Following efforts by PETA India to ensure that animals aren’t used in election campaigns, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued a new “Manual on Model Code of Conduct”, which – in the section titled “Use of Animals in Election Process” – states, “The Election Commission has advised the political parties and candidates, to refrain from using any animal for election campaign in any manner. Even a party, having reserved symbol depicting an animal should not make live demonstration of that animal in any election campaign of the Party/any of its candidate.” Under “Regulation of Road Shows During Elections”, the manual also states, “Display of animals in road shows is totally banned.”
As we had previously advised ECI, the state election commissions, and political parties, during election campaigns and political rallies, animals are terrified by being forced into the middle of screaming crowds. They’re often beaten, whipped, kicked, and terrorised while being paraded through the streets and shoved into mobs in which people are shouting and pushing. They’re also often forced to carry loads in excess of their physical capacities and denied adequate food and water, and they can be seriously injured in the mayhem.
Following a PETA India appeal, in 2012, ECI issued an advisory to all political parties asking them to refrain from using animals for political campaigns. Subsequent to a request by PETA India referring to this advisory, many state election commissions – including those of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Mizoram, Sikkim, and Tamil Nadu – as well as authorities for the Andaman and Nicobar islands confirmed that the use of live animals to represent political parties will no longer be allowed in election campaigns there. In a 2013 notification, the State Election Commission of Maharashtra prohibited the use of donkeys, bulls, elephants, and cows during election campaigns and also issued instructions to authorities to take strict action against those who violate animal-protection laws.
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Join us in requesting stronger animal-protection laws in the country.