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Are Animal Rights As Important As Human Rights?

YES! Animals feel the same way humans do, the only difference is humans have the privilege to express their emotions and feelings in the form of words whereas animals are unable to do so and suffer unspeakable cruelties. Humans are primary consumers of the food chain but animals are equally essential and we humans need to protect them and give them a voice, this is where the concept of animal rights comes into play.

Human beings have been provided a right to live with dignity under Article 21 of our constitution but do animals get the same right and if yes, are we safeguarding their rights and treating them as legal entities.

In the case of the Animal welfare board of India Vs. Nagaraja and ors.[1], it was held:
Animal also has honor and dignity from which they cannot be arbitrarily deprived of and its rights and privacy have to be respected and protected from unlawful attacks, In this case, the purview of right to dignity was expanded and was no more confined to human beings. But are we following the protocols by the apex court and treating them in accordance with the case?

Every day countless cases of Animal cruelty go unnoticed and are neglected by all those people who believe in the concept of Objectification of Animals

Animals Are Not Ours To Abuse:

Humans and animals experience the same kind of emotions, pain and suffering yet humans are always prioritized in the spectrum of life, and animals are treated as Non-Human species. Biologist Richard Dawkins has claimed non-human animals may be capable of experiencing more intense levels of pain than humans.[2]

Animals are abused and maltreated in many ways which are beyond our understanding and some of them are:

  • Bestiality:
    Bestiality is a sort of sexual offense wherein an animal is utilized as a vehicle for fulfilling sexual longing without building up any sort of emotional bonding. Bestiality is seen in some general public as a methodology to fix the explicitly communicated illness yet truly, it is a culpable offense according to the Indian judicial system. (Sec 377 IPC)
     
  • Slaughtering:
    The Regulation defines slaughtering as the killing of animals intended for human consumption which includes the following stages:
    1. Pre-slaughter or handling:
      Pre-slaughter rest is the period before slaughter when animals are refreshed to further develop the meat quality and diminish the odds of tainting with gastrointestinal microbes.
       
    2. Killing:
      Following are the methods of killing stage:

      • Exsanguination:
        The animal either has its throat cut or has a chest stick embedded cutting near the heart. In both these techniques, main veins, as well as courses, are sliced and permitted to drain.
      • Manual:
        Utilized on poultry and different creatures; various techniques are rehearsed, here are a few types:
        1. Snatching the bird by the head then, at that point, snapping its neck utilizing speedy and quick developments
        2. The bird is put upside down inside a metal channel, then, at that point, the head is either immediately cut or hit utilizing the back finish of a blade or blade.
        3. Dairy cattle, sheep and goats are tied then struck on numerous occasions in the head with a heavy hammer until the animal dies or losses consciousness. [3]
           
    3. Stunning:
      The stunning system guarantees the creature is oblivious and numb to torment prior to being drained out at slaughter. Standard stunning strategies incorporate electrical stunning, captive bolt stunning, or the utilization of carbon dioxide gas. Following stunning, the creature is drained and stays oblivious until it dies because of blood misfortune.[4]
       
  • Over-loading:
    Over-loading is a punishable offense. Section 11(1)(a) of the IPC Act includes Beating, Kicking, Over-riding, Over-driving, Over-loading, Torturing, causing unnecessary pain or suffering to any animals. [5]
     
  • Physical abuse:
    Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse, animal neglect, or animal cruelty, is the infliction by omission or by the commission of any act by humans which causes suffering or harm upon any non-human animal.
     
  • Animal Testing:
    Animal testing is used to determine the effectiveness of drugs, products, and medicines. These products and medicines are tried upon animals to confirm the effectiveness and side effects before allowing them to be used by humans. However, India is the first country in South Asia to ban animal testing. [6]
     
  • Animal Hoarding:
    Animal hoarding is defined as an inability to provide even minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter, and veterinary care. Often resulting in animal starvation, illness, and death.[7]
     
  • Caging and Exploitation:
    Of all the terrible contraptions used to control animals, the cage is one of the worst. Cages confine and restrict, they thwart many of an animal�s natural instincts, and they are a desolate reflection on our society.[8]

Are human beings better than animals?

Human beings have gotten off track and have normalized the toxic and inhuman behavior when it comes to animals in the name of the Holocaust. Over the last year, several instances of animal cruelty have been reported to the police.
  • In September, a man threw a stray dog into the Upper Lake of Madhya Pradesh while another person filmed the incident. The man could be seen chuckling while looking at the camera after he tossed the canine into the water body.
     
  • On August 19, 2020, another incident of animal brutality came to light from Kerala. In Malappuram, 5 men allegedly hunted a pregnant buffalo and killed it. Buffalo meat was also recovered from the house of one of the accused.
     
  • On May 27, 2020, a pregnant elephant entered the Palakkad town of Kerala looking for food. Notorious villagers allegedly fed a pineapple stuffed with crackers to the elephant. The crackers detonated in the mouth of the kind-sized and it passed away while remaining in the Velliyar stream.[9]

Elephants, Tigers, primates, and other animals are not professional actors or clowns to make humans laugh yet they are forced to stand on their heads, play with fire, risk their lives to entertain Human beings. Their trainers use tools like whips, tight collars, muzzles, bullhooks, electric prods, etc to make them perform these stunts.

