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A Critical Analysis On Animal Welfare In India

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them-Dalai Lama

Animal welfare denotes to the quality of life that experienced by animals and how well they are coping with their conditions and surroundings. It refers to the relationship between man and wild. From time immemorial humans are known for the domesticating animals. In India animals are not only use for the purpose of husbandry or agriculture but we also worship them as god and goddess. The constitution of India and various other legislations provides for the welfare of the animals.

Apart from that, the supreme court of India at various occasions upheld the rights of animals. Inspite of having so much to protect and preserve the rights of animals, animal cruelty is prevalent in India. Many incidents of animal cruelty occur every day but in most cases they are not reported. To reduce the cases of animal cruelty and for the reason of creating social awareness, the researcher had conducted a social outreach survey. Strict legislation, active participation of all individuals and social awareness can only reduce this scenario. Be the voice for the voiceless.

Introduction
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated. - Mahatma Gandhi (Father of the Nation)

Animal welfare denotes to the quality of life that experienced by animals and how well they are coping with their conditions and surroundings. Usually, many of us use the terms animal welfare and animal rights interchangeably as they represent the same concern and practices. But the differences between the two are significant.[1]

Animal welfare refers to the relationship between the human and animal. It also prescribes certain duties for human towards animals. Animal welfare is not a new phenomenon; it existed since the period of domestication, which is nearly about at least 10,000 years ago during the Neolithic times. The relationship between human and animal led to their domestication, animal agriculture and animal husbandry.[2] Many historians believed that, the development of animal agriculture is one of the most important discoveries in human history.

Animal welfare includes all aspects of animal wellbeing. More prominently it seeks to address five major freedoms for proper animal welfare.[3]

The five freedoms are:
  • Nutrition: freedom from thirst and hunger
  • Environment: freedom from discomfort by providing appropriate shelter
  • Health: freedom from injury and disease by providing proper treatment
  • Behavior: freedom to express their own kind by providing proper facilities
  • Mental state: freedom from fear and mental suffering.
Every animal is entitled to have a good and healthy life where they can enjoy the benefits for their wellbeing.

The Supreme Court of India, in Centre for Environmental Law, WWF v. Union of India[4], observed that, for a better and sustainable future, we should consider the concept of Ecocentrism and not Anthropocentrism. Ecocentrism considered the intrinsic values of both humans and non-humans and foster the idea that both of them are part and parcel of the same eco-system.[5]
Inspite of having these principles and practices, yet animal brutality and exploitation is prevalent across the country.

From, illegal wildlife trading to slaughtering of animals for religious purposes and indulging them to harmful sports for the entertainment purposes of human being portrays a large scale of animal cruelty by humans. Human species is considered to be the superior in the circle of food chain due to their intelligence. But many researches significantly show that, few animals too possess emotions and intelligence.

In India, animal cruelty is an emerging issue and various legislations and judicial pronouncements were made to eradicate the same by providing animal welfare laws.

Researcher has prepared this project with an empirical experience aimed at analyzing the existing laws for animal welfare in India.

Animal Protection Laws In India

Constitutional Provisions:
Under the Constitution of India, various Articles were made to protect and preserve the rights of animals in India.
  • Part IV of the constitution states The Directive Principles of State Policy , under which Article 48 states, organization of agriculture and animal husbandry, which empowers the state to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall also preserve the breeds and prohibit the slaughtering of cows and calves and other milch and draught animals.[6]
     
  • Article 48A declares, Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forest and wild life, and states that the state shall make effort in protecting and safeguarding the environment the forest and the wild life. [7]
     
  • Part IVA of the Constitution declares Fundamental Duties of every citizen of India, which imposes a duty on the citizens under Article 51A (g) to protect and improve the natural environment. [8]
     
  • The Constitution of India also imposes a power on the parliament and the legislatures of states under Article 246 read with Seventh Schedule of the Constitution to make laws for the prevention of cruelty to animals and for the protection of wild animals and birds.[9]
     
  • Under Article 243G read with Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution empowers the Panchayet to make laws on Animal husbandry, dairying and poultry.[10]
  • Article 243W read with Twelfth Schedule of the Constitution, makes provisions for the Municipalities to make laws for cattle pounds and for the prevention of cruelty to animals.[11]

Indian Penal Code, 1860[12]:

  • Section 428 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, provides punishment for committing mischief by killing or maiming any animal of the value of 10 rupees with imprisonment for two years or with fine or with both.
     
  • Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, deals with the punishment for killing or maiming any described animal of any value or of the value of 50 rupees or upwards with the imprisonment of five years or with fine or with both.

Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals Act, 1960[13]:

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 was enacted to prevent the infliction of unnecessary harm and cruelty to animals. It is an animal specific legislation.

It also makes provisions for prohibiting and preventing any person from engaging any animal to any kind of fighting or shooting competition. The Act makes it obligatory for the owner of an animal to provide sufficient food, shelter and care to them.

The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972[14]:

The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, was enacted with the objective to protect and preserve the wildlife animals and prevent the illegal trade and smuggling of wildlife animals. It also provides protection to the endangered species of the planet.

Convention
Convention on Migrating Species (CMS) is an environmental treaty of the United Nations that provides a platform for the protection and conservation of migrating animals and their habitats. India is a party to this treaty and is going to organize the 13th CMS conference in India.[15]

Judicial Pronouncements
Apart from various legislations and treaties, our judiciary also plays an active role in the protection and preservation of animal rights and welfare in India.

The judicial activism on animal protection is as below:
  • Animal Welfare Board of India vs. Nagaraja & Ors.[16]
    In this case the Honorable Supreme Court of India ruled in favour of Animal welfare Board (AWBI) and imposes a ban of Jallikattu. It also held that Article 51A(g) of the constitution of India is the Magna Carta of animal rights in India, and also extends the right to life under Article 21 of the constitution, to every living being including animals.
     
  • Abdul Hakim Qureshi vs. State of Bihar[17]:
    The Honorable Supreme Court held that a complete ban on cow did not infringe any religious freedom of Muslims. Article 48 of the constitution only applies to cows, calves and other animals which have the potential of yielding milk or have the capacity to work as drought and not all cows or cattle.
     
  • People For Ethical Treatment of Animals Vs. Union of India[18]:
    The Bombay High Court stated that any film wishing to use an animal needs to obtain a No objection certificate (NOC) from the Animal Welfare Board of India.
     
  • N.R Nair and Ors vs. Union of India[19]:
    The court held that, legal rights under the constitution is not limited to humans only, it extends to animals also.
     
  • Gauri Maulekhi vs. State of Uttarkhand and Ors.[20]:
    The court held that, unnecessary pain and suffering cannot be inflicted on an animal even for the purpose of consumption. It violates the provisions of section 11(3) (e) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
     
  • Karnail Singh and others vs. State of Haryana[21]:
    The Punjab and Haryana High Court recognized all animals as legal entities and also declared that the citizens of Haryana as persons in Loco Parentis (in place of a parent). The court also state that, legal personhood is not limited to human beings.

Government Initiatives
As per a report by PETA (People for the ethical treatment of animals), more than 100 million animals suffer and die every year due to the chemical, drug, food, cosmetics and medical experiments.[22]

Lately, but fortunately, the issue of animal cruelty has gained a worldwide attention and has been taken seriously by the Government of India. The government has taken some strong initiatives to make the country a Cruelty-free zone.

The government has taken the following initiatives:
  • Ban On Captive Dolphin Shows:
    In May 2013, the Ministry of Environment & Forest, Government of India, prohibits the capture and use of Dolphins for entertainment purposes in the country. It also issued a policy and directed the state governments to deny the permission to any Dolphinarium. [23]
     
  • Ban On Imports Of Animal Tested Cosmetics:
    In Nov, 2014, India became the first South Asian Nation to impose ban on imports of animal tested cosmetics in India. By this bold step India has become the first cruelty-free zone in South Asia.[24]
     
  • Jet Airways Commits To Protecting Shark Population And Marine Eco-System:
    After taking the appeal of Humane society International/ India into consideration, Jet Airways banned the shipment of shark fins on its carriers to protect the worldwide declining population of sharks.[25]

The Indian airline company Jet Airways creates a milestone for the rest of the world.
  • Government Orders To Prevent The Illegal Movement Of Animals To Nepal:
    On November 4, 2014, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India ordered the Paramilitary Sashatra Seema Bal to prevent the illegal movement of animals to Nepal and prohibit the cattle transport without license.[26]

    This act works as a reaction against the Gadhimai Festival in Nepal, where Lakhs of animals were sacrificed and 70% of those animals were illegally imported from India.

    The Ministry of Home Affairs took some serious measures in this regard to prevent such smuggling and illegal activities.
     
