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This article has been written by Joshita Mohanty, a student of Amity University Noida.

Introduction to Animal Cruelty

In literal terms, abuse means to inflict someone with pain, harm or violence, especially regularly or frequently, therefore, animal cruelty is known as the malpractice of treating animals with cruel, violence, unethical and depraved behavior. Subjecting animals to an environment where they feel scared, unprotected and terrorized is called animal cruelty. People believe that they have a right on the lives of the animals and they can treat them in any way they want to. Everyday countless animals are being succumbed to inhumanity, torture and brutality. Animals are creatures who are capable of showing love and affection, taking care of their health and nutrition is the duty of every human. The cases of animal brutality are increasing day by day and the reason for these killings go unexplained. People kill and mutilate animals just for their personal satisfaction or fun. 

The recent brutal killing of a 15-year-old pregnant elephant in Kerala has created world-wide controversy. On May 12th, the pregnant elephant left the Silent Valley Rainforest and entered into a nearby village looking for food. The accused, Wilson, offered the elephant a coconut filled with explosives. As she chomped on it, the fruit exploded in her mouth, leading to severe injuries. The explosion in her mouth led to the breaking of her jaw and deep internal injuries. For the next 2 weeks, the elephant kept wandering around in pain and agony. None of the villagers bothered to rescue her. On May 25th, the elephant entered the Velliyar river in Malappuram, where she stood still for two days, squirming in immense pain. The accused were well aware of the fact that the poor elephant was pregnant and in deep pain. But still, they showed no signs of concern and help.

On 27th May, the poor elephant drowned herself, with her head dipped in the water and died. The assistant forest veterinary officer, Dr. David Abraham, stated in the postmortem that the reason for the death was the entry of Asphyxia into the lungs and water. The two other accused were the rubber estate owner, Abdul Kareem and his son Riyaz Uddin who are possibly hiding and the police are on the search. The main accused, Wilson has been arrested. The accused said that explosive filled fruits were used as bait to catch the wild animals, but nonetheless the intention of causing such immense harm is nothing but inhumanity. Criminal charges under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 has been filed which lays down a prison term of 7 years. 

Brief Analysis on Animal Abuse in the US

  • Studies have revealed that an animal faces abuse every 60 seconds.
  • Among all the abused animals, 65% of them are dogs.
  • More than 10 million dogs die in the U.S every year.
  • More than 6.5 million of animals are adopted by the Animal rescue and shelter centres. Most of these abandoned animals are victims to torture and brutality.
  • More than 115 million animals are used for product testing and laboratory experiments.
  • Almost 35,000-50,000 elephants are poached every year world-wide. This might lead to elephant extinction in the near future. 
  • Millions of animals are killed and slaughtered every year for their fur and skin. More than 50% of the fur that is used in the industries of the U.S comes from China. 
  • A survey revealed that 88% of the families in U.S. who are being investigated for child abuse currently, are also targeted for animal abuse. 

Brief Analysis of Animal Abuse in India

  • 19,028 cases of animal brutality were recorded in Mumbai in a span of 5 years (2011-2016). Although, not even a single arrest was made. 
  • On May 18th, 2018 almost about 100 dead bodies of dogs were found in the forest area in Kongara, Hyderabad.
  • A pregnant goat was gang raped by 8 men in Gurgaon, Haryana on July 29th 2018 and was later declared dead. 
  • In August 2017, a man was held accused for raping a young female puppy to death. 
  • In January, 2018 a man in Vadodara allegedly raped 3 cows in Vadodara. A case was filed under section 295A of the IPC which defines deliberate and malicious acts done intentionally to insult the religious feelings of any religious class.

