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Animal Protection Laws under IPC and Constitution

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."- Mahatma Gandhi

Whether it's the man who kills the neighbour's cat, the hoarder of sick and dying animals, or the family whose cold and starved dog is tied up outside in the midst of the winter, animal cruelty incidents make headlines around the world every day. Simple Neglect, Gross Neglect, Intentional Abuse, Animal Hoarding, Organized Abuse, Ritualistic Abuse, or Animal Sexual Assault are a few of the several types of animal cruelty.

Cruelty to animals cannot be neglected because it has been demonstrated to have serious consequences, ranging from the fact that it is linked to other crimes to the fact that these practices cause immense anguish to animals who have no one to speak for them. Combating the threat of animal cruelty is a journey that must be undertaken, and everyone, including the government, NGOs, and even culture, has a significant role to play. The Animal Protection Laws under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Indian Constitution are examined in this review.

Animal Cruelty is defined as the practice of treating animals with cruel, violent, unethical, and depraved conduct, especially on a regular or recurrent basis. Animal Cruelty is defined as subjecting animals to an environment in which they are afraid, vulnerable, and terrorized. People believe that they have a right to animals' lives and that they can treat them however they want. Countless creatures are subjected to inhumanity, cruelty, and brutality daily. Because animals are sentient beings capable of feeling love and devotion, it is everyone's responsibility to look after their health and nutrition.

Animal Cruelty cases are on the rise, and the reasons for these killings remain a mystery. People slaughter and mutilate animals for personal pleasure or amusement. Animal Cruelty is all too common in India. Even though animals have been revered and worshipped in India since the beginning of time, the fact that innocent animals are subjected to brutality reflects the pathetic state of our society, which is not only devoid of compassion but also the beginning of an era in which humanity is on the verge of extinction.

According to a report released by the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations (FIAPO) and All Creatures Great and Small (ACGS), 4,93,910 animals were cruelly abused and became victims of human crime. This information pertains to crimes that occurred between 2010 and 2020. However, only documented cases were included in the collection, there are a plethora of unreported cases that were never even discovered.

The FIAPO delivered the paper In Their Own Right - Calling for Parity in Law for Animal Victims of Crime, which provided unprecedented documentation of human brutality and cruelty towards innocent animals.

Rape, murder, stone pelting, kicking, attacking with sticks, poisoning, putting them in a plastic bag, and smothering them to death are all crimes committed against animals. These are a gruesome set of acts that animals are subjected to daily at the hands of humans. This highlights the fact that, despite the existence of laws, their faulty execution has diluted their deterrent effects, and that something must be done as soon as possible to protect individuals who are unable to stand up for themselves. That does not, however, diminish the fact that our country has a plethora of animal-rights legislation.

In particular, the Constitution of India, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (PCA Act), the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughterhouse) Rules, 2001, and others, to name a few, have done little to protect the animals. Furthermore, the Animal Welfare Board of India was founded under Section 4 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 with the primary aim of establishing and regulating animal laws in India, proposing time-to-time modifications in animal laws, and protecting animals from any form of cruelty.

Atrocities against Animals:
According to the FIAPO's assessment, all of the crimes perpetrated against the animals were cruel and intentional acts of violence that resulted in the animal's death or irreversible harm. A dog was raped with a screwdriver in Goa, a street dog was not only beaten but also attached to a bike and then thrown off the second floor of a building in Ludhiana, and nursing students poisoned sixteen puppies in Kolkata, according to the FIAPO. Furthermore, the performance of such horrific deeds against innocent creatures continues unabated.

The report goes on to detail over 1000 cases of assault, including 82 cases of sexual abuse, 266 cases of cold-blooded murders, and over 400 cases of indiscriminate attacks such as throwing acid or boiling water, beating, torturing, kicking, lacerating their body parts, assaulting them with a knife or sharp glass, poisoning them, and gluing them with firecrackers and then bursting such crackers, and burning the animals, alive.

This points to a variety of methods for killing animals, including burying them alive, beating them to death, injecting them with chemical doses, strangulating them with ropes and barbed wires, suffocating, stoning, and leaving them to die with their limbs and mouth tied.

It should be noted that the report makes a frightening disclosure, stating that it has recorded 20 occurrences of abuse by children, with 2019 being the year with the largest number of animal atrocities. According to their information, large culling drives were carried out across the country, resulting in the deaths of around 4230 dogs.

According to the report's findings, street animals, particularly stray dogs, make up a significant portion of the target of animal maltreatment and mass culling. It is worth noting that these are only a few of the cases that have been recorded or identified, nevertheless, the real situation is far beyond the data available, as most cases go unreported.