  • Punjab And Haryana High Court Issued Notice Against The Confinement Of Egg Laying Hens In Battery Cages:
    In March 2014, the High court issued notice against the confinement of egg laying hens in the battery cages upon a petition filed by the federation of Indian animal protection organization. The cages are smaller than an A4 size paper.[27]

    Such kind of cruelty is violative to the provisions of section 11 (1) (e) of the prevention of cruelty to animals act and also barbaric in nature.

    With these initiatives, the Government of India has attempted to create a cruelty free atmosphere for the animals in India.

Wildlife Conservation Initiatives By Government Of India

In India the wildlife animals are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Wildlife conservation projects were initiated to protect and preserve the declining status of various extinct animals.

To protect and conserve the wildlife, to protect the biodiversity, to protect the ecological stability and to maintain the ecosystem the Government of India has invested in various conservation projects. Some of them are as follows:
  • Project Tiger:

    In 1972 the Government of India has initiated the wildlife conservation project called project tiger. It has not only contributed to the conservation of tigers but also contributed to the entire ecosystem. This project is sponsored by the ministry of environment forest and climate change.

    There are about 48 tiger reserve situated in more than 17 region and they are engaged in the assessment of the numbers of the tigers and their habitat and other activities. For the proper functioning of the project the national board for wildlife recommended setting up a task force named as tiger task force to look after the matter across the country.[28]

    From 268 in 9 reserves in 1972 to 2000+ tigers in 2016 speak about the success of the project.
     
  • Project Elephant:

    In 1992 the Government of India initiated a project called project elephant to conserve the elephants and their habitats and their development in various ways. It also considers the matters relating to human and elephant conflicts and also strengthens and protects the elephants from unnatural death.[29]
     
  • Crocodile Conservation Project:

    Crocodile conservation project is another successful venture by the government of India to conserve the Indian crocodiles. Crocodile are now almost an extinct species. The objective of the project is to improve the population of crocodiles by breeding, by establishing sanctuaries and to improve their management.[30]
    The crocodile conservation project helps us to restocked 4000 alligators, 1800 crocodiles and 1500 saltwater crocodiles.
     
  • Undp Sea Turtle Project:

    In November 1999, the wildlife institute Of India, Dehradun has initiated a project called UNDP Sea Turtle Project for the conservation of Olive Ridley Turtles.[31]

    The project is for 10 coastal states in India especially in Orissa where they worked for the breeding of sea turtles and their habitats and prevent their lives from unnatural deaths.
    Apart from these projects the Government of India has also been initiated projects like Indian Rhino Vision 2020, Project Hangul 1970, Project Snow Leopard 2019, and so on
     
  • Instances Of Animal Cruelty In India

    From time immemorial animals and not only considered as an integral part of our society but also are worshipped as our God and goddess.

    Inspite of having so many legislations, conventions, treaties, judicial pronouncements, government initiatives and projects, we have somehow failed to protect the voiceless.
    Many incidents of animal cruelty occur every day but in most cases they are not reported

Some of the instances of the barbaric treatment of cruelty towards animals are given below:
 
  • Killing Of A Pregnant Elephant In Kerala:
    In April 2020, a 1o year old female elephant in at Pathanapuram in Kollam district in Kerala was killed by the villagers. They had stuffed firecrackers or explosives in a pineapple and left it to protect their field from wild animals. But unfortunately the elephant fell into their trap and died.[32]
     
  • A Female Street Dog Was Raped By A Man In Kolkata:
    In July 2018, 35 years old man from Kolkata was arrested for allegedly having unnatural offence with the dog. The accused lured the dog into his house and tied its mouth with rope and committed rape.[33]
     
  • Man Had Unnatural Sex With Cows In Vadodara:
    In January 2018 a man in Vadodara worked as a labour at a cowshed allegedly indulge in the offence of unnatural sex with three cows. Later in the morning the owner of the cows found that the legs of the cows were tied with the rope and one of them was lying dead.[34]
     
  • 11 Monkeys Were Brutally Killed And Dumped In Rajasthan:
    In January 2018, 11 monkeys where found killed near the highway in Rajasthan. According to the forest officials they were beaten with stick and then splashed with acid like chemical.[35]
     
  • Medical Student Threw A Dog Off The Terrace In Chennai:
    In July 2016, a student from Madha medical College in Chennai, threw a 5 month old dog from the rooftop and made a video of that incident and uploaded it on YouTube for fun.[36]

    The lists of such incidents are endless. To protect the animals and to create awareness amongst the individuals and to work for the betterment of the animals, the researcher had conducted a social survey to analyze the current situation regarding the cruelty to animals and to improve the Social awareness and to identify the loopholes in the existing animal legislation in India.

