- The reported cases of animal cruelty are rising rapidly.
- In a very recent incident, a pregnant elephant was fed explosives, she died standing in a pond.
- A team of social workers working for stray dogs was attacked in Delhi.
Table of Contents
- Why do People Indulge in Animal Cruelty?
- Crimes Correlated to Animal Cruelty
- Laws against Animal Cruelty in India
- What to do if witness Animal Cruelty?
- From the Data
- Human Responsibility
India is a country where a lot many religious traditions advocate for compassion and co- existence with animals. In fact, some religions not only consider them creatures but worship animals. Yet, since a few days, a lot many videos have surfaced that either show the cruelty towards animals or towards the people who are helping them.
We have been seeing dogs tied up and thrown on railway tracks or a leopard carcass found thrown on road with its head & paws cut off; dogs tied up to be sold in illegal wet markets; cows & jackals who were fed explosives camouflaged in edibles; dogs, goats & cows being raped; animals subjected to violence to gain followers on TikTok and what not. However, the cases we have been witnessing are just the tip of the ice, the majority of the cases are unreported. Unlike human crime cases, the government does not collect data on crime against animals which makes it impossible to determine how common these are. A rough idea can be derived from the number of cases reported under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA), i.e., 24000. Also, to prevent any crime, the laws should be strict and enforced likewise. But how do we, in India, prevent crime against animals, when the most prominent law for animal cruelty prevention, last came in 1960 & has a fine of just ₹ 50?
1. Forms of Animal Cruelty
Let’s discuss the possible ways humans show cruelty towards animals which can be paid for ₹ 50.
|S.No||Form of cruelty||Definition|
|a.||Animal Cruelty||Abuse toward an animal. Deliberately putting an animal in a situation that will harm them or terrorize them.|
|b.||Animal Abuse||Deliberately hurting an animal.|
|c.||Animal Neglect||Basically, being ignorant of the animal and thus, not taking care of the animal after taking it in his/her property and not caring for it whether it be hungry, thirsty, hurt etc.|
|d.||Animal Exploitation||People having a sense entitlement towards animals and so using them in whatever way they want to whether it be against the animal’s instincts. It also includes forcefully putting an animal in a dangerous or unsafe situation.|
|e.||Human Predation||Killing an animal for meat, fun & monetary gains that come from the wildlife market. In many cases, the animals are killed with non-lethal shots to make their deaths slow and painful.|
|f.||Animal Testing||Using the animal for experiments, medical or otherwise in laboratories.|
2. Why do People Indulge in Animal Cruelty?
There are many reasons that makes a person indulge in animal cruelty while “self-interest” can be seen in many cases. Animals are viewed through a distorted lens and so, many people don’t even consider it wrong and can provide you with a number of justifications:
- Animals not Considered as Living Creatures: Animals are considered to be just a tool or device that does not have feelings which helps the person to disconnect from that being and thus, mistreat them. These people consider animals to be animated objects and do not believe they’re in the wrong when hurting them.
- Using Animals for Monetary Gains: If the cruelty can lead to monetary gains, the person justifies it as just a measure of providing for their family. They do not regard the animal as a sentient creature and value only their economic gains. This can include farmers, fur & pelts industries, circuses and such entertainment industries, selling body parts of wild animals, etc.
- Feeling of Entitlement: Some people have a sense of entitlement towards animals, they believe that animals are there to be used by humans and so they can do anything they wish to their animals. Also, since humans are considered as “apex predators” so some feel like they are superior to animals and use it as an argument.
- Intentional Cruelty: For people who deliberately wish to harm the animal have a certain correlation with crimes against humans as well. Either they are indulged in violence/ crimes against humans or they will be indulging in it in future.
- Hoarding Behavior: People who hoard more than they can take care of which leads to serious ignorance and thus, victimizing the animals. Such people are mentally or socially unhealthy & need help.
Knowing the useless reason for which people indulged themselves in animal cruelty, it is important to study the crime which they do as a daily routine without any restrictions.
3. Crimes Correlated to Animal Cruelty
As per People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) “If a society is turning a blind eye to the cruelty done on animals, that society is actually encouraging criminals who will bestow their violence on humans too.” Because as per the research done in psychology & criminology, the people who commit cruelty towards animals do not stop there, they move on to hurting humans because they get desensitized to such crimes. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation supports this with their findings as per which animal abuse is one of the traits appearing regularly in the records of serial rapists and murderers.
