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  • 26 October, 2022

  • 6 Min Read

Human Rights vs. Animal Welfare

Human Rights vs. Animal Welfare

  • In light of the increasing number of stray dog incidents, the Supreme Court of India stated that a balance must be struck between human safety and animal rights.
  • The court also suggested that people who feed stray dogs be held responsible for vaccinating them and bearing costs if the animal attacks someone.

What is the Importance of Maintaining a Balance Between Human Rights and Animal Welfare?

To Address the Core Problem:

  • This issue raises an even more fundamental issue concerning the rights of wild animals in a society dominated by humans in general, and within the framework of the Indian Constitution in particular.

Recognition in Hindu Scriptures:

  • Every living thing is considered to have descended from the same divine power as humans in ancient Hindu texts, which recognize their rights and view all living things as deserving of respect, love, and affection.
  • India has a culture that values acceptance of all people and respect for all living things. Cows are revered as sacred animals by Hindus.

Animal Punishment Is Wrong:

  • Some ancient civilizations used to punish animals for wrongs they had committed. But as the debate over moral agency developed, it became clear that punishing animals was wrong because they lacked the mental capacity to distinguish between right and wrong and that doing so would be ineffective.
  • As a result, laws developed, and it was decided that animals (along with children and people who are mentally ill) were the bearers of interests that needed to be protected by the law without any associated duties.
  • The current legal system punishes pet owners for any damage brought on by the careless treatment of their animals.

Other Judgements

Nagaraja v. Animal Welfare Board of India (2014):

  • The Supreme Court of India ruled in this case that animals also have the right to dignity and fair treatment, which is guaranteed by and stems from Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, while outlawing the practises of bullfighting and bullock cart racing in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, respectively.

Other rulings:

  • In June 2019, Judge Rajiv Sharma of the Punjab and Haryana High Court declared all citizens to be persons in loco parentis as the human face for the welfare and protection of animals. The Uttarakhand High Court had previously declared in July 2018 that animals have a distinct legal persona with corresponding rights, duties, and liabilities of a living person.
  • All residents of Uttarakhand and Haryana have been declared to have legal obligations and duties for the welfare and protection of animals within their respective States, which are comparable to those of a parent toward minor children.

What does the Constitution say about the rights of animals?

  • Everybody has a duty to protect and preserve the nation's natural resources, including its forests, lakes, rivers, and animals, according to the Indian Constitution.
  • However, many of these provisions are found in the Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP), which cannot be enforced without statutory support.
  • According to Article 48 A, the State must work to preserve the nation's forests and wildlife as well as the environment.
  • Every Indian citizen has a responsibility to "protect and improve the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures," according to Article 51A(g).
  • The State and Concurrent List has also been given the following animal rights items.
  • State List Item 14 states that the States have the power to "preserve, maintain, and improve stock, prevent animal diseases, and enforce veterinary training and practise."
  • The Concurrent List includes legislation that both the Center and the States may enact, including the item 17 referenced above, "Prevention of animal cruelty."
  • Item 17B is titled "Protection of Wild Animals and Birds."

What Significant Animal Protection Laws Exist in India?

IPC (Indian Penal Code)

  • The official criminal code of India is the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860, which addresses all substantive aspects of criminal law.
  • The IPC's Sections 428 and 429 make it illegal to kill, poison, maim, or render useless animals, among other cruel acts.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960:

  • The Act's goals are to prevent the needless suffering or pain of animals and to amend the laws pertaining to the prevention of animal cruelty.
  • According to the Act, an "animal" is any living thing that is not a human.

The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972

  • It aims to protect all plant and animal species in the nation to guarantee ecological and environmental security.
  • The Act allows for the creation of zoos, national parks, and wildlife sanctuaries while forbidding the hunting of endangered species.

Way Forward

  • Animal rights are effectively supported by our judicial rulings and legislative provisions, but no rights are absolute. Animal rights must be regulated, just like human rights.
  • The urgent need is to strike a balance between protecting humans' safety and wellbeing without sacrificing the interests of animals. Animal cruelty must end.
  • Humans need to stop treating other species with patronising condescension.
  • It is unacceptable to allow humankind's pure intellectual superiority to trump the living rights of other species. The coexistence of all life forms is absolutely necessary to keep our eco-system from becoming out of balance.

Read Also: Wildlife Protection Amendment Bill 2021

Source: The Indian express

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