By Dr. Kuhu Roy & Mrs. Hansa Roy
As we draw to an end of 2021, our wish for 2022 is strengthening of the animal protection laws in India.
As you might be aware, the Union Ministry has asked all the stakeholders (all of us) to send in their suggestions for the amendment of ‘Prevention to Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960,’ earlier this year, please find below our communication that we had sent to the Ministry in April, 2021. All of us who spend our emotions, time, energy, money for a better tomorrow of not only animals but humans too, know very well that no precious life form is mere fifty.
The Union Ministry,
Government of India
To begin with, we want to thank you for considering the amendment of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 that, hopefully, will add more teeth to the law. We intend to make the following suggestions to the proposed amendment.
- Insertion of new section 11A – Gruesome cruelty and 11B Killing of animal: Malpractices of stray dog removal, killing, botched up surgeries, that go on under the garb of animal birth control programme (the most scientifically sound and humane programme needs to be digitised for transparency with involvement of non-vested interests to cut out the red tape and benefit humans and animals both) be also brought under its ambit. Botchy animal sterilisation, making money out of savagery and butchery, leads to as gruesome deaths of stray dogs, sadly by very those who should protect them from harm in the first place.
- Section 11C: One of the most brutal and blood curdling deaths that animals on the roads endure is due to accidents. It cannot be exempted. Those who undervalue these animals will continue to mercilessly run them down without the fear of being caught. Better still, there should be provision for making such offenders visit the disabled ward of an animal shelter to give them a feel of what their callousness results in.
- Most ghastly episodes of cruelty involve the animals being hit, butchered, raped under the very clause of ‘killing of an animal in defence of self or property.’ 11C WILL BE MISUSED TO PERPETUATE MORE CRUELTY, WITH THE SANCTION OF THE LAW. If anyone hits an animal just because it looks at them or barks, or hits it for no reason altogether just like scores of haters do out of sadism (the Board must recall how a stray dog named Rheo was battered to death for sleeping in shade taking refuge from the sweltering heat of Baroda and the uncountable who meet the same fate every single day) or a cat that crosses someone’s path, or an abandoned cow that aimlessly roams around after being abandoned; the animals will fall prey to unimaginable cruelty, while the most vicious offenders will go away scot free claiming the animal was a threat to them or their property! 11C IS ALL IN FAVOUR OF THOSE WHO THINK ANIMALS DO NOT DESERVE TO SHARE SPACE WITH US ON THIS EARTH, which is why 11C definitely needs a reconsideration. THE ENTIRE AMENDMENT WILL GO DOWN THE DRAIN OR LOOK LIKE A BIG FARCE IF 11C COMES INTO EXISTENCE.
- Crackdown on unscrupulous breeders and blacklisting of those who abandon animals: A very cruel and vile industry that thrives on agonising the mother dogs by repeatedly impregnating them for their pups to be sold is equivalent to animal trafficking. Dogs are sold off as commodities, mother dogs are abandoned once unable to deliver more pups and the majority of these pups land up in the hands of unworthy owners who eventually abandon them. We request for blacklisting of those who abandon animals so that they never be allowed to keep any in future. There is an unscrupulous breeder at every nook and corner who makes money out of this savagery. PET SHOP RULES exist only on paper, about time they truly come into existence. The abandoning of these pups gives rise to further increase in the population of the street dogs, thus interfering with the animal birth control programme.
- Holding NGOs accountable for every single stray dog picked up either for sterilisation or treatment. Animals that can be saved are not saved because there is no one to keep a watch on them and there is no fear of the law either. MOST OF THE VICIOUS MISDEEDS IN THE NAME OF ANIMAL WELFARE ARE BRUSHED UNDER THE CARPET GOING BY THE ‘YOU SCRATCH MY BACK AND I WILL SCRATCH YOURS.’
- Introducing humane education in the school curriculum right from lower kindergarten days. It is very important to catch children young to mould them to become compassionate right from the beginning. A positive change in their attitude can further bring a good change to that of their parents towards animals, especially street animals.
- Government hospitals to maintain records for differentiating bites of pets vs that of strays as it is the latter who always bears the brunt of dog bite accusations, at the same time, ensuring the numbers are not exaggerated as a booster shot is also taken to be that of a fresh bite case.
- Registration of foster homes: Foster homes are now the new hub of cruelty and massive abandonment.
- Cutting down on the Indian puppy mill system: Thanks to social media, in the name of adoption of stray/Desi dogs, many people have made a business out of it in the form of repeatedly making the stray mother dogs multiply to have pups put up for adoption rather than cutting down the supply by sterilisation.Basically, they are no different than the unscrupulous breeders. We call it the Indian puppy mill system, a vicious industry making the lives of the stray dogs even more deplorable. While one is joyous at the prospect of ‘Puppy adoption camps’ where do so many pups come from when their mothers could have been sterilised beforehand? Why increase the load when there are already so many needy waiting to be homed ? And sadly, no one talks about the aftermath of such camps, the rate at which these pups are either returned or sent to a shelter. It is sad and unfortunate that it is the animal lovers who make the lives of these animals more miserable.
- Media houses are sensitised to publish fact checked information.
- Last and by no means the least, graduating from a mere fine of fifty to that of 750 is not actually an amendment in any sense. Penalty needs to be calculated as per the inflation rate should we be talking of products for consumers, but here they are laws, meant to deter crimes against animals.
- Since human and animal welfare go hand in hand, it becomes all the more necessary to track animal abusers. Tracking those who are cruel to animals can help us prevent further crimes on not only animals, but also help protect our children and us women. Criminals always begin with animals. They are the stepping stone. Because we live in a society where it is absolutely alright to stick and stone animals and be vicious to them, going unpunished and unchecked only adds to embolden their criminal instincts. They graduate from animals, to children and women. By the time they are caught, it is often too late as the damage done to the society is unrepairable. THE NATIONAL CRIME REGISTER SHOULD ALSO INCLUDE ANIMAL ABUSERS. Collection of retrospective data from the criminals lodged at various facilities will help throw light and association on the said clause. We vouch for it they all began with animals.
We sincerely hope the above points are pondered over so that we can have a concrete change we can boast of in the name of strengthening animal laws in India.
Dr. Kuhu Roy and Mrs. Hansa Roy