Acts of violence towards animals indicate deep mental disturbance and often, animal abusers move on to harming humans, because they need to take out their issues on whoever available, human or non- human. For example, 60% of the women who were subjected to domestic violence have said that their abusive partner has been physically abusive to their pets too. The case of 2006, serial murders of children in Noida took place at the home of Moninder Singh Pandhel who was fond of hunting.
There’s a study by ASPCA written by Allie Phillips which shows a link that consists of the coexistence of two or more of these intra-familial crimes: child abuse (including physical and sexual abuse) or neglect, domestic violence (including stalking and rape), elder abuse or neglect (including financial exploitation), and animal abuse or neglect (including sexual assault, animal fighting and hoarding). The Link also includes the co-occurrence of animal abuse with other types of crime, such as homicide, weapons offenses, drug offenses, sexual assault, arson, assault or other violent crimes.
4. Laws against Animal Cruelty in India
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960
PCA is an act that was enacted by the parliament of India in 1960 to prevent any unnecessary infliction of pain & suffering on animals.
As per the provision of the law, Animal Welfare Board of India was formed by the government.
The following activities are considered as animal cruelty as per the section 11(1) of the act:
- Beating, Kicking, Over-riding, Over-driving, Over-loading, Torturing, Causing unnecessary pain or suffering to any animals;
- Employing any animal which, by reason of its age or any disease, unfit to be so employed, and still making it work or labor or for any purpose;
- Willfully and unreasonably administering any injurious drug or injurious substance;
- Conveying or carrying, either in or upon any vehicle in such a manner as to subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering;
- Keeping or confining any animal in any cage or any receptacle, which does not measure sufficiently in height, length and breadth to permit the animal a reasonable opportunity for movement;
- Keeping for an unreasonable time any animal chained or tethered upon an unreasonably heavy chain or chord;
- Being the owner, neglects to exercise or cause to be exercised reasonably any dog habitually chained up or kept in close confinement;
- Being the owner of any animal fails to provide such animal with sufficient food, drink or shelter;
- Being the owner, without reasonable cause, abandons any animal in circumstances, which render it likely that it will suffer pain by reason of starvation or thirst;
- Willfully permits any animal, of which he is the owner to go at large in any street while the animal is affected with a contagious or infectious disease, or without reasonable excuse permits any diseased or disabled animal, of which he is the owner, to die in any street;
- Offers for sale or without reasonable cause, has in his possession any animal which is suffering pain by reason of mutilation, starvation, thirst, overcrowding or other ill-treatment
- Mutilates any animal or kills any animal (including stray dogs) by using the method of strychnine injections in the heart or in any other unnecessarily cruel manner;
- Solely with a view to providing entertainment – Confines or causes to be confined any animals (including tying of an animal as bait in a tiger or other sanctuary) so as to make it an object of prey for any other animal; Incites any animal to fight or bait any other animal.
- Organizes, keeps, uses or acts in the management of any place for animal fighting or for the purpose of baiting any animal or permits or offers any place to be so used or receives money for the admission of any other person to any place kept or used for any such purposes;
- Takes part in any shooting match or competition wherein animals are released from captivity for the purpose of such shooting.
Cruelty to Animals is a Punishable Offence!
If found guilty under PCA, the offender is liable to pay a fine which can extend to ₹ 50 & if it happens to be a subsequent offence under 3 years, then the person is supposed to pay not less than ₹ 25 which can extend to ₹ 100 or an imprisonment of up to 3 months or both. If the offender happens to have a vehicle then in the case of a second offence, his/ her vehicle may be confiscated & the person will not be allowed to keep any animals again.
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017
Through this, the Government of India had sought to effectively prohibit cattle slaughter across the country via rules made under PCA, 1960
The regulation focuses on protecting the animals from cruelty and not to regulate the existing trade in cattle for slaughter houses. It is envisaged that welfare of cattle dealt in the market will be ensured and that only healthy animals are traded for agriculture purposes for the benefits of the farmers.
The notified rules will remove the scope of illegal sale and smuggling of the cattle which is a major concern.
The specific provisions apply only to animals which are bought and sold in the notified live stock markets and animals that are seized as case properties.
5. What to do if witness Animal Cruelty?
- Stay calm, and seek veterinary help for the animal if needed.
- Speak up against it, try to make people realize by talking to them that they should stop or to make more & more people aware of the situation.
- Know the law and make people aware of the law. Also, if you feel some changes are required in the law, start speaking about that too.
- Document the crime & report to the police immediately. File an FIR.
- Inform other related authorities. For instance, if the case is related to wildlife then the Ministry of Environment & Forests should be notified.
- Persist & follow the case filed to prevent the criminals from getting away with it.
