Victory! Following PETA pressure, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has asked all political parties to refrain from using any animals for election campaigns. In an advisory dated 19 September, the Election Commission of India has also notified all Indian political parties that any violations of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, will not be tolerated.
Bulls, donkeys, elephants and other animals used in election campaigns are commonly beaten, shoved into terrifying crowds, overloaded and otherwise abused. They are also often undernourished and denied adequate food and water. Wounds and other injuries are common.
“This is a victory for all animals, who are easy targets of abuse as they are routinely paraded through the streets during elections”, says Dr Manilal Valliyate, PETA India’s director of veterinary affairs. “Donkeys, bulls and elephants have no political allegiances and do not deserve to be whipped and forced through crowds or bullied by people who don’t agree with the other party’s politics.”
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, states that anyone who “beats, kicks, over-rides, over-drives, over-loads, tortures or otherwise treats any animal so as to subject [him or her] to unnecessary pain or suffering or … being the owner, permits any animal to be so treated” is in violation of the law. Yet animals used in political rallies were routinely subjected to many of these abusive acts.
See the Election Commission of India’s advisory to political parties here.