Author: Anamika, Student at IFIM Law School, Bangalore
From harmony to supremacy, there has been a shift in attitude toward nature. Animals are extremely important in people’s life. Animal rights are being protected and granted in various ways around the world. Though India’s legal structure is extensive, it grants animals a variety of rights. Despite this, the man-animal conflict has been on the rise in India. This disagreement is caused by some variables. Simultaneously, several occurrences involving animal rights – both positive and harmful – have occurred. On the other side, courts have been known to take a liberal stance when it comes to animal rights abuses. In India, inefficient enforcement of law regulations leads to a variety of animal abuses. Animals in the wild, domesticated animals, and abandoned animals all experience extreme brutality and insensitivity from humans. Animal rights breaches include the decline in the number of endangered animal species, the ability to declare and kill animals as “vermin’s,” the liberal stance of courts in certain circumstances (non-interference), and inadequate provisions to save animals during natural disasters, to name a few examples. On the plus side, new legislation is being introduced, animal rights advocates are launching campaigns, and policy improvements are in the works. The current study advocates for animals, including all types of animals and their rights. This necessitates further discussion and reformulation of the subject’s weak punitive laws. People, too, play a critical role in understanding the importance of ecology and all living things. Animals must be allowed to exercise their basic rights.
Keywords: Animal rights, India’s Constitution, Animal Welfare Board of India.
With four of the world’s 36 biodiversity hotspots, India, the world’s seventh-largest country, is one of the world’s most bio-diverse regions. There are animal welfare regulations in India, including the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, at the federal level, the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, as well as state-level bovine protection.
The official criminal code of India is the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860, which covers all areas of criminal law. All acts of cruelty, such as murdering, poisoning, maiming, or rendering animals useless, are punishable under sections 428 and 429 of the IPC. The aforementioned laws were enacted to protect animals from unnecessary pain and suffering, and similar laws are still being enacted in response to changing conditions. In addition to specific regulations, generic ideas such as tort law, constitutional law, and so on provide further protections for animals.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHEN YOU SAY YOU HAVE RIGHTS?
We come across the term “rights” frequently in our daily lives. The concept of rights is fluid, and its meaning shifts depending on how it is applied. If we endeavor to grasp the concept of rights in a wide sense, we will find that ‘right’ refers to something that is just, ethically correct, or morally sound. In a political context, “rights” refers to the opposing Disputes between the government and individuals that limit the state’s force and are secured by statute. This raises the issue of how legal rights are construed. A ‘right’ is a legal term that refers to a moral or legal interest that is safeguarded. The right will vanish without the protection of legislation; therefore the right is nothing more than a legally protected interest.
There is no denying that people have certain rights, but the subject of whether or not animals have rights has been debated for quite some time. Before we go into animal rights, it is vital to know what animals are. The solution to this topic can be found in India’s two main Central Animal Protection Laws.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960, for example, defines animals as “any living creature other than a human being” in Section 2(a).
ANIMAL CRUELTY AND INHUMANITY IN INDIA
“I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights,” Abraham Lincoln correctly stated. That is how a complete human being lives.” However, in India, many people do not share these sentiments. Animal cruelty and inhumanity are on the rise, but what is being done to combat them? There are various laws in India designed to protect animals and prevent cruelty, but few people are aware of what they are or how they work.
In India, it’s normal to witness brutally castrated bulls dragging carts full of massive weights while being lashed repeatedly if they stop. People are slowly losing their ethos and morals, not only towards each other but also towards these helpless animals, in this world of industrialization and development.
The Central government has passed numerous laws to combat animal cruelty, the most notable of which being the “Prevention of Cruelty Animals Act, 1960.”
Aside from that, there is the “Wildlife Protection Act, 1972,” which was intended to safeguard animal and plant species.
IN SUCH A CASE, WHAT CHOICES DOES THE GOVERNMENT HAVE?
It is unquestionably the government’s responsibility to enact effective laws, update them regularly, and guarantee that they are publicly publicized and followed by the public. The government should keep a close eye on how the public respond to statutes and what may be used for animal and human rights to create stability.