Types of Animal Abuse

Sexual Abuse (Bestiality)

Bestiality is term given to an intercourse between a human and non-human (animal). It basically refers to the degrading act of a human having sexual intercourse with an animal. Horrific and disturbing cases of rage against animals are on the headlines very often nowadays. It is not an uncommon-phenomena anymore. In July, 2018, a pregnant goat was gangraped by 8 men in Haryana, Gujarat. In the same month, a 35-year-old man was accused of allegedly having sex with a female dog in his house in Kolkata. A similar incident was reported in Vadodara, where 3 pregnant cows were raped by a single man, who worked as a laborer. Such incidents are a clear proof to the fact that there is no decency and humanity left in human beings. Most people believe that animals do not have the same rights as humans. Their life is considered less important. People need to understand that animals are the creatures who cannot speak; hence they are more vulnerable to any kind of cruelty and brutality. 60% of the women who were victims of domestic violence claim that their husbands had a history of either killing or harming animals. Study in criminology and psychology reveals that people who commit acts of cruelty on animals, move to humans as their next target. 

Physical Domestic Abuse

This is a type of abuse where the violence inflicted upon the animals is absolutely intentional. The motive is to cause deep injury, severe pain and mental trauma to the animal. Physical violence creates an environment for the animals which makes them feel dominated, terrorized and frightened. Some people are incapable of showing love and affection to animals. Domestic abuse can take up many forms such as beating, stabbing, kicking, starving, neglecting, burning etc. If a man can beat, hit or cause harm to his own wife, then there is a very high probability that he might do the same with his own pet. One of the most tragic incidents of this kind happened in 2016. A medical student of Chennai, India, threw a 5-month-old puppy off the roof of his terrace. Although the puppy survived, it sustained many serious and internal injuries. 

Organised Animal Abuse

Organized animal abuse is a form of animal abuse in the way of animal fighting like dog fighting, bull fighting and cock fighting, mostly for entertainment purposes. It is a staged form of fight where animals are prepared to fight against each other in a very violent and aggressive way. In the end, animals either die or are immensely hurt. Such fights are mostly underground hence they are well hidden from the eyes of the authority. The identification of such fights is a difficult process as it is very secretive in nature. Animal fighting in many countries is illegal as it usually involves gambling, money laundering and drug dealing. 

Laboratory testing and Product Experimentation

As hard as it is to believe, the truth is whatever product we wear, we use or we carry, is first tested on the animals. Animals and humans are not the same. Their body reacts to different types of products in a completely different way which can prove to be extremely harmful and painful. Every year millions of animals are subjected to such ruthless product testing where harmful drugs and chemicals are dripped into their throat, rubbed onto their skin or even dropped into their eyes. This leaves them in a lot of pain, agony, discomfort and suffering. Animals are kept in small caged dark and confined places, where they are mentally and physically tortured. As a result, many animals die writhing in pain. Animal testing is done even for the products which actually do not need a testing, but beauty and cosmetic companies still choose to go for it as to find any remaining flaws or side effects or chemical reaction. Europe, Israel and India banned the sale of any cosmetic and beauty product which requires the need of animal testing. 

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Simple neglect and Animal Hoarding

Animal hoarding means owning an unusually higher number of pets. Animal hoarders are animal lovers and they love their pets so much that they find it difficult to let go of them. It’s more of a mental disorder which ultimately leads to them harming their pets. This happens because the owner of the pets finds it tedious and difficult to take care of so many pets at a time i.e. after a period of time, they leave them unattended and neglected. It involves starvation, dehydration, infection, diseases, improper veterinary care, chaining for a long duration in severe weather conditions etc. Therefore, lack of proper nutrition and welfare to the animals does categorize under animal abuse. 

Laws implemented for Animal Abuse

In the Constitution of India, 1949

Article 48 talks about improvement of agriculture and animal husbandry. It provides guidelines for the state to organize agriculture and animal husbandry based on new modern and scientific methods and to get rid of the old traditional ones. It prohibits the practice of animal slaughtering and imposes a complete ban on the slaughtering of cows, calves, milch and draught cattle.

Article 48A talks about the protection of the environment and wildlife. It directs the state to protect and improve the condition of the environment, safeguard and preserve the forests and wildlife of the country.

