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CRUELTY TO ANIMALS

Updated: Apr 12

Author: Riya Nagpal, II Year of B.Com.,LL.B from University institute of legal studies Panjab University.

Co-author: Aayushi, II Year of B.Com.,LL.B from University institute of legal studies Panjab University.


INTRODUCTION

Would you believe me if I told you that the cruelest animal in the world is a human? But it is a harsh reality. Humans often destroy their natural habitats and mercilessly kill animals for their skin, bones, bone marrow and meat although he is not a meat-eater by nature and holds life sacred. Circuses, zoos, roadshows, cattle, and bird markets are also death traps for these helpless creatures. Animals like elephants, monkeys, bears, and parrots are ill-treated by circus people and roadside showmen to make money by showing their tricks and antics. Bullocks, horses, yaks, camels, donkeys and many other animals are made to carry heavy loads.


It is no doubt we have developed a lot, but at what cost? Is it really a success for the humans when we have lost our basic moral values and ethics? Did you know that countless animals and birds are killed or maimed in the name of scientific experiments, testing and research? These poor silent souls cannot even express the pain and suffering they are subjected to.

In this article we will discuss how animals are being affected by human actions and also focus on the acts framed by the Parliament in order to conserve animals.


CRUELTY TO ANIMALS

The human being is affecting the animal's life through his cruel action towards them. Cruelty to animals, also known as animal abuse, animal neglect or animal cruelty, is the infliction of physical pain or sufferings by neglect or by commission by humans of suffering or harm upon any non-human animal.[1]

SOME INSTANCES OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS IN INDIA

A. Pregnant Elephant Ate Pineapple Stuffed With Firecrackers in Kerala

A pregnant elephant in the Palakkad district of Kerala was killed by firecracker laced with pineapple. An autopsy report revealed that the elephant got major wounds in its oral cavity due to which she is unable to eat and drink. The report further revealed that she was unable to eat for two weeks before her death. It is very miserable to realise the amount of pain and suffering which she went through.[2]

B. Kitten Burnt Alive with Lighter in Hyderabad

Last year, a man in Hyderabad burnt an alive kitten with a lighter. Responding to this grisly incident, animal rights groups had announced a reward of Rs 50000 for information leading to the identification and arrest of the person who committed this act.

C. Blackbuck Poaching Case

The actor Salman Khan was sentenced to five years imprisonment by the court after he was convicted of poaching a blackbuck. The actor has been charged under Section 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act. Khan challenged this judgement and sought a suspension of the sentence.


INDIAN LAWS ON CRUELTY TO ANIMALS

In the present era no attention is paid to animals as human beings are busy with their rat race for earning money, and for that they are targeting animals. The animals are being tortured, and they are unable to raise their voice against cruelty. There is a fundamental duty of every citizen of India to have compassion for all living creatures under Article 51A (g) of the Indian Constitution. To kill any animal, including stray animals, is a punishable offence under Section 428 & 429 of the Indian Penal Code, so the Government has framed many laws such as Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, and Wildlife Protection Act 1972.

A.The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960 was commenced on 1st April 1974, and the main objective of this act is to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffer on animals[3]. This Act provides for the establishment of the Animal Welfare Board of India under the Central Government for the purpose of animal welfare.


The board has been working very actively towards the welfare of animals in India. Section 3 of this act confers duty on the owner of any animal to ensure their well-being by taking reasonable care. Section 11 of this act is one of the most important sections as it specifies the activities or actions that will be considered cruelty against animals.


Sections 3 and 11 of this act confers duties on the owners and corresponding rights on animals. Moreover, Section 11(o) of the act says that leaving the animal in a situation where it suffers pain due to starvation or thirst is a punishable offence. In this case, the fine can go up to Rs 50.

B.Killing, Torturing, or Maiming an animal is a cognizable offence under section 428 and Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code. The punishment for such an act is imprisonment which may extend upto 2 years or a fine or both.[4]

C. Wildlife Protection Act 1972.

According to Section 16 (c) of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, it is unlawful to injure, destroy or take away any part of the body of wild or captive animals or, in the case of wild birds or reptiles, damaging their eggs or disturbing their eggs or nests. For this act the person can be punished with an imprisonment of 3 to 7 years and a fine of Rs 25,000.

According to the section 38(j) of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 Teasing, molesting, injuring, feeding or causing disturbance to any animal by noise or otherwise is a punishable offence.


D. Section 11(1)(h) of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act ,1960

If the owner fails to provide its pet with sufficient food, drink or shelter, then he/she shall be liable for punishment under section 11(1)(h) of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The punishment for such an act is the fine which may extend to mere ₹50. If the crime was committed again within three years, then one would be fined with ₹25- ₹100.

