ISSUES AND CHALLENGES FACED BY GOVERNMENT IN REGULATION OF ANIMAL RIGHTS
ANIMALS – A HETACOMB
Author: Ms.Lepakshi Thakur, Chanderprabhu Jain College of Higher Studies
India is home to several religious traditions promoting non-violence and concern towards animals and has passed a number of animal welfare reforms since 1960. India is also one of the world’s leading producers of animal products. It accounts for about 5.56 percent of the global egg production and also the largest population of milch animals in the world, with 110 million buffaloes, 133 million goats, and 63 million sheep. Exports of animal products represent an important and significant contribution to the Indian Agriculture sector. India’s export of Animal Products was Rs.29,813.69 crores/ 4,623.05 USD Million in 2017-2018.
The demand for Indian buffalo meat in the international market has sparked a sudden increase in meat export. Buffalo meat dominated the exports with a contribution of over 89.08% in total Animal Products export from India. The main market for Indian buffalo meat and other animal product are Vietnam Social Republic, Malaysia, Egypt Arab Republic, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.
Animals are not ours to experiment on, eat, wear, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way. Animals deserve rights, regardless of how they taste or how convenient it is to experiment on them. Like humans, animals are capable of suffering and have an interest in leading their own lives. They are not ours to use for food, clothing, experimentation or entertainment.
Animal welfare legislation differs across the world with some countries providing greater protection for animals than others.
The legislature also distinguishes between species, including some while excluding others. Scientific findings influence animal welfare legislation and as animal welfare develops as an academic discipline, so do the extent of the regulations that safeguard the welfare of animals. The laws, statutes, and guidelines have an impact on widespread issues from trade through to cruelty.
INDIAN GOVERNMENT URGED TO ACT ON ANIMALS WELFARE ISSUES
An animal rights body in India has demanded that funds be allotted to a variety of animal issues, signaling a major shift in focus towards animal welfare.
The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) has asked the government for amplified funds.
The body has requested a budget for circus animal rehabilitation and the introduction of birth control programs for dogs, in any efforts to stop overbreeding and dissuade citizens from beating and killing strays.
Of late, India has made great progress in animal welfare. This month, India held its first-ever outreach day to boost residents to go vegan. Companies in the country are progressively adding plant-based alternatives, and last year a school in India declared itself fully vegan. While there is undoubtedly more that needs to be done, the evolving focus on animal welfare, community health, and the environment is one that cannot be disregarded.
EDUCATE ON ANIMAL LAW ISSUES
Animal welfare is the well-being of nonhuman animals. The standards of “good” animal welfare vary between different contexts. These principles are under constant review and are debated.
Respect for animal welfare is regularly based on the belief that nonhuman animals are sentient and that consideration should be given to their well-being or misery, especially when they are under the care of humans. This distress can comprise how animals are thrashed for food, how they are used in scientific research, how they are kept (as pets, in zoos, farms, circuses, etc.), and how human activities affect the welfare and existence of wild species, created and revised by animal welfare groups, legislators and academics worldwide.
In a perfect world, laws to protect animals would abolish all cruelty because of dogs should not be bred and sold, cattle and other animals should not be sent to slaughter and fish should not be kept in tanks. But sometimes change occurs in stages and we commend the government for passing assured protections for dogs and fish; as well as cows, buffaloes, camels and other animals who end up at animal markets for now. We also refer the government for helping eradicate animals from abusers through the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2017.
FAILURE OF ANIMAL PROTECTION LAWS AND REGULATIONS
Evaluating animal protection laws and regulations covering animals used for research and testing is a summary process, primarily because there are few protections for these animals. The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) establishes basic standards of care for many animals but fails to provide any protection for at least 90% of all animals used: mice, rats, and birds. At the same time, state animal protection laws—specifically anti-cruelty statutes—exempt from coverage those animals used for scientific and/or educational purposes.
Despite our amusing past of respect and understanding towards animals, there has been an increasing inhumane treatment towards animals across India’s metros and amongst our early life. Disgusting videos that depict atrocities towards animals usually surface only to be forgotten once the media storm around them dies down. This is reasonable for a deeper problem that is embedded in our system at the policy level itself.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act was a landmark judgment passed in 1960 with the aim of restricting atrocities towards animals. But, it has clearly been unsuccessful to keep up with the times. Damages under this action come under the class of non-cognizable bailable offences, which roughly translates into the fact that violators usually get off only with a fine. The amount of the fine has been fixed between Rs 50 and Rs 100, which is also somewhat that has not changed for nearly six decades. None of the recent governments has made any efforts to amend the out-dated law. There are also barely any convictions in cases related to cruelty towards animals.
Punjab Haryana High Court Judgement giving Personhood to animals is lightyears ahead of our time;
“All animals have honour and dignity. Every species has an inherent right to live and is required to be protected by law. The rights and privacy of animals are to be respected and protected from unlawful attacks. The Corporations, Hindu idols, holy scriptures, rivers have been declared legal entities and thus, in order to protect and promote greater welfare of animals including avian and aquatic, animals are required to be conferred with the status of legal entity/ legal person. The animals should be healthy, comfortable, well-nourished, safe, able to express innate behavior without pain, fear, and distress. They are entitled to justice. The animals cannot be treated as objects or property” said Justice Rajiv Sharma.
Justice Sharma signed the verdict with a ‘live and let live motto’ and stated that all the citizens throughout the state of Haryana are declared to be persons in loco parentis (meaning ‘in the place of a parent’) as the human face for the welfare and protection of animals.
Personally, I am of the view that cruelty towards any life form is a more severe crime than something like theft or adultery. While I understand that these other crimes may also cause pain and suffering, it is my conviction that the brutalizing of any life form, be it human or otherwise, points towards a greater deep-seated issue within the psyche of the wrongdoer which either requires a severe punishment or medical attention.
The presence of useless policy has directly powered the rise of crony vigilantism within this space. While it is important to ensure that animals are treated benevolently, fear and intimidation are not tools that must be adopted in this attempt.
Maneka Gandhi, amongst the noticeable politicians in the country today, has advocated the cause of animal welfare either through open regard for animals or as a tactic for greater visibility. Her NGO, People for Animals, while doing decent work in raising awareness about the importance of humane treatment of animals has also been entangled in several controversies.