Article 51A lays down the 11 fundamental duties that were added in the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment act, 1976. Article 51A(g) specifies that it is the utmost duty of every citizen to protect and preserve the natural environment which includes the wild life, forests, lakes, rivers etc. It also lays that the citizens must have feelings of compassion and love towards the animals. 

In the Indian Penal Code, 1860

Section 428 and Section 429 lay down that a person who commits any mischief on animals or cattle with a motive of either causing harm, injury, killing, poisoning or maiming them will be held punishable with fine or imprisonment up to 5 years or both. Section 377 lays down that sexual intercourse between a man and animal is a cognizable and non-bailable offence. It can be termed as an unnatural offence. Whoever has carnal intercourse with any man, woman or animal against the order of nature will be liable to a punishment of imprisonment of life or imprisonment which may extend up to 10 years and shall be liable to fine.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act was enacted in 1960 by the Parliament of India to prevent the infliction of unnecessary cruelty and the brutality on animals. It lays down the acts and the behavior which would amount to animal cruelty and their corresponding punishments. Section 11 of the PCA, 1960 lays down the major offences which clearly amount to animal cruelty. 

Section 11(1)

 This lays down the offences relating to Animal Cruelty. They are as follows:

  1. If a person beats, kicks, overrides, tortures or treats any animal as to subject it to immense pain, suffering, agony and discomfort. Or if the owner of the animal permits it to be treated that way. 
  2. If the owner of the animal permits it to be employed in any kind of work or labor which is unfit and inappropriate for the health of the animal due to any kind of infection, disease, wound or even age.
  3. If a person intentionally and unreasonably injects or administers any kind of harmful drug or chemical into the bodies of animals. Even the attempt to do so is an offence.
  4. Transportation or carrying of animals in a vehicle in such a manner that it causes them pain and discomfort.
  5. Keeping an animal caged or confined in a space which is extremely small or not suitable for its size.
  6. When an owner of an animal unreasonably neglects it by excessive solid chaining for a long period of time in a confined space.
  7. Failure in providing an animal with the right amount of nutrition, sufficient food, drinking water etc.
  8. Abandoning animals without any reasonable cause which leads to deprivation of food, water and shelter.
  9. Permitting an animal while it is affected by a contagious disease or infection to go out in the streets without any protection. Letting any disabled or affected animal die in the streets.
  10. Offer of sale of an animal suffering immense pain due to starvation, thirst, mutilation or any other harsh treatment.
  11. Mutilation or killing of any animal (including stray dogs) by the use of any strychnine injection into the heart or any other brutal way or manner.
  12.  Keeping an animal in a confined caged space either for entertainment purposes or to pose as a bait or prey to some other animal. Provoking or instigating animals to fight against each other.
  13. Use of animals either for animal fighting or animal baiting like dog fighting, cock fighting, bull fighting etc.
  14. Animals being used to shooting matches or competitions where they are brutally shot.

All the above offences are punishable by law. In case of an offence committed for the first time, a fine of not less than not less than ten rupees is imposed which may extend up to fifty rupees. In case of an offence committed for a subsequent time, within 3 years of the previous offence, a fine of not less than twenty-five rupees which may extend up to fifty rupees is imposed or with imprisonment for a term of 3 months or both. 

Section 12: Prohibition of practising Phooka

Phooka is known as the practice of injecting a harmful kind of substance or drug into the bodies of cows or any cattle to improve the process of lactation. This practice is prohibited since it proves to be very harmful and painful to the animals. Liable to a fine which may extend up to one thousand rupees or imprisonment up to 2 years or both.

Section 13: Order for Destruction of Suffering Animals

When the owner of the animal is convicted of an offence under section 11, if the court is satisfied that it would be cruel enough to keep the animal alive, then the court shall direct a lawful order to cause the destruction of that animal. A person will be assigned to destroy the animal without causing any more unreasonable harm and suffering. Any expenses incurred during the destruction process shall be paid by the owner as fine. This is done so as to free such animal from the immense pain, torture and suffering that it will endure if it were to be alive, which would amount to cruelty. This destruction method is put into use when the animal is either severely diseased or injured. 