Several programs have been implemented, the findings point to modest progress in animal conservation in the country, even though the outcomes are not particularly impressive. The government’s influence and visibility are often limited in remote areas, where the bulk of these confrontations occur. Furthermore, landowners of whom a cultivated plant or bovine are routinely onslaught by these creatures need only minimal steps to inform the command about such events, preferring to cope up directly with the animals. Several images have surfaced on social media showing mobs of locals bashing animals as jungle officials keep an eye out as bystanders. It would have been preferable if the government had functioned harder previously to instill in the public a sense of respect for these authorities as well as animal rights.
LAWS WHICH PROTECTS ANIMAL, AND THE WAY TO UTILIZE THEM
Murdering, poisoning, maiming, or rendering useless any animal or animals worth ten rupees or more is subject to a judicial punishment by up to two years in prison, a fine, or both, according to Section 428 of the Indian Penal Code.
According to Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code, murdering, poisoning, injuring, or rendering useless some animal or animals worth fifty rupees or more (which automatically includes all cattle/beasts of burden) carries a sentence of simple or rigorous imprisonment for up to five years, a fine, or both.
THE WILDLIFE PROTECTION ACT (1972)
Section 39 makes it illegal to harm any wild animal or tree.
Amphibians, birds, reptiles, and mammals, as well as their offspring, are considered “animals.” Those categorized as “vermin” as described in Section V are the exceptions. Non-human animals that are deemed pests vary by state.
A person found guilty of an offense under this Act faces a sentence of three years in jail, a fine of twenty-five thousand rupees, or both. A second offense will result in a seven-year prison sentence and a ten-thousand-rupee fine.
THE ANIMAL CRUELTY PREVENTION ACT OF 1960 –
The term “cruelty” is defined in Section 11 (a) through (d) (o). The following items are covered (but not limited to):
- cruelty to one’s pet
- inhumane killing
- inhumane transportation
- terrible living circumstances (even for animals destined for slaughter)
- ear docking
- tail docking
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 is India’s core animal cruelty statute. The Act’s goal is to avoid the imposition of undue agony or hurting on creatures, as well as to reform legislation relating to animal cruelty prevention. Anyone who is a living brute other than a human being is defined as an “animal” under the Act.
The Government of India formed the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) with some of the following tasks under Chapter II of the Act:
- Advising the central government on modifications and guidelines to minimize unnecessary pain in animals when they are transported, used in studies, or kept in captivity.
- Financial aid, rescue homes, and animal shelters for elderly animals are all encouraged.
- Advising the government on animal hospital medical treatment and regulations.
- Educating people about animal welfare and spreading awareness about it.
- Advising the federal government on animal welfare issues in general.
Any unlawful killing or behavior which causes physical or mental harm to an animal must be reported to the police station, and an F.I.R must be filed against the person who commits a damaging, illegal, or immoral act.
We can refer to The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act if the killing or cruelty is committed against an animal owned by the perpetrator.
If the animal is a wild species that the state does not consider “vermin,” or if the person is killing or harming an animal, classified as a vermin in an illegal/inhumane manner, consult the Wildlife Protection Act (1972) and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1972).
THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION AND THE ANIMAL LAW –
In an educated community like ours, it is everybody’s responsibility to behave with everyone with respect and compassion. This compassion and respect should not be restricted to mankind but must expand to how we behave with animals as well. It is not just our virtuous obligation to behave with animals with respect and humanity; however, it is also our legal obligation. As a result, it is our moral obligation to show compassion to all living species, including animals.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court defined humanity under Article 51(A) (g) as a sentiment or mushy affection that comes out of commiseration, fondness, and warmth in the State of Gujarat vs. Mirzapur Moti KureshiKassabJamat case.
Articles 48 and 48A  of the Indian Constitution, which deal with Directive Principles of Say Policy (DPSP) of Part IV, state that the territory considered as an organized political community under one government would attempt to control animal management and safeguard the country’s wildlife. As a result, the constitution not only declares that animals should be protected and cared for, but it also proclaims that they should be protected and cared for. Citizens’ responsibility, but it also encourages the government to work for their benefit. Even though none of these sections can be utilized in a court of law to challenge any act against animals, the court will take them into account when interpreting animal laws.