Conclusion
The Animal legislations in India were enacted decades ago and is not suitable according to the present socio- economic conditions of the society. The Animal rights activists and several NGOs have been fighting for the amendments of animal legislations in India but no effective action has been taken so far by the authorities.

Furthermore, it is our responsibility under the 51A (g) of the Constitution of India to protect and preserve animal rights. In the absence of effective measures, the rate of animal cruelty has increased significantly over the years. The courts have played a vital role in protecting the rights of animal by widening the scope of Article 21 of the constitution of India.

Using animals for the purposes of religious sacrifice or entertainment or for any other activities which amounts to cruelty to animals should be avoided and made punishable under the law. Every such activity should be strictly investigated by the Animal welfare board, Government, courts and NGOs. Animal lives are not at the mercy of humans and we must co-exist in peace[37].

Suggestions
To protect the rights and to prevent the cruelty to animals the following suggestions are provided by the researcher:
  • Social awareness among people about the rights and welfare of the animals.
  • Requirement of stringent laws to protect the animals and to punish the wrong doers.
  • Community development through various programs to promote animal rights and to reduce animal cruelty.
  • Parents should teach their children about love and care for animals.

References
  • By: Patti Strand, 06/10/2014, What is Animal Welfare and why is it important? available at: http://www.naiaonline.org/articles/article/what-is-animal-welfare-and-why-is-it-important#sthash.b5eOkX0S.dpbs
  • What Is Animal Welfare and Why Is It Important?, 05/07/2020, available at: https://www.worldanimalprotection.org.nz/news/animal-welfare-and-why-important#:~:text=animal%20welfare%20important%3F-,Animal%20welfare%20is%20important%20because%20there%20are%20so%20many%20animals,benefits%20of%20the%20Five%20Domains.
  • By Rushika Rabha, Jul 29, 2020, Animal Welfare Laws: A Critical Analysis, available at: https://www.lexsyndicate.com/post/animal-welfare-laws-a-critical-analysis
  • By Om Marathe, February 18, 2020, Explained: What is the Convention on Migratory Species and how does it matter to India?, available at: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/convention-of-migratory-species-india-6271330/#:~:text=India%20will%20host%20the%2013th,together%20we%20welcome%20them%20home%E2%80%9D. (last visited on: sept 20, 2020)
  • By Shreya Pareek, November25, 2014, 5 Laudable Initiatives By India To Stop Animal Cruelty That Will Make You Proud, available at: https://www.thebetterindia.com/16188/laudable-initiatives-india-stop-animal-cruelty/
  • Wildlife Conservation Initiatives by Indian Government, available at: https://www.ranthamborenationalpark.com/blog/wildlife-conservation-initiatives-indian-government/
  • kerala: Three arrested for killing of 10-year-old elephant in April, Jun 11, 2020, available at: https://scroll.in/latest/964452/kerala-three-arrested-for-killing-of-10-year-old-elephant-in-april
  • By Meenu Katariya, Jul 30, 2018, 15 Instances Of Animal Cruelty In India That Make Us Wonder If We're Even Human Anymore, available at: https://www.scoopwhoop.com/animal-cruelty-in-india/
  • Centre for Environmental Law, WWF v. Union of India (2013) 8 SCC 234
  • Animal Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagaraja, (2014) 7 SCC 547
  • Abdul Hakim Qureshi vs. State of Bihar (1961) AIR 448 (1961) SCR (2) 610
  • People for Ethical Treatment of Animals vs. Union of India Writ Petition (PIL) (Lodging) No. 2490 of 2004.
  • N.R Nair and Ors vs. Union of India. (2001) 6 SCC 84
  • Gauri Maulekhi vs. State of Uttarkhand and Ors. Writ Petition (PIL) No. 77 of 2010
  • Karnail Singh and others vs. State of Haryana. CRR-533-2013
  • The Constitution Of India,
  • Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Act No. 45 Of 1860)
  • Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals Act, 1960, (Act No. 59 Of 1960)
