The article is written by Nikhil Thakur from Manav Rachna University. In this article, the author has attempted to provide a glimpse of the cruel life faced by the animals every day. Besides this, the author has attempted to provide a few measures on how they can be conserved and protected.
Animals around the world are fighting for their lives every single day. They are beaten, enslaved, mutilated into tiny pieces so that human can consume them, caged in tiny iron boxes, always kept tied with ropes or heavy chains; in the interest of science: they are burned, blinded, harshly tested, mutilated alive, even they are skinned alive so that humans can use their skins, they are electrocuted and even worse. To better understand the cruelty executed by humans upon animals can be easily understood through this video.
In India, millions of animals are killed to either feed the non-vegetarians population or for performing medical experiments that are really harsh. Following Section 428 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, any form of cruelty against the animal is a cognizable offense (cases where the police officer may arrest without an arrest warrant in hand). Moreover, Asian animals are the most abused animals as compared to the rest of the world, like dogs, cats, horses, goats, and so on are brutally killed for their flesh, bears captured and caged for entertainment purposes, killing of animals for enjoyment is widespread in Asia.
According to the legal dictionary, animal cruelty stipulates a crime that is capable of inflicting physical injury, suffering, or death on an animal.
Following the California Penal Code, it defines animal cruelty as baleful or deliberate maiming, torture or wounding of a living animal and stated that any person who overworks, abuse, torments, deprives of essential food, drink or shelter, brutally beats, mutilates an animal shall be guilty of assault, murder, etc.
In India, the Prevention of Cruelty Animal Act, 1960 prescribes or enumerate few provisions, when animal cruelty is said to be committed. Section 11(1)(a) to 11(1)(o) of the Prevention of Cruelty Animal Act, 1960 enumerates the following activities that amount to cruelty against animal:
- Beating, kicking, overriding, overloading, torturing, causing avoidable pain or distress to any animal.
- Employing any animal who by the reason of its age or any disease is unfit to be so employed, despite knowing this infirmity the owner employed the same.
- Intentionally and arbitrarily administering the animal with harmful drugs or substances.
- Transporting or carrying the animal in such a way that may inflict major injuries to the animal.
- Confining any animal in a cage that does not allow proper movement of the body of the animal.
- If the owner confined the dog and habitually chained it up.
- If the owner fails to ensure proper food, drinks, or shelter for the animal.
- If the owner intentionally leaves the animal which causes that animal to suffer pain out of starvation or thirst.
- If the owner intentionally makes the animal move around the street and is affected with a contagious disease or without any justification permits the disabled animal to die in the streets.
- If any person offers for sale or unreasonably keeps the animal under possession, who is suffering pain out of mutilation, starvation, thirst, etc.
- If any person mutilates or kills any animal (including stray dogs) by the method of strychnine injection in the heart or through any other brutal manner.
- If any person solely for entertainment confines any animal to make it an object of prey against the other animal or influencing any animal to fight against the other animal.
- If any person organizes, keeps, uses, or acts in the management of any place for animal fighting or any other related purpose.
- If any person promotes or participates in any shooting competition and where the animals are the aim for shooting.
Types of animal cruelty
Around the globe, chiefly 6 categories of animal cruelty have been recognized namely:
In this type, general care like adequate food, drinks, veterinary care to the animal is neglected. This is the most common form of cruelty faced by animals around the world. Nowadays, few people don’t use a neck belt for their pets rather directly chaining them. That sometimes leads to severe injuries near the neck of the pets and that amounts to simple neglect.
In this type, the person intentionally with a malicious mind attempts cruelty on the animals. There is a vast difference between failing to ensure adequate food, drink to the animal and intentionally withholding the food, drinks of the animal. In simple failing, the person does not have the intent to perform cruelty while intentionally, there is a willful purpose for attempting cruelty. A common example of this would be leaving the sick animal or pet out in the rain and cold.
Under this category, the person cumulatively holds a large number of animals and fails to ensure minimum requirements to the animals like hygiene, sanitation, proper nutrient food, etc. This type of cruelty is not intentional rather a failure on the part of the person who is not able to ensure minimum standards.
In this type, a deadly sport between the animals is conducted and where one animal surely dies. The most common example of this is dogfighting and cockfighting, these games are prevalent in the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
This category of cruelty has been prevalent since antiquity, where innocent animals like dogs, cats, goats, cows, etc. are killed in the name of ritual. A few common instances are goat throat slit, a cat nailed to a crucifix and burned in front of all the audience, etc.
In this type, humans are attracted to non-humans, specifically animals. In this, humans make animals as an object for fulfilling their sexual needs. This is an awful crime and is considered a sin committed against nature.
- All over the world nearly 10 million wild animals are confined and murdered specifically for their fur every year.
- Nearly more than 96 percent of animals working in animal circus spent their life in a cage.