The National Crime Records Bureau, which compiles an annual report on crimes committed in India and also provides state and district-level data on murders, thefts, assaults, sexual abuse and harassment of women and children, and violent crimes, does not collect any information on animal cruelty crimes.

It is worth noting that, according to Hindu mythology, animals like cows, elephants, tigers, lions, bulls, snakes, and monkeys are worshiped alongside deities, nonetheless, animals are treated inhumanely, highlighting the fact that the law has failed to protect these animals' lives.

Types of Animal Abuse:
  • Sexual Abuse (Bestiality):
    Intercourse between a human and a non-human is referred to as bestiality (animal). It generally refers to a human having sexual relations with an animal in a demeaning manner. Animal rage instances are frequently in the news these days, and they are typically horrific and distressing. It is no longer an uncommon occurrence. A pregnant goat was gang-raped by eight males in Haryana, in July 2018. In the same month, a 35-year-old man was arrested in Kolkata for reportedly having sex with a female dog. A similar event occurred in Vadodara, where a single man working as a worker raped three pregnant cows.

    Such occurrences demonstrate that human beings have lost any sense of decency and humanity. Animals do not have the same rights as humans, according to the majority of people. Their lives are seen as unimportant. People must realize that animals do not have the ability to communicate, making them more vulnerable to injustice and brutality. 60% of women who have been victims of domestic violence say their husbands have a history of killing or hurting animals. People who perpetrate acts of cruelty on animals move on to humans as their next target, according to criminology and psychology research.
  • Physical Domestic Abuse
    This is a form of animal abuse in which the brutality against the animals is completely deliberate. The goal is to inflict serious harm, excruciating agony, and emotional distress on the animal. Physical aggression produces an environment in which animals feel oppressed, intimidated, and terrified. Some people are unable to love and care for animals in the same way that they love and care for people. Domestic violence can take numerous forms, including beatings, stabbings, kicks, starvation, neglect, and burning.

    If a man can beat, hit, or damage his own wife, there's a good chance he'll do the same to his own pet. In 2016, one of the most devastating events of this kind occurred. A 5-month-old dog was thrown off the roof of a medical student's terrace by the student himself in Chennai, India. The dog survived, but it had numerous severe and internal injuries.
  • Organised Animal Abuse
    Animal fighting, such as dog fighting, bullfighting, and cockfighting, is a form of organized animal maltreatment that is primarily done for entertainment purposes. It's a staged fight in which animals are trained to attack each other in a violent and aggressive manner. In the end, animals either perish or suffer greatly.

    Because such bouts are usually held underground, they are well hidden from the authorities' gaze. The identification of such fights is a challenging task due to their nature of secrecy. Animal fighting is prohibited in many countries because it often involves gambling, money laundering, and drug trafficking.
  • Laboratory Testing and Product Experimentation
    As difficult as it may be to believe, everything we wear, use, or carry is first tested on animals.

    Humans and animals are not the same things. Their bodies react to certain goods in drastically different ways, which can be exceedingly damaging and uncomfortable. Thousands of animals are exposed to merciless product testing every year, with deadly medications and chemicals sprayed down their throats, rubbed into their skin, and even dropped into their eyes.

    They are in a lot of pain, misery, discomfort, and suffering as a result of this. Animals are housed in cramped cages that are gloomy and confined, and they are subjected to mental and physical pain. As a result, a large number of animals perish screaming in agony. Even though animal testing is not required for products that do not require it, beauty and cosmetic corporations prefer to do it in order to uncover any residual faults, adverse effects, or chemical reactions. Animal testing is banned for the sale of any cosmetic or beauty product in Europe, Israel, and India.
  • Simple Neglect and Animal Hoarding
    Animal hoarding is defined as having an abnormally large number of pets. Animal hoarders are animal enthusiasts who find it difficult to let go of their pets. It is more of a mental illness that leads to people harming their animals. This occurs because the pet owner finds it boring and difficult to care for so many pets at once, so they leave them unattended and neglected for some time.

    It includes things like malnutrition, thirst, illness, infections, poor veterinary treatment, long-term chaining in extreme temperatures, and so on. As a result, animal abuse includes a lack of sufficient nourishment and welfare for the animals.
Brief Analysis of Animal Abuse in India:
  1. In Mumbai, 19,028 incidences of animal cruelty were registered over five years (2011-2016). Despite this, not a single arrest has been made
  2. In August 2017, a man was arrested and charged with murdering a small female puppy.
  3. In January 2018, a man in Vadodara allegedly raped three cows. A complaint was filed under section 295A of the Indian Penal Code, which describes deliberate and malicious acts committed with the aim to offend the religious sentiments of any religious group.
  4. On May 18th, 2018, almost 100 dead dogs were discovered in a woodland region in Kongara, Hyderabad.
  5. On July 29th, 2018, a pregnant goat was gang-raped by eight males in Gurgaon, Haryana, and was later pronounced dead.