Section 14: Experimentation and Product Testing of Animals 

Although the act does not provide any penalties, it renders the performance of laboratory experiments and product testing on animals unlawful. India is the first South-Asian country to impose a ban on the Cosmetic animal testing. The bureau of Indian Standards has confirmed the removal of animal testing by the cosmetic brands. Any manufacturer who wishes to run a test of the cosmetic ingredients or finished products, must seek permission from the India’s Central Drug Standards Organization Control. A manufacturer will be given permission only if he agrees to the BIS non-animal testing standards. 

As per Section 148(c) of the Drugs and Cosmetic rules 1945, cosmetic testing on animals have been banned within the country. 

As per Section 135(b) of the Drugs and Cosmetic rules, 1945, import of cosmetic goods which are tested on animals abroad have been banned within the country. 

The Wild Life Protection Act, 1972

The Wildlife Protection Act was enacted by the Parliament of India on 9th September, 1972. It consists of 66 sections and 6 schedules. The main objective of the act was to provide protection to the wildlife flora and fauna and prevent unnecessary infliction of harm on animals. 

Section 9: Prohibition of Hunting 

Hunting is prohibited under section 9 of the Chapter III of The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Hunting of any wild animals specified under Schedule I, schedule II and schedule III of the act is illegal and prohibited.

Section 38(J): Prohibition of Teasing, Injuring Animals in Zoo

Section 38 (J) under chapter IV A lays down that any person who injures, teases, molests or causes any kind of harm or discomfort to the animals in the zoo will be held punishable by the law.

Section 51: Provisions for Penalties 

  • Whoever violates the provisions of section 38 (J) will be held liable for a term of imprisonment up to 6 months or a fine which may extend up to two thousand rupees or both. 
  • Chapter VA deals with the prohibition of trade and commerce of any article, weapons or trophies etc. derived from the skin of animals. Any person violating the provisions of this chapter will be punishable with a term of imprisonment not less than three years and also with a fine not less than ten thousand rupees. 
  • Any person who violates the provisions of section 9 or commits any offence (hunts or hurts) against an animal specified in schedule I, II, III or IV will be punishable with a term of imprisonment not less than 3 years which may extend up to 7 years and with a fine not less than twenty-five thousand rupees or both. For the first time offenders, imprisonment terms remaining the same and with a fine of ten thousand rupees. 

Landmark Judgments

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Animal Welfare Board of India v. A. Nagaraja & Ors. 

In 2014, the Supreme court banned the practice of Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu. Jallikattu is a cultural and traditional sport of Tamil Nadu which involves the men trying to claim a bag of coins attached to the horns of a raging bull which would prove their masculinity. It is a sport which involves raging bulls being trained to fight for the sole purpose of the public’s entertainment. This was considered to be a very old ritualistic sport in Tamil Nadu. 

The Tamil Nadu government had passed the Tamil Nadu Registration of Jallikattu Act, 2009 which allowed the continuance of sport in adherence to certain guidelines. An appeal was by the AWBI to ban the sport of bull fighting on the grounds of cruelty and brutality caused to the bulls. It was argued that to incite the bulls for fighting, they were chained, threatened and beaten up ruthlessly. They were subjected to inhumane treatment which made them feel threatened and scared. During Jallikattu, people harass, beat and twist the tails of the bulls to scare them. This all amounts to cruelty which stands in violation of section 3, section 11 1(a), section 11 1(m)(ii), section 21 and section 22 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1960. Section 21 and 22 prohibits the training of any animals for any kind of exhibition or entertainment for public viewing.