- Around the globe, approximately 12,000 sharks are killed each year due to unsustainable/ non-viable finning.
- Nearly 150 million animals around the world are killed specifically for food every day, the USA alone kills 56 billion animals each year for food.
- Nearly 1 billion rabbits along with 50 million other animals are killed for their pelts every year.
- Horses are administered drugs so that they can run in the situation when they are sick and unhealthy.
- Marine animals are forced to live in captivity and become a subject matter of entertainment in marine-themed parks.
Data concerning dogs and cats
- In Europe, few animal cruelty laws have been enacted in few parts of Russia. Woefully, there are few other nations like the United Kingdom where practices like dogfighting are still followed or are prevalent. Albania, a country in the Balkans has been performing the practice of dogfighting for over 25 years.
- In Asia, the situation is even worse. The Lives of millions of dogs and cats in China are at stake and are vulnerable. According to an Animal Asia report, China alone slaughters more than 10 million dogs and 4 million cats every year for their meat. Though China has outlawed the practice of dogfighting, it is prevalent in China. The government authorities have adopted a barbarous method to reduce the population of stray dogs and cats. In China, most of the breeding dogs spend their time in cages and they don’t even know how to walk on the grass.
Dogs and cats irrespective of shape and size are taken abruptly from the streets and are forced to live in tiny cages, which do not even allow the animals to stretch themselves and even the animals die when they are transported to vast distances without any food and drinks.
In the United States of America, the practice of dogfighting is also prevalent and nearly 56 billion animals are killed in the USA specifically for their meat and to fulfill the demand of the non-vegetarian public. Despite this, the USA has nearly more than 10,000 puppy mills which rear approximately 2 million puppies annually, and this would help them in fulfilling the meat requirements. Annually, 1 million pets in the USA are hurt, injured, and killed in response to domestic violence.
Another breed of dogs namely Greyhound dogs which are used for racing purposes are caged nearly 23 hours a day and are not permitted to socialize. The situation becomes worse when those greyhound dogs are not useful enough their blood is transported to veterinary clinics.
Nearly nineteen thousand cats in the USA annually are abused for laboratory purposes or conducting medical experiments which are very painful and harsh.
- Similarly in Canada, there are more than 1500 puppy mills and these inhumane facilities produce nearly 4 lakhs of puppies every year which would help them in fulfilling the public requirements.
- In Vietnam, the situation of cats is vulnerable because there the cat meat is the most loved meat and even in every restaurant one can find cat meat enlisted in the menu card even though cat meat is illegal in Vietnam. It is believed that eating cat meat will provide the power to fight misfortune, boost libido, and enhance the agility of the person.
- In the USA, the cattle which are prepared for the beef industry live a life of suffering and pain since the time they are born. One of the cruel methods adopted in the USA beef industry is a 3rd-degree burn or cut on the cattle. Thousands of cows die because of inadequate food and shelter.
- The scenario is even worse in Europe because the cattle before going to slaughter are kept in a very cruel and unhealthy environment. Another cruel method is adopted by France, where the cows are given a sharp blow on the back of the neck so that the butcher can sell the cow’s brain without splinter bone.
- Though South America has outlawed the practice of cow slaughtering, still cow slaughtering is prevalent there. And the method adopted by them is even more painful because the cows before slaughter are hung upside down through their nostrils and then killed.
- Another cruel and shocking method of cow slaughtering comes from Australia, where pregnant cows’ calves are violently taken out and are beaten with a hammer till death.
- In the USA, chickens are killed before attaining the age of six weeks. The method adopted by the USA is hanging the chickens upside down and running them through electrified water after which the throat of chickens is cut and finally dipped under hot boiling water.
- According to a Canadian agriculture sector report, almost 70 crore chickens were slaughtered in the year 2018. In Canada, the eggs and chickens are sold with the label “cage-free” and people start to believe that they are helping in reducing the cruelty against the animals. That’s funny though.
- In Thailand, almost four thousand elephants are kept as captive slaves and for the benefit of entertainment purposes. The wild elephants are snatched from the forest and their spirit is detached via harsh violence against them.
- If we talk about entire Asia, approximately three thousand elephants are kept in captive areas to entertain the tourists. Even while training them, the conditions are unfavorable which makes the elephants weak and sick.
- In the USA, elephants are also kept for entertainment purposes in the animal circus. They are beaten, work overtime, forced to load heavyweight, and so on.
- In Sri Lanka, an elephant almost 70 years of age were dressed beautifully to hide the skeleton body of the elephant. Despite knowing that the elephant was not well still she was forced to join the parade and move along.
- In Nepal, for amusement purposes the elephants are stabbed, beaten and their ears are violently pulled.
- In the USA, almost ten thousand horses annually are sent for slaughtering along with this half of the foals born are also slaughtered for their flesh annually.
