Animals Have Rights Too
Shackled in chains and crouched in front of a banner bearing civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr’s famous quote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” along with the message “Pass Animal Welfare Act, 2011”, three members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India protested outside Parliament on the day before internationally celebrated Human Rights Day (10 December). The day is also Animal Rights Day.
PETA India displayed the Universal Declaration of Animal Rights – a declaration that takes its name from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is supported by animal protection groups around the world. PETA’s point? That we must break down the false barrier between humans and other species that leads humans to mistreat animals and that we must think about how our actions either perpetuate or prevent abuse and exploitation.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, is a woefully outdated law that imposes fines so low that they have virtually no deterrent effect. The Ministry of Environment and Forests has drafted a new law – the Animal Welfare Act, 2011 – that would dramatically increase the penalties for animal abuse. The current penalty for cruelty to animals is 10 to 50 rupees for the first offence, which may go up to 100 rupees for a subsequent offence or up to three months in prison. The new proposed act would provide for a penalty of 10,000 to 25,000 rupees or imprisonment for up to two years – or both – for a first offence and 50,000 to one lakh rupees and imprisonment for one to three years for a subsequent offence.
Please write to the Ministry of Environment and Forests to urge it to pass the Animal Welfare Act, 2011. Take action here.