent of fundamental rights. The court declares the entire animal kingdom as a legal distinct persona having legal rights, liabilities, and duties. The court extends the doctrine of Paren Patriae to animals also.
To prevent cruelty and inhuman conduct towards animals we need to amend the existing laws. We also need stringent punishment to curb this evil towards the tongue-tied animals which are a mockery right now. The entire aura of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 is providing very loose punishment and not protecting the interest of animals. This act does not have any amendment after its enactment. The supreme for more than a decade is issuing directives to set up an Animal Welfare Board. But the State Governments still have to form it. And, who have formed, still waiting for its operation because of lack of staff and budget. Because of rising cases of animal cruelty, various nations are creating special Animal Welfare Courts to deal with it. So, the country like India where the animals were worshipped also needs to set up a special court to deal with such issues. This is the high time for such changes without any delay.