- According to a PETA report published in the year 2015, it was stated that almost one lakh thirty thousand horses were slaughtered in Canada and Mexico.
- In Thailand, the wildlife population of tigers has dropped down to 250. Despite such vulnerability, Thailand has been carrying out tiger entertainment programs to attract the public and tourists.
- In the USA, circuses are filled with big cats shows and are probably loved by everyone in the public. Therefore, due to such demand, these big cats are forced to live in captive areas and are forced to perform things that are difficult for them or can even cause death.
- In China and South Africa, there is a practice of hunting big cats by wealthy people. These wealthy people spend money specifically to hunt these big cats.
- In Japan, one dolphin, forty-six penguins along with other marine animals were abandoned unreasonably because of the closure of a marine-themed park. There were no measures adopted for their safe transportation.
- A horrific situation was seen in the Philippines when a young whale was found dead near the shore and having ingested almost 40 kgs of plastic waste.
- In Iceland, a company naming Hvalur hf is continuously indulged in the activities of slaughtering fin whales irrespective of the fact that they have been pressured to not slaughter the same. And the reasoning given by the company for killing these fin whales is that they are present in abundance.
- Similar to the situation that took place in the Philippines, a sperm whale was found near the Indonesian shore ingested with almost 13 pounds of plastic waste.
- In Namibia, almost eighty-five thousand fur seal pups are killed for their pelts along with this, nearly six thousand adult male seals are killed for their genitals.
- In Asia, bears are hunted specifically for their bile. In China, the bile juice is extracted from the gallbladder of the living bear. For entertainment purposes, bears are also kept in captivity like other animals as mentioned above. These animals are even neglecting basic medical requirements and hence they fall prey to diseases faster. There are few cases where cubs are kept under a cage for almost 30 years.
- In China and Vietnam, wildlife animals are forced to perform those acts which are dangerous and harmful to the health of the animal.
Countries with strict animal welfare laws
There are a few countries that have taken strict measures to tackle animal abuse. A few of those countries that are best for an animal to live in are:
Switzerland passed the Animal welfare Act, 2005 and became the first nation to protect, ensure and secure the dignity of an animal. Switzerland has always been proactive when it comes to improving the living standards and working environment of the animals. Switzerland clearly prohibits any activity that is prejudiced against the dignity of animals.
The Switzerland government has even acknowledged few animals as social and therefore ordered them to be kept in pairs. The best part here is that if anyone attempts to stop a dog from barking it amounts to an illegal offense. Further, the owner of any pet shall take classes on how to take care of their pets.
Besides Switzerland, Austria is also considered one of the best nations around the globe for animals to live in. The Austrian Animal Welfare Act, 2004 considers animal life with that to humankind, which means that equal importance has been ensured to both humankind as well as animal life.
Following the anti-cruelty law, one of the strictest law in Europe concerning animal protection stated that the owner shall not crop the ears or tails of their pets, it forces the farmers or any person who is holding chicken to uncage them and ensures that no slaughtering of puppies and kittens take place.
The offender or the violator of these activities shall be liable to pay a minimum of $2,420 which shall be extendable up to $18,160 depending upon the gravity of the offense.
The German Constitution ensures protection for the animals. The Constitution of Germany read as follows that in the interest of future generations, the state should protect and safeguard the natural foundation of life and animals.
The United Kingdom
Though in the United Kingdom the practice of dogfighting is prevalent, despite this, it has enacted Animal Welfare Legislation 2006 which imposes a strict penalty on the offender of either cruelty or negligence of the animal. Moreover, the said legislation imposes a penalty of a lifetime ban from owning pets or 51-week maximum jail or a fine of up to euro 20,000.
Following the Netherlands Animal Welfare Legislation, 2011 it ensures that no form of cruelty upon an animal shall be committed, which shall include farm animals also.
According to the European Union Animal Welfare Rules, 1998 no great apes shall be tested for experiment purposes including medical experiments.
Sweden through Animal Welfare Act, 2018 has allowed the slaughtering of animals with a condition that it shall be executed by sedation of the animal, no conscious animal will be slaughtered. The animals in Sweden have a better and healthy environment as compared to other nations. Sweden has provided clear rules as to what shall be fed to cattle, pigs, and other animals. The rules are like ensuring sufficient feed, water, and adequate care along with this, it shall be of good quality.
Denmark is another nation in Europe that has explicitly rejected the slaughtering of living conscious animals. According to the Animal Keeping act, 2017 slaughtering can only take place if the animal is unconscious otherwise not.
In Hong Kong, the violator of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance, Cap. 169 shall be subjected to a fine of $200,000 or 3-year imprisonment, or both. Hong Kong determines that cruelty can be executed in any form like abuse, neglect, poor transportation, etc.
