By M.C. Linthoingambee
People and animals have always co-existed hand in hand creating histories that outlives even our very own lifetime. Although in the least expected time there have been moments where they even bought us unexpected happiness and surprises. The legend of Balto, a Syberian Husky who led his entire sled thereby saving an entire village from a growing epidemic by delivering medicine in the cold and harsh winter madness of Alaska is immortalized in a 1995 film. The legend of Hachiko, a Japanese dog breed of Akita is another true story made into a film depicting his remarkable loyalty to his owner through his wait for his owner for nine years after his owner’s death at the station where the duo often greeted each other and bade their goodbyes at Shibuya Station in Japan. There are many more such stories where animals have shown their loyalty or shown exemplary courage by saving their owners from peril.
I immediately thought of these stories following the outrage over arrest of a man for kidnapping and killing of a dog who was a dear member of a family by a group working for the welfare of animals and operating in Manipur. Yes, it is against the law to kill even animals. It is the fundamental duty of every citiizen of India to owe a duty of care for all animal species. In a developing country like ours, with nearly a bigger number of poor people we are often reluctant to care more for any animal as we find it difficult to feed our own mouths. The number of stray dogs that looms in Delhi are far greater than the beggars in the street.
We do things sometimes without realizing the illegality of its places. What are illegal or simply to be taken as being against the law? It is illegal to put any poisonous substance in the food of an animal, it is illegal to transport any animal in any manner that will cause him or her unnecessary suffering which are inclusive of loading cows, horses, etc into trucks, airplanes in a crowded manner. It is also illegal to kill homeless animals for the best thing to do in such a situation is to report them as a means of nuisance to the municipal authority of the region. We have seen the attempts of capturing cows from the streets from the streets of India by them even and they see to their proper care by assigning them to new homes and take up other precautionary measures. The Animal Welfare Board of India has established a code of conduct for municipalities. Failure to follow the code can invite contempt of court proceedings. Sections 428 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code make it illegal to disfigure or cause injury to any animal for a monetary price. It also makes it illegal to throw acid on cows. The Code also makes it illegal for cars to purposefully injure or kill dogs, cats and cows on the street. Offenders can be reported to the local animal protection group and police station and a case filed under the above-referenced sections. Punishment is a fine of Rs 2000 and/or a jail term of up to five years. Many of these stray animals also become the liability of research that may assure to put science one step closer to a great fundamental creation but they should not be treated this way. The Rules for Experimental Animals, as formulated by the Committee for the Control and Supervision of Experimental Animals, state that only animals bred for the purpose of research by institutes registered by the Committee may be used for experimentation (although, of course, such animals suffer and feel pain just as much as strays or any other animal). It is illegal for any medical, educational or commercial research institute to pick up stray animals from the street or from the municipal pound for this purpose. Any offender of such crimes is highly liable to end up behind bars if they chose to resist and continue with such acts willfully. It is also important that the population of animals are controlled and kept at par with the human population by not causing damages to the animals. The Animal Welfare Board of India has developed a set of guidelines for all municipalities directing the implementation of the Animal Birth Control (ABC) programme. If there is an animal welfare organization in the area, urge it to take up the ABC programme. The existing legislations like the Wildlife Protection Act, 1967 and the Prevention of Cruelty to animals Act, 1960 are the major shareholders that concerns in keeping the animal species safe.The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) had formulated a draft Animal Welfare Act, 2011, and submitted it to the Ministry of Environment and Forests to replace the outdated Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
Somehow, we have all failed to give the same faith they gave us as always man still continue to pose serious threats to man’s best friend. I do not mean to judge for there are also those who owns pets and exercise this duty in their own ways.