  • The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 (Act No. 53 Of 1972)
End-Notes:
  1. What Is Animal Welfare and Why Is It Important?, 05/07/2020, available at: https://www.worldanimalprotection.org.nz/news/animal-welfare-and-why-important#:~:text=animal%20welfare%20important%3F-,Animal%20welfare%20is%20important%20because%20there%20are%20so%20many%20animals,benefits%20of%20the%20Five%20Domains. (Last visited on: sept 20,2020)
  2. By: Patti Strand, 06/10/2014, What is Animal Welfare and why is it important? available at: http://www.naiaonline.org/articles/article/what-is-animal-welfare-and-why-is-it-important#sthash.b5eOkX0S.dpbs (Last visited on: sept 20, 2020)
  3. Id.
  4. Centre for Environmental Law, WWF v. Union of India (2013) 8 SCC 234
  5. By Rushika Rabha, Jul 29, 2020, Animal Welfare Laws: A Critical Analysis, available at: https://www.lexsyndicate.com/post/animal-welfare-laws-a-critical-analysis (Last visited on: sept 20, 2020)
  6. The Constitution Of India, art. 48
  7. The Constitution Of India, art. 48A
  8. Id., art. 51A(g)
  9. Id., art 246, Seventh schedule.
  10. Id., art. 243G , Eleventh Schedule
  11. Id., art. 243W , Twelfth Schedule
  12. Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Act No. 45 Of 1860)
  13. Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals Act, 1960, (Act No. 59 of 1960)
  14. The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 (Act No. 53 of 1972)
  15. By Om Marathe, February 18, 2020, Explained: What is the Convention on Migratory Species and how does it matter to India?, available at: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/convention-of-migratory-species-india-6271330/#:~:text=India%20will%20host%20the%2013th,together%20we%20welcome%20them%20home%E2%80%9D. (last visited on: sept 20, 2020)
  16. Animal Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagaraja, (2014) 7 SCC 547
  17. Abdul Hakim Qureshi vs. State of Bihar (1961) AIR 448 (1961) SCR (2) 610
  18. People for Ethical Treatment of Animals vs. Union of India Writ Petition (PIL) (Lodging) No. 2490 of 2004.
  19. N.R Nair and Ors vs. Union of India. (2001) 6 SCC 84
  20. Gauri Maulekhi vs. State of Uttarkhand and Ors. Writ Petition (PIL) No. 77 of 2010
  21. Karnail Singh and others vs. State of Haryana. CRR-533-2013
  22. By Shreya Pareek, November 25, 2014, 5 Laudable Initiatives By India To Stop Animal Cruelty That Will Make You Proud, available at: https://www.thebetterindia.com/16188/laudable-initiatives-india-stop-animal-cruelty/ (last visited on: sept 21, 2020)
  23. Id
  24. Id
  25. Id
  26. By Shreya Pareek, November 25, 2014, 5 Laudable Initiatives By India To Stop Animal Cruelty That Will Make You Proud, available at: https://www.thebetterindia.com/16188/laudable-initiatives-india-stop-animal-cruelty/ (last visited on: sept 21, 2020)
  27. Id
  28. Wildlife Conservation Initiatives by Indian Government, available at: https://www.ranthamborenationalpark.com/blog/wildlife-conservation-initiatives-indian-government/ (last visited on: sept 21, 2020
  29. Id
  30. Wildlife Conservation Initiatives by Indian Government, available at: https://www.ranthamborenationalpark.com/blog/wildlife-conservation-initiatives-indian-government/ (last visited on: sept 21, 2020)
  31. Id
  32. Kerala: Three arrested for killing of 10-year-old elephant in April, Jun 11, 2020, available at: https://scroll.in/latest/964452/kerala-three-arrested-for-killing-of-10-year-old-elephant-in-april (Last visited on: sept 21, 2020)
  33. By Meenu Katariya, Jul 30, 2018, 15 Instances Of Animal Cruelty In India That Make Us Wonder If We're Even Human Anymore, available at: https://www.scoopwhoop.com/animal-cruelty-in-india/ (last visited on: sept 21, 2020)
  34. Id.
  35. Id.
  36. By Meenu Katariya, Jul 30, 2018, 15 Instances Of Animal Cruelty In India That Make Us Wonder If We're Even Human Anymore, available at: https://www.scoopwhoop.com/animal-cruelty-in-india/ (last visited on: sept 21, 2020)
  37. By Rushika Rabha, Jul 29, 2020, Animal Welfare Laws: A Critical Analysis, available at: https://www.lexsyndicate.com/post/animal-welfare-laws-a-critical-analysis (Last visited on: sept 20, 2020)
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