Now, it is important to figure out the number of animals who suffer from cruelty and pay with their lives. Though, animal cruelty cases are not seriously taken so exact data can’t be figured out. But a rough knowledge is tried to assess from few data which has been considered to report.
6. From the Data
- Animal Slaughter
We all are aware of the fact that how much quantity of animals are slaughtered daily for our food. But, it is important to explore how we are affecting their lives globally. Here, the graph given below shows the yearly quantity of meat supply in food across the world.
The graph shows the quantity of meat demand increasing over the years. It concludes that a huge number of animals are slaughtered just to fulfill our food demand. Most importantly many of these animals are put under endangered species.
- Comparison of Different Region for Animal Slaughter
Here, the quantity of meat supply in food is compared for different continents including two countries of Asia.
The comparison shows an interesting figure about China. China is competing alone to all other continents. And they supply huge quantities of meat in their food. Moreover, Chinese food markets allow the consumption of all kind of organisms. Because of this reason most of the animal to human viral infections, originate in China.
- Different Animal Slaughter Graph
Let’s explore the animals who have been slaughtered most during 1980-2013.
Explored data’s result is in front. After fish and seafood pork (pig-meat) had supplied most during these years across the world.
- Reported Animal Cruelty Cases
As mentioned above that all cases are not reported against animal cruelty. So, total incidents are not taken into account. Few cases which were considered right to report are plotted in the graph given below.
The graph shows the number of reports filed against animal cruelty during six years in Mumbai. It was also claimed that none of the people were arrested. This show how serious is the issue of animal cruelty for us.
- Animals Injured in Road Accidents
Not only animal slaughtering, animal cruelty are form of cruelty for animals. Here the data of injured animals in road accidents are taken. Not all accidents are the result of careless and fast driving but most of these are. This data is revealed by Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC).
The graph is only revealing the accidents of one city i.e. Mumbai. Don’t know what numbers are buried because they are not reported. But the global figure can be easily assumed about the animal accidents because of careless and fast driving which are not reported.
The data claims that 11,915 animals were injured in the road accidents in Mumbai from 2011-12 to july 2019. And the most vulnerable animals are the dogs (9971).
- Number of Threatened Species
Now, it is important to understand how animal cruelty is affecting the animal species. Here is the report for threatened species provided by IUCN Red List.
The report is revealing very serious information which needs a high alert. As per the report huge number of species are becoming threatened over the time. This is affecting the ecological balance, negatively. This imbalance is a dangerous sign for us and our planet.
7. Human Responsibility
As per the study, the awful pain of animals is illuminated which they suffer daily because they are animals who can’t speak nor can they share their pain and nor oppose. Moreover, most of their species are on the edge of vulnerability and most are endangered. So, as the human beings we should understand some responsibilities towards these speechless animals. And responsibilities are:
- We need stricter laws and apt penalties and proper enforcement of such laws. PCA needs to be amended & there have been bills introduced over the years. There was a draft Act, 2011 & a private bill, 2016 which sought to strengthen animal welfare organizations & enlarge the definition of animal abuse. It has added some more categories of cruelty to animals, make the act more comprehensive and apply much greater and apt penalties. Both the bills weren’t passed in the parliament and we still have that more than half a century old law. We need laws such as Cow Slaughter Prevention (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, of Uttar Pradesh introduced to protect cows and prevent their slaughter, providing a maximum rigorous imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to ₹ 5 lakh. We need more laws like these for other animals too.
- We need to strengthen animal welfare Organizations, give them power enough to work in each state independently without any impedance.
- Most importantly, teach children to respect animals. This largely depends on the adults and not just institutions because children learn more by seeing their elders. So examples of kindness towards animals need to be propagated and brought to their & everyone’s attention. Adopt the idea of foster families.
- Adopt instead of buying pets that will help in considering the animal as a creature and not an object and will curb the sense of entitlement too.
- Make conscious & ethical choices when you buy because as a consumer you have the power to control the market. If only products like cruelty free cosmetics, cage free eggs are bought, it will serve as a strong message.
After this study, it cannot be denied that animals are suffering only because of humans. We are enhancing animal cruelty in such a manner that a huge number of their species are on the edge of threatening, most are endangered and large numbers are extinct. The result is in the graph of the number of threatened species. Humans are the only organisms who are affecting them directly or indirectly by deforestation, industrialization or by urbanization or pollution or many different ways.
A special attention should be taken for them. Laws or acts to save them should be followed very strictly. Let’s come together and take only one step against animal cruelty because, “Candle lit up by each person can illuminate the whole world”.