The Supreme Court held that although Jallikattu is considered as an old custom and tradition, it is a clear depiction of cruelty and inhumanity on animals, thus leading to prohibition of the PCA, 1960. According to 51 A(g) and 51 A(h) of the Constitution, it is the utmost duty of every citizen to protect animals and develop feelings of compassion and kindness to animals. Thus, the Supreme court held that all the animal incited fights are illegal and should be discontinued so as to prevent unnecessary suffering on animals. 

N.R. Nair & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors. 

The main challenge in this judgement was the validity of section 22 of the PCA, 1960. Section 22 of the PCA, 1960 states that no animal or any animal which is specified by the Central Government, by notification in the Official Gazette, shall be trained or exhibited as performing animals for the purpose of viewer’s entertainment. Animals specified are monkeys, bears, tigers, lions and panthers. 

Section 24 of the PCA, 1960 lays down the power of the court to prohibit the training and exhibition of performing animals. If the magistrate is satisfied upon a complaint being filed that the training and exhibition of performing animals is accompanied by unnecessary harm and cruelty, then the court has the power to prohibit the same.

The learned counsel of the appellants argued on the basis that there were no guidelines provided under section 22(ii) of the PCA, 1960 on the basis of which the central government could ban the training and exhibition of animals. Apart from this, they held the argument that section 24 and section 22(ii) of the PCA, 1960 could only be applicable when the magistrate has enough evidence or is satisfied that the training or exhibition of animals is causing them unnecessary harm, injury or discomfort. 

But the Kerala High Court upheld the judgement that section 22 is an absolute necessity to prevent animal cruelty and the circus owners are refrained from training or exhibition of the five animals mentioned above. Because, performance of animals requires training and training might cause discomfort and harm to them without any reasonable cause as they are kept caged and confined. Welfare and safety of the animals was the utmost priority and if the government was satisfied that there is infliction of unnecessary harm and suffering on the animal while the training and exhibition, then the prohibition of this is a must. 

State of Uttar Pradesh v. Mustakeem & Ors.

In this case, an F.I.R was filed against the owner of the goats as they were found to be transported for slaughter in a very cruel and harsh manner with their legs tied to each other with a thick rope. This violated section 11 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1960. Since then, the cattle were confiscated from the owner and were in the custody of the police. Later, they were given to the nearest gaushala of the society. The appellant counsel argued on the basis that the gaushala did not have a locus standi in the matter, hence cannot claim a right on the cattle. However, the U.P High court returned the custody of the cattle to the owner while the matter was still under trial.

The Supreme Court upheld the judgement that once an animal has been removed from the custody of the owner on the basis of cruelty, the animal will not be given back to the custody of the owner until the trial is over. Instead, they are to be handed over to the nearest gaushala, under the care and supervision of the State Government, as long as the trial continues. The relevant factors to be taken into consideration as are follows:

  1. The seriousness and nature of the offence committed by the owner.
  2. Whether it is the first offence under the PCA, 1960 or a subsequent one. 
  3. If it is the first offence of the owner, then the animal is not allowed to be taken away from his custody, thus he will have a better claim.
  4. The condition of the animal at the time of inspection which would prove the gravity and nature of the cruelty. 
  5. If there is any possibility of the animal being subjected to cruelty again. 

Depraved Religious Customs: Culture or Cruelty

Gadhimai Festival, Nepal

Gadhimai sacrifice is considered to be one of the world’s largest animal sacrifices that takes place in the Gadhimai temple, in the Bara district of Nepal. This animal sacrifice takes place on the 28th and 29th of November, once in every five years. It includes the inhumane slaughtering of at least 500,000 innocent animals in two days. This mass sacrifice is considered to be one of the cruelest forms of animal killing where they are beheaded ruthlessly several times, causing a slow and painful death.

The worshippers of Gadhimai Goddess believe that causing a spillage of blood would please her and thus the people would be free from their sin, bad deeds, anger etc. According to the reports, 500,000 animals were killed in 2009 and 300,000 animals were killed in 2014. The buffalo calves look at their mothers, all frightened and terrified while they are slaughtered in front of them. In 2015, the Gadhimai Temple Trust officially placed a ban on the slaughtering of animals and animal sacrifices, which was a victory for the animal activists and the Animal Welfare Network Nepal. In 2019, the Supreme Court of Nepal directed the government to impose a total ban on the animal sacrifice at the festival. 