Best countries for animal welfare
The World Animal Protection has designed the Animal Protection Index, which has established 50 countries around the globe concerning their efforts and commitments in ensuring protection and welfare to animal life. The said index has enlisted the top countries where animals are most protected and their dignity is maintained:
- New Zealand
- The United Kingdom
- Australia and so on.
India ranked 13th in the said list.
Change in the trend
In the past, numerous attempts have been practiced to ensure protection to wildlife or animals:
- In the United States of America: on the 25th of November, 2019 the then President Donald Trump made animal cruelty a federal crime. The violator or the offender shall be liable to a fine or imprisonment up to 7 years or both. While the said crime does not extend to people who hunt, trap fishes, and slaughter.
- Cows possess a unique status in India. According to Hindu mythology, cows are considered holy animals and even Haryana has ensured a 24-hour helpline to prevent theft and abuse of cows. Besides this, dolphins also enjoy a special status in India and even it is the national marine animal of India. In India, if anyone attempts or has committed an offense against any of these animals shall be liable to pay a fine as per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, 1960.
- In Tanzania wildlife is protected and almost 44 percent of its landmass has been converted by either national parks or sanctuaries. In Tanzania, the hunters/ poachers may be subjected to strict punishment if they violate the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act, 2008.
- In France, till 2014, animals were considered the same as an object, but they were later considered a sentient being. France still permits dogfighting and cockfighting, despite this, it also imposes a fine of up to $823 upon the offender or abuser.
Combating animal cruelty
3 institutions can play a major role in combating animal cruelty:
The government of any country plays a pivotal role in combating cruelty against the animals which ranges from the creation of new legislation, policy, rules, and so on. Eg: the Animal Welfare law European Union, the Prevention of Animal Cruelty Act, 1960, etc.
More than the government or the NGOs or anyone else, individuals impact is much more in combating the practice of animal cruelty. If each individual performs their duty to protect and safeguard the animals from any form of cruelty and reporting the same will surely end this evil practice.
NGOs also play a major part in combating cruelty. There are a few NGOs that are working for the said cause namely: the human society of the United States (HSUS), the royal society for the prevention of cruelty to animal Australia (RSCPA), the International animal rescue (IAR), the international animal rescue foundation(IARF) and many more.
How can we protect animals
There are a plethora of ways in which animals can be protected:
- It is important to understand the responsibility of a pet owner. The owner must fulfil the needs and basic requirements of the pet. Further, a positive experience must be provided to the pet which ensures its well-being.
- Fostering an abandoned pet is a good way to protect these animals.
- Raise voice in case anyone finds or witnesses animal abuse, cruelty, or neglect. Do whatever possible thing to stop such abuse or mistreatment.
- Reporting animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect against the owner would do proper justice to the animal.
- Most importantly teach youngsters and children to protect and respect animals.
- Demanding stricter laws for the welfare of animals. Harsher or stricter the law, less cruelty against the animals is possible.
- Providing appropriate shelter to the animal or pet.
- Ensuring that the public understands the current issue and making them believe that protecting animals is important.
- Cruelty reports shall be taken seriously.
- Looking at animals as part of society.
- Encouraging for the animal-free circus.
What is the way forward
The European Union have been taking a huge step for curbing animal cruelty and promoting animal welfare. The EU has taken a few steps or measures that will soon become active and ban cruelty and other inhumane practices. If these rules and measures become active, they shall allow more comfortability to the animal who has been transported to huge distances and along with this the space allotted to the animal would be increased that will permit the animal to stretch.
The Switzerland animal welfare legislation is an overarching and comprehensive law concerning animal welfare and will surely meet the demand of Switzerland.
The United State of America has fizzled to improve animal welfare in the farms, the reason being that the system lacks enforcement. This means that though the USA has enacted animal welfare laws when the provision of the same is violated no appropriate actions are undertaken. Therefore, it is important that The USA shall adopt an appropriate enforcement mechanism like the European Union and Switzerland to protect animals from cruelty and promote the cause of animal welfare.
In Europe, a trend has been developed for granting legal protection to animals along with this animal dignity is also considered, which shows how careful the EU is for animals and hence, it is important that the same approach is followed by every nation for protecting their animal from any form of cruelty. Every nation like the EU shall establish or enact a separate regulation for companion animals, farm animals and research animals.
The kind of abuse encountered by the animals at the hands of humans is unbearable, sickening, and infuriating. It indeed becomes a reality when we realize that the regular choices we make like what we shall eat for dinner or the kind of cleanser we shall be using may be supporting a few of these manhandles or abuse.
Animals are dependent on benevolent and merciful individuals like us, we are the ones who can raise voices and become their heroes through understanding the issue they confront and adopting corrective measures and actions. Each of us has the power to save animals from these cruel activities and so on.
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