A LOOK INTO HOW THE CONDITIONS OF ANIMALS CAN BE IMPROVED IN OUR COUNTRY
Author : Parnika
The current plight of animals in our society haunts anyone and everyone. This is an alarming issue and demands societal attention too at the earliest. Everyone needs to come up as a community and should demand justice for these helpless beings by bringing in reforms in the current legislations in its true sense and this movement should not just restrict to animal activists.
Mainly the legislations that guide animal welfare and upliftment of animals in India are Prevention to Cruelty on Animals Act and the Wildlife Protection Act. Moreover, the Directive Principles of State Policies enshrined in the Indian Constitution state 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. Additionally, there are numerous case laws pertaining to this subject matter too. Also, Section 428 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code, killing, poisoning, maiming or torturing an animal is a cognizable offense. This would lead to rigorous imprisonment or/and fine. However, it is not a hidden fact that animals in India are still treated with utmost cruelty and this needs to be corrected and modified by bringing in various reforms. It is high time that we develop animal related legislations. This reflects the fact that not importance is given in our country towards animal welfare as the number of laws pertaining to this subject matter are easily countable. A lot has to be done to bring in various changes for promoting animals and animal law. They are helpless in this matter and can not voice their opinion and demand our support otherwise they will keep on facing such tortures without any relief or sense of belongingness to the society.
CURRENT SITUTATION OF ANIMALS IN OUR COUTRY
India has significantly passed various legislations since Independence, but it is ironical as well as a questionable fact that India is also one of the leading producers and has great contribution of animal related products in the world. Currently, India has occupied a C grade in the World Animal Protection Index. This reflects that there are many changes needed in the current legal structure that also lacks effective and efficient implementation. The question towards animal cruelty initiates from the bulletin that although animal cruelty has been criminalised in our country but still it lays certain exceptions where animal cruelty has been justified to take place. This highlights the concern that how can certain animals be subject to cruelty while others are protected by the law for the same? Consequently, such provisions would lay greater emphasis and importance on the well being of certain animals than the others. Also, scientists have been excessively using various animals for numerous experiments and even for cloning which genetically harms these animals. Thus, this truly represents that animals are being used by these scientists in the name of experiments to fulfil their scientific agenda. Despite all these legislations, we generally come across various incidents in our locality that reflect the state of these animals. These incidents can range from beating animals for fun, animal trafficking of various rare species, excessive slaughtering of animals for food and a much more for this cause. Every day we come up with news of animal torture around us such as men raping dogs, killing of pregnant elephants by planting crackers for fun, slaughtering animals that are not even meant to be eaten, torturing them to perform acts and performances in circuses, trafficking of animals according borders just to earn a few more rupees at the cost of their lives and a much more to count upon. Now everyone finally needs to join hands and help these needy animals, this would also bring in satisfaction to ourselves for helping them and assisting them.
First and foremost change that we need to bring up is proper implementation of the already laid rules. Unless and until rules are implemented in a said manner there is no use of brining in loads of legislations; because ultimately what will help is only when we see practical aspect of these theoretical rules. For proper implementation to be a successful dream various grass root level committees have to be set up consisting of animal activists, college going students and a learned mentor as the head who will guide them in the same subject matter; this would help in developing the practical aspect of what has been decided by the beaurocrats who shape the future of this nation. Secondly, there should be reforms in the education system so that young children have a well developed emotional quotient and have increased sensitivity towards animals and other creatures who cannot stand up for themselves. This will help in bringing about a significant change as the whole of subsequent and upcoming generation would learn about animal rights and their responsibility to uplift the condition of animals in our county. Once this thought is embedded in them, they do not have to be reminded of their duties time and again. Also, every student should be motivated to take care of an animal in their locality and feed them food so that the whole burden does not fall upon the governmental agencies. Adding up to it, big corporate houses view societal responsibility embedded upon them by various laws as a burden and does not take it much seriously as it is needed. If they start taking this up as their own contribution towards the society and not just a mere burden it would help the society in numerous ways and would also help them in building up their reputation without spending lacks of rupees in promotion and marketing as they are currently doing to build their markets. Along with it, for the earnable group of the society to be motivated to take up this social cause, they should be offered tax rebates by the government; elderly should also receive incentives for taking care of stray animals in their locality. This would help in keeping motivating people to look after the society and contribute their bit. This way the government would be especially able in targeting all the age groups in the society and get their contribution towards this cause of much concern. Moreover, the animal laws have not been amended since their inception dating back to nearly the Independence of our nation. Factually, the monetary penalties and imprisonment norms date back to that era and thus the general public tends to have this thinking and belief that they will be able to easily get away with it and will be able to pay the fines too. This needs to be modified and more stringent laws need to pertain to create a fear in the mind of people that would stop them from committing such heinous acts towards animals. The governmental agencies could also come up with an online portal which would have provisions for suggestions as on how we can improve the conditions of animals and also an anonymous complaint portal that would enable people to speak up, voice their opinions and lodge complaints regarding animal cruelty in their locality. Also, animal sacrifice is still ongoing in our country at the name of religious beliefs. No god would want people to harm these decent creatures to prove their religious belongingness. Adding to this, there need to be provisions that regulate the number of slaughter houses in a particular locality; because without these rules and regulations people are not decent and sensitive enough to themselves care enough and look into this matter. If these steps are performed both by the central governmental agencies in co ordination with the general public mainly by bringing in sensitivity in people towards animals what looks like a major task today would be a success in the coming years. Thus, we just need to be more concerned and focuses towards contributing our part for this cause.
There are many case laws and landmark judgements that protect the interest of animals and promote animal welfare. Let’s have a look towards them in detail and understand animal laws more clearly.
In 2006 Bombay High Court, in the case of People for Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Union of India passed an important judgement regarding use of animals in film industry. This judgment opened the group for obtaining a No Objection Certificate from the Animal Welfare Board. If they fail to do so, they will not receive certification from Central Board for Film Certification. In the case, State of Utter Pradesh v. Mustakeem and Others it was held that if a case for animal cruelty has been lodges against a person, then the accused if he/she happens to be the owner of those animal, will be separated from them unless he/she is proved to be innocent. Till the time, the matter is sub judice, the animals involved in the case would be kept in a government owned gaushala or a pinjrapole. Before 2014, it was a regular practice to transport cattles to Nepal illegally for the festival known as Gadhimai. This festival demands cattle sacrifice as a ritual. In the case, Gauri Maulekhi v. Union of India and others it was held by the honourable Supreme Court to ban this activity, this judgement later proved to be effective in decreasing the count of cattle sacrifice for that year. Kerala High Court in Nair NR and others v. Union of India and others held a ban on training and exhibiting animals from performing harmful stunts. Kerala High Court upheld this notification earlier passed by Ministry of Environment and Forests. Similar to this judgement of Kerala High Court, the Supreme Court in the case of Animal Welfare Board of India v. A Nagaraja and others held for a ban on animal races and fights involving bulls, jallikatu and others. Thus, these were certain landmark judgments that help in uplifting animal laws in our country. The judiciary and legislators have contributed their bit by some extent but we also need to be concerned enough because just for the reason that animals can not speak up for themselves we should not deny them their rig
hts and we should without feeling any burden fulfil our social responsibility too.
SUM IT UP
This article clearly explains the situation of animals in our country by highlighting various practical examples of the problems faced by them. The Indian legislations with respect to this subject matter have been discussed and also the suggestions and reforms that are needed and should be implemented as early as possible have been highlighted by the sole intention of improving the conditions of these needy creatures. If we just contribute our bit towards this societal cause these animals would feel social belongingness.