The most dreadful part is that some even lose their lives while performing their tasks or out of fear. The only reason why we try to control their lives and consider it as a Circus play is because they don�t have a voice to raise or to speak for themselves which makes them a weaker section of the food chain and gives us an authority to treat them miserably and even play with their lives for the sake of enjoyment.

It is a known fact that human beings are superior to animals and can easily control them and make them do various tasks for their entertainment as animals can't take a stand for themselves. Naturally, animals and human beings can never be on an equal footing but every animal has a right to be treated with a certain dignity, and cruelty against them should not go unnoticed. Such "acts of entertainment" must be banned and punishable.

What rights do animals have?

The Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 is the authority criminal code of India which covers all considerable parts of criminal law. Section 428 and 429 of the IPC provide for the punishment of all acts of cruelty such as killing, poisoning, maiming, or rendering useless any animal. The aforementioned legislation has been enacted to obviate unnecessary pain and suffering of animals, and similar legislation will continue to be enacted according to changing circumstances. Notwithstanding specific statutes, further protections for animals lie under general concepts such as tort law, constitutional law, etc.[10]

Section 428 states that the discipline for executing, harming, disfiguring, or delivering futile any animal or animals of the estimation of ten rupees or upwards are basic or thorough detainment for as long as two years, or with a fine, or with both.

Section 429 states that the punishment for slaughtering, harming, mangling, or delivering futile any animal or animals of the estimation of fifty rupees or upwards (which naturally incorporates all dairy cattle/pack animals) are basic or thorough detainment for as long as five years, or with a fine, or with both.[11]

The Wildlife Protection Act 1972:

  • Prohibits injury to any wild animals or trees under section 39.
  • Animals include amphibians, birds, reptiles, and mammals and their young ones. In the case of birds and reptiles, even their eggs are included in this category. The exceptions are those classified as vermin defined in Section V. Each state has its own list of non-human animals considered vermin.
  • The punishment for an individual guilty of an offense under this Act is detainment for a term of three years, or with a fine of 25 thousand rupees, or with both. In a subsequent offense, the term of detainment will be seven years with a fine of 10,000 rupees.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960:

  • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2017 have been framed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
  • The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) was established in 1962 under Section 4 of the Act.
  • This Act provides for punishment for causing unnecessary cruelty and suffering to animals. The Act defines animals and different forms of animals.

The definition of cruelty as defined under Section 11 (a) to (o).
This includes (but is not confined to):
  • Cruelty against the person's own pet
  • Inhumane slaughter
  • Inhumane transportation
  • Inhumane living conditions (even for animals destined for slaughter)
  • Tail docking
  • Ear docking
The guilty party shall pay a fine which will reach out to fifty rupees. In the event that it is the situation of a subsequent offense, he will be fined at the very least 25 rupees but which may extend to one hundred rupees, or with detainment for up to three months or with both.[12]

Conclusion:
We, the people are the Homo-sapiens who have acquired the most noteworthy position in the set of all animals living in the period of advancement and have excelled in every field, and unquestionably, we have accomplished a ton yet at what cost? Is it even an accomplishment for mankind in the event that we have lost all the fundamental virtues? Have the headways debilitated the underlying foundations of people with nature? These inquiries allude to the holes in our general public that are impeding the general development of our country and which ought to be considered.

End-Notes:
  1. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/39696860/ (Animal Welfare Board Of India vs A. Nagaraja & Ors on 7 May, 2014)
  2. https://plantbasednews.org/culture/richard-dawkins-animals-feel-more-intense-pain-than-humans/ (Chiorando Maria, Richard Dawkins: Animals feel more pain than humans)
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_slaughter (Animal slaughter, The butcher and his servant)
  4. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/how-are-animals-stunned-prior-to-slaughter/ ( How are animals stunned prior to slaughter)
  5. https://www.oneworldnews.com/overloading-animals-is-an-offense/ (Srivastava Parul, Overloading Animals is an offense: How your small effort can make a big difference?)
  6. https://blog.ipleaders.in/animal-testing-india/ (Sehgal Diganth Raj, All about animal testing in India)
  7. https://www.aspca.org/animal-cruelty/animal-hoarding#:~:text=Animal%20hoarding%20occurs%20when%20an,she%20can%20adequately%20care%20for.&text=Animal%20hoarding%20is%20defined%20by,animal%20starvation%2C%20illness%20and%20death (Animal hoarding
  8. https://www.ciwf.org.uk/our-campaigns/end-the-cage-age/whats-wrong-with-cages/ (What's wrong with caging?)
  9. https://www.timesnownews.com/mirror-now/in-focus/article/from-elephants-to-cows-10-instances-of-animal-cruelty-that-prove-humanity-is-dead-in-india/652371 (Yadav Anubhavi, From elephants to cows, 10 instances of animal cruelty that prove humanity is dead in India)
  10. https://www.animallaw.info/article/overview-animal-laws-india (Kavuri Taruni, Overview of Animal Laws in India)
  11. https://peepalfarm.org/animalrights?gclid=Cj0KCQjw1PSDBhDbARIsAPeTqre3JT4QkT-Z6OLM4pcyi64KLLQLdR7lSFGkfExV423ArbDGCc8PC-AaAllyEALw_wcB (Know the rights of animals under Indian law)
  12. https://www.drishtiias.com/daily-updates/daily-news-analysis/prevention-of-cruelty-to-animals-act-1960 (Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960)
Written By: Siddhi Sharma - BBA-LLB (third year) BVIMR, New Delhi

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