The Yulin Dog Meat Festival 

The Yulin dog meat festival is an annual 10 day event celebrated in Yulin, a city situated in the Guangxi province of China. It takes place during 21st to 30th June every year where over 10,000 dogs are slaughtered and eaten by the people. Even cat meat and lychees are available at the festival. This festival is considered as a custom as people believe that eating dogs during the hottest time of the year will bring them happiness and good luck. Eating dogs is not considered illegal in China, hence people do not see it as a way of inflicting cruelty on the dogs. They consider it as a part of their diet. Around 10-20 million of dogs are killed every year for human consumption. This festival has created a lot of controversy as the innocent dogs are mercilessly slaughtered and put up for sale. Until now, no ban has been imposed on the festival and the Yulin Municipality claims that it is difficult to prohibit this festival from being celebrated as it does not even exist as an official event. 

Nem Thoung Pig Slaughter Festival

This annual pig parade festival is celebrated every lunar year in the northern village of Nem Thoung, in the Bac Ninh province of Vietnam. It is an annual pig slaughter festival which has been in the disguise of an old tradition for almost 800 years. The pigs are painted, paraded round the town and later they are brutally slaughtered by the executioners. The local people believe that dipping their money in the blood of the killed pigs will bring them wealth and good luck for the year. The pigs are brutally slaughtered in two halves in front of the spectators, with their legs tied up. In 2015, the Vietnamese Ministry had declared that all such festivals should cease immediately and an order for the same was enacted on 5th February, 2016. Although the public slaughtering of the pigs has stopped, the private killings of pigs as a ritual still continues. 

Faroe Island Killing, Denmark

Every summer around 800 pilot whales are killed in the bays of Torshavn in the Faroe Islands, Denmark. It is claimed that whale meat and blubber is a part of the natural diet of the people in Faroe Islands. 100,000 dolphins and small whales are killed every year due to this unsustainable and illegal killing. The fishermen use spinal lace as their weapon to slit open the neck of the whales and severely injure the spinal cord which results in death within seconds. The whales are killed in a very merciless way, the sea turns red due to the bloodshed. It is a 5hour hunt where the pilot whales are chased and harassed on the boats. The hunt does not spare any member of the pod, be it the pregnant whales or the little baby whales. 

2019 saw the eleventh hunt at Vestmanna on the Faroe Islands, with more than 600 pilot whales being killed. It is also said that consumption of whale meat can prove harmful for the humans due to the mercury contamination in the bodies of whales and dolphins. However, till date people still see this as a tradition and festival and not as a way of inhumanity and cruelty inflicted on innocent creatures.

Conclusion 

For most of the people worldwide, meat is considered as a go-to meal, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. What most of the people don’t realize is how and from where all the meat and chicken in the world is coming from. Animal cruelty is a very sensitive and serious issue. Pain is felt by each and every living organism, be it humans or animals. The brutal action against the innocent creatures is rarely acknowledged and very few people feel the urge of raising their voice against animal cruelty. Therefore, by the way of this paper, I tried to focus on the types of animal cruelty, the depraved customs and traditions which are practiced across the world. People should know that all lives matter, be it humans or animals. It can be seen how humans misuse their power and lack the feelings of love and compassion towards the animals. Animals do not have any rights of their own, they do not have a voice to protect themselves from cruelty, thus they go through unspeakable sufferings daily. Just as humans, even animals deserve to lead a happy and painless life. As humans, it is our duty to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. 

References

  1. https://www.researchgate.net/
  2. https://www.peta.org/
  3. https://indiankanoon.org/
  4. https://www.thebetterindia.com/
  5. https://faunalytics.org/
  6. https://www.lawyerservices.in/
  7. https://www.hsi.org/

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