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 Animal Rights in India

Introduction

Animals have been undergoing cruelty by humans for ages not only in India but also in the entire world when people found that animals can be used for different purposes like fulfilling the daily need of food and clothing. In todays’ era, millions of land and water animals are subjected to brutal treatment. They are killed on regular basis just for the purpose of profit making by fulfilling the food and clothing desires of people. 

Ancient Era

Meat-eating has been at utmost popularity in India since the ancient ages starting from the Nomadic era. People found that animals are a great source of protein and possess the ability to keep the human body warm in winters in the form of food or clothing. 

India is a secular country where more than 6 religions are followed. Few of them stand with the motto of non-violence towards every living being. In spite of numerous religious practices, norms and beliefs, people still fail to follow the path of non-violence, and subject animals to brutal treatment. 

British Era 

Since the ancient era, the demand for meat has kept increasing. It was in the British era when the demand for animal skin came into a real existence as public demand. People then realized that few animals like crocodiles can be a great source of leather. It was initially used by the common people for daily outfit needs but gradually with the passage of years, people realized that the production of luxurious outfits through leather and fur and later exporting them outside India carries a great potential of profit maximization. This trade ultimately brought about a great profit to the Indian economy. 

Post – Independence Era (India)

After the Indian Independence, apart from the food and clothing usage, few more things added up to animal cruelty. One of them is scientific experiment and cosmetic tests. Science has found animals to be a great living creature for experimenting the authenticity and applicability of its outputs for human welfare and needs. 

The Indian Penal Code and Acts on Animal Protection

Having a complete knowledge on the animal rights is a crucial part of learning. Especially in a century where animal cruelty is at its peak. Below mentioned are the sections and acts under the Indian law that protects animals from unnecessary cruelty and pain: 

  • IPC – Section 428

This section under the Indian Penal Code specifies the illegality of killing, harming or damaging any animal worth Rs.10 or more as a punishable offence. The punishment includes a fine of Rs. 2000 or 5 years of imprisonment. 

  • IPC – Section 429 

This section under the Indian Penal Code specifies the illegality of injuring or harming any animal worth 50 rupees or above as a punishable offence. Under this section, the punishment includes fine and 5 years of imprisonment. 

  • The Wildlife (Protection) Act – 1972 

This act penalizes attempts of injuring or harming wild animals like birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians covered in section 39. Harming the eggs of reptiles and birds are also included under this. The punishment for this amounts to a fine of 25000 rupees and 3 years of imprisonment. It can also extend up to 7 years of imprisonment. 

  • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA), 1960 

Under this act, cruelty has been put forward through various meanings like harming someone’s own pet, slaughter, trading and transportation, harming specific body parts of an animal. The punishment for this includes fine and imprisonment of 3 months. 

Types of offences

Cognizable offence – Under this type of offence, a police officer possesses the right to arrest a wrongdoer even in the absence of a warrant. 

Non-cognizable offence – Under this type of offence, a police officer does not have the authority to arrest a wrongdoer in the absence of a warrant. The police officer must have a warrant issued by the Magistrate. 

Offence against animals

Offence against animals

Non-cognizable/Cognizable 

Kicking

Non-cognizable offense

Beating

Non-cognizable offense

Overriding

Non-cognizable offense

Subjecting sick or ineligible animals to labor

Non-cognizable offense

Injurious chemical/drug examination 

Non-cognizable offense

Transportation through vehicle in a painful manner 

Non-cognizable offense

Caging animals in such a way that creates difficulty in their movement. 

Non-cognizable offense

Fails to feed and give the basic necessities to the pet being the owner.

Non-cognizable offense

Subjecting an animal to death through various methods (injections included)

Cognizable offense

Animals used for shooting purposes or matches

Cognizable offense

Injecting oxytocin in animals

Cognizable offense

 

If an offence is committed against an animal by someone in the presence of another person, the person can file a written complaint against the wrongdoer in the nearest police station. 

Animal Rights and Human Duties

  • Article 15A(g) – It says that it is the duty of every individual to be sympathetic and have feelings towards animals. 
  • IPC Section 428 and 429 – It declares killing animals as a punishable offense. 
  • PCA Act 1960, Section 11(i) and Section 11(j) – This specifies secluding any animal for unexplainable or invalid reason as a punishable offence and can lead to 3 months of imprisonment. 
  • Rule 3 of PCA – No animal can be slaughtered anywhere other than a slaughterhouse. An unwell or conceiving animal cannot be slaughtered. 
  • PCA Act 1960, Section 11(1) (h) – This declares depriving animals from their basic necessities and keeping them confined at a place for longer period of time, as a punishable offense. Such a practice can lead to 3 months of imprisonment, fine or both. 
  • PCA Act 1960, Section 22(ii) – This act prohibits taming or training animals like tiger, lion, bear, bulls and panthers. This section does not allow anyone to own these animals for personal as well as public entertainment purposes. 
  • Slaughterhouse Act 2001, Rule 3 – This rule makes sacrificing animals for rituals, illegal. 
  • PCA Act 1960, Section 11(1) (m) (ii) & Section 11(1) (n) – This declares arranging events that initiate fight among animals, as an illegal act.
  •  Drug and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, Rule 148 C & Rule 135 B – This makes cosmetics testing on animals an illegal act. 
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, Section 38J – This act says that creating disturbance to zoo animals and littering in their premises is a punishable offence and may land a person in prison for 3 years or a fine of Rs. 25000 or both. 

Conclusion

Animals constitute a major part of the ecosystem. Harming animals directly or indirectly affects the ecosystem. They are known for their potential to add up to human lives, nutrition and various other needs and wants. Few of them are meat (protein), leather (clothing), fur (clothing and toys) etc. 

To extract all the qualities that satisfy human needs, animals are harmed and killed on regular basis. Cruelty towards animals have increased and is increasing day by day due to the growing demands of people. Animals are slaughtered, killed and left physically hurt every day but only hand full of such cases come in the public notice. To curb such practices many animal rights have been introduced by the Indian Government. Some of them are Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960; Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The basic motive of all such acts is to protect the animal rights and make people aware of the fact that every human being must have sympathy and feelings towards other creatures. Every life plays an important role in holding an ecosystem together. 

This article has been written by Chandrani Mondal, from Kirit P. Mehta School of Law, NMIMS.

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