E.Section 98 of the Transport of Animals Rules, 1978.

According to the section 98 of the Transport of Animals Rules, 1978,

Animals should be in good health while transporting them. Any animal that is diseased or unfit should not be transported. Moreover, pregnant and very small animals should be transported separately.


It is true that our laws need to be stricter and fines to be revised and there is also a need to create awareness about these laws to protect our animals.

CASES

The case laws that have been decided by the Honourable courts over a decade in this matter is a very positive sign as it shows the shifting of perception from the anthropocentric approach towards the eco-centric approach.


In the very landmark case of Karnal Singh and Ors. v. State of Haryana[5] the judiciary touched the matter of animal rights in the purview of Fundamental Rights. The beauty of the judgement is that it is not only concentrated on the welfare of cows but also on all animals, birds and aquatic species as well.

Justice Rajiv Sharma clearly mentions in his judgement “The entire animal kingdom including avian and aquatic are declared as legal entities having a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person. All the citizens throughout the State of Haryana are hereby declared persons in loco parentis as the human face for the welfare/protection of animals.”


Another leading case law is Narayan Dutt Bhatt v. Union of India & Ors.[6]in this subject matter in which it is clearly stated: “We may, therefore, define a person for the purpose of jurisprudence as any entity (not necessarily a human being) to which rights or duties may be attributed.”

SIGNIFICANCE OF ANIMALS

There is a huge significance of animals in different religions. Some religions worship different animals, these sacred animals become symbols of a particular quality or tradition valued by the religion in question. There are many sacred animals in Hinduism like the cow, monkey, Shiva’s cobra etc. The sentiments towards animals are not just limited to religious books or saints but are also taken by national leaders like Mahatma Gandhi- “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” As rightly said by Marc Bekoff that although other animals may be different from us, but that does not make them less than us.[7]

CONCLUSION

Animals being used for fashion have undergone a lot of traumas, a lot of torture. They are just killed so that we can have clothes that we think are going to look good, and I think today there are many alternatives in clothes that make us look good without harming animals, and I think we need to look very hard at those alternatives.


They suffer so much just because we want to look good, so why do we torture them when there are other ways to get that, like you can use coconut materials to just get the same leather, the same kind of touch, the same fabric that you want, you are getting it without harming anyone, so why not do that.


I feel that doing as much as we all can do is going to be a step forward to create a more sustainable world.

Be comfortable in your skin and let the animal keep their [8].


Children can play an important role in stopping this cruelty to animals. They must join hands to create world-wide awareness for the ethical and humane treatment of animals. They can join protests and rallies against animal testing and launch signature campaigns for this purpose. Also, they refuse to buy animal products or products which have been tested on animals. They should adopt animals as pets and support animal and environment conservation programmes.


Children of the world, animals and birds cry for your help. They cannot survive without your support.


Reference

[1] Cruelty to Animals, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruelty_to_animals ( last visited Mar. 21,2021).

[2] KC Archana, Instances Of Animal Cruelty That Prove Humanity Does Not Exist Anymore, INDIA TIMES ( Jan 24,2021,12:36 PM), https://www.indiatimes.com/trending/social-relevance/animal-cruelty-incidents-shocking-531591.html

[3]Ayush Verma, An Overview of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, I PLEADERS BLOG ( Mar.23, 2021, 3:35 PM),

https://blog.ipleaders.in/overview-prevention-cruelty-animals-act-1960/#Domestic_Animal

[4]Shabdita Pareek, 10 Animal Protection Laws In India That Will Help You Give A Voice To The Voiceless, SCOOPWHOOP,( Aug 02,2018, 7;57 PM),

https://www.scoopwhoop.com/animal-protection-laws-in-india/

[5] Karnal Singh and Ors. v. State of Haryana, (2019) CRR-533-2013.

[6] Narayan Dutt Bhatt v. Union of India & Ors., (2018) SCC OnLine utt 645.

[7] Josie F. Turner, Sacred Animals in Hinduism , ANIMAL WISED,( Oct. 27,2016).

https://www.animalwised.com/sacred-animals-in-hinduism-601.html#:~:text=Hindu%20mythology%20says%20that%20Shiva,called%20Vasuki%20around%20his%20neck.&text=Because%20snakes%20renew%20their%20skin,body%20and%20forms%20Vishnu's%20bed.

[8] PETA INDIA, https://fo-fo.facebook.com/PETAIndia/videos/283879713085854/ ( last visited Mar. 25,2021).