Laws Implemented for Animal Abuse:
  • In the Indian Penal Code, 1860
    Sections 428 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code provide that anybody who causes harm, injury, death, poisoning, or maiming to animals or cattle with the intent of harming, injuring, killing, poisoning, or maiming them will be punished by a fine or imprisonment of up to 5 years or both. Sexual intercourse between a man and an animal is a cognizable and non-bailable offense, according to Section 377.

    It's what is known as an atypical or unnatural offense. Whoever engages in sexual intercourse with any man, woman, or animal in violation of the natural order will face a life sentence or a sentence of up to ten years in jail, as well as a fine
  • In the Constitution of India, 1949
    Agriculture and animal husbandry are discussed in Article 48. It gives the government recommendations for organizing agriculture and animal husbandry using new modern and scientific approaches rather than the old traditional ones. It outlaws the practice of animal butchering and outlaws the slaughter of cows, calves, milch, and draught cattle entirely. Article 48A deals with environmental and wildlife conservation.

    It instructs the government to maintain and improve the environment, as well as safeguard and preserve the country's forests and animals. The 11 fundamental duties established to the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 are outlined in Article 51A. Article 51A(g) states that it is every citizen's highest obligation to safeguard and preserve the natural environment, which includes wildlife, forests, lakes, and rivers, among other things. It also stipulates that citizens must harbour feelings of compassion and affection for animals.

    Although the above-mentioned Constitutional provisions are not immediately enforceable in a court of law, they can be interpreted by bringing them within the scope of Article 21 of the Constitution, which is a fundamental right with judicial enforcement. But regardless of the Constitution's duties and mandates, India's animals suffer at the hands of people in a cruel and inhumane manner.

Supreme Court on Animal Rights:
In 1954, the Supreme Court held that animal sacrifices for religious purposes are important to exercise one's religion and thus are protected by Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, and went on to elucidate on this in its judgment viz. Ratilal Panachand Gandhi and Others v. State of Bombay and Others and held that:
A religion is not merely an opinion, doctrine, or belief. It has its outward expression in acts as well � Religious practices or performances of acts, in pursuance of religious belief are as much a part of religion as faith or belief in particular doctrines.

However, in Sardar Syedna Taher Saifuddin Sahib v. State of Bombay, the SC observed that: �there may be religious practices of sacrifice of human beings, or sacrifice of animals in a way deleterious to the well-being of the community at large. It is open to the State to intervene, by legislation, to restrict or to regulate to the extent of completely stopping such deleterious practices.

Then, in 2014, the Supreme Court in the matter of Animal Welfare Board of India v. Nagraja and Others handed down a major decision on animal abuse and held Jalikattu as cruelty to Bulls and banned the same. The Supreme Court of India ruled that animals, like humans, have the right to live with honour and dignity.

Animals have recently been declared legal people by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. This is a positive development in Indian law. In his order, Justice Rajiv Sharma observed while delivering the judgment:
All the animals have honour and dignity. Every species[s] has an inherent right to live and is required to be protected by law. The rights and privacy of animals are to be respected and protected from unlawful attacks.

Significantly, the Court has concluded that the ambit of Article 21 of the Constitution, which enshrines the Right to Life, includes animals as well in the following words, Article 21 of the Constitution, while safeguarding the rights of humans, protects life and the word life has been given an expanded definition and any disturbance from the basic environment which includes all forms of life, including animal life, which are necessary for human life, fall within the meaning of Article 21 of the Constitution.

Although India has enacted a number of very detailed and explicit animal protection regulations, they are frequently not fully executed. This is because many concerned citizens and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) do not place a high priority on following the legal path to achieve their goals. At the same time, it is critical to recognize that India's current legislation is insufficiently powerful and sensible to effect significant change.

Section 11 of the PCAA's general anti-cruelty provisions can be made far more effective by increasing the punishment and fine to some amount. Animals of all kinds, including street animals, wild animals, and animals living in a variety of habitats, can be safeguarded and preserved if the rules are made more stringent and all-encompassing.

Given the current situation, it is critical to remember that stringent rules alone will not suffice to protect animals from cruelty, instead, steps should be taken to instil values in youngsters such as kindness, morality, compassion, empathy, and respect for animals.

In the case of Geeta Seshamani v. Union of India, the Indian Supreme Court ruled that each state establish a State Animal Welfare Board. States should follow the directive and take action to preserve the lives of innocent animals while punishing those who break it.

Every citizen should recognize that Animals, too, have a Right to Life, and we should all work together with the federal and state governments to make animal lives cruelty-free and to make the world a better place for them.

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Shyam Gaur
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