Supreme Court gave the meaning of the term “life” in the case Animal Welfare Board of India vs. A. Nagaraja under Article 21 and expanded the “right to dignity and fair treatment” to animals.
ANIMAL WELFARE BOARD OF INDIA
The Board ensures that animal welfare regulations are followed throughout the country, awards funds to animal welfare organizations, and provides recommendations to the Centre, States, and UTs on animal welfare matters. According to the Act, the Board of Directors comprises 28 representatives, including six representatives of Parliament (four from Lok Sabha and two from Rajya Sabha).
AWBI’s FUNCTIONS –
Section 9 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act outlines the AWBI’s responsibilities, which include, among other things, which are as following:
- Evaluate the current law in India for the action of stopping animal brutality regularly and advise the authority on any obligatory adjustments.
- To make recommendations to the Central authority on the formulation of regulations within this Act to protect animals from undue pain and suffering.
- To make recommendations to the authority, any local authority, or any other individual on vehicle design changes that will reduce the load on draught animals.
- To make recommendations to the government, any local government, or anyone else involved in the planning, preservation, or killing of creatures, so that needless suffering or agony, either physical or relating to the mind, is minimized as much as possible during the pre-slaughter stages, and animals are killed as humanely as possible.
- To take all necessary actions, as determined by the Board, to guarantee that undesired creatures are eliminated by local government, either immediately or after being made unconscious to agony or suffering.
- To provide education about showing compassion therapy of creatures and to foster general belief formation in opposition to the action of inflicting needless agony or suffering on animals, as well as to promote animal welfare through a long serious speech, pamphlet, posters, and film exhibitions, and other means.
- To provide advice to the authority on any issue relating to animal well-being or the avoidance of needless agony or pain in animals.
Because this is a massive-impact problem, no one-size-fits-all solution can fill the holes in all dimensions. As a result, we’ll talk about the options in terms of what actions may be taken right now and what may be improved in the long run to provide a long-term answer. Raising fines and penalties can appear to be a redoubtable choice. But, in the long run, this would not achieve the purpose, and the efficiency of compelling observance of these laws would remain a concern. The answer to this challenge necessitates an equal combination of short- and long-term remedies to ensure the future without jeopardizing the current situation. These measures can comprise the following:
- Crop Recompense rather than Cash Compensation must be the manner of compensation for individuals damaged or wronged by animals, as the fundamental requirement of such groups is for their cereals due to their being primitive or conveying primitive trade.
- The second thing that may be beneficial is to separate human and animal spaces around forests, and all of this should be strictly managed.
- Many secured zones corridors must be attached so that animals may roam openly and their population does not become extinct.
Millions of cats, dogs, and other animals are being tested under the present COVID-19 scenario, in which every country is undergoing research to discover a vaccine to end the epidemic. The deplorable living conditions in which the animals were compelled to exist are deplorable. Almost all of them will be killed after enduring a great deal of pain and agony. The Drugs and Cosmetics Rules (Second Amendment) 2014 makes animal testing for cosmetic things is unlawful in India. In today’s environment, however, this issue demands more attention, and it’s fair to say that neither legislation nor the judiciary has made significant contributions in this respect. India’s current legislation needs to be updated by enacting more stringent legislation.
In 1976, the Indian Constitution was amended to include the 42nd Amendment, which laid the framework for animal protection in India.
However, India still has a long way to go in terms of actually establishing a firm foundation for animal legislation. Animal protection sections in the Indian Constitution are more ideals than tangible laws that may be enforced in courts. The punishments for brutality to animals within the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 are just insufficient to prevent crimes against animals. The law is not strictly enforced, and it provides many provisions that allow for liability to be avoided. To provide India with a stronger animal protection law, extensive modifications are required.
State of Gujarat vs. Mirzapur Moti KureshiKassabJamat, (2005) 8 SCC 534
 Animal Welfare Board of India vs. A. Nagaraja & Ors, (2014) 7 SCC 547