Cruelty Towards Animals
- Part 1 -

Angelina Naorem *


In the Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary, animal welfare also known as animal care is defined as "the avoidance of abuse and exploitation of animals by humans by maintaining appropriate standards of accommodation, feeding and general care, the prevention and treatment of disease and the assurance of freedom from harassment, and unnecessary discomfort and pain."

Animal welfare was a concern of some ancient civilizations but began to take a larger place in Western public policy in 19th-century Great Britain. In the 21st century, it is a significant focus of interest in science, ethics, and animal welfare organizations. Concern for animal welfare is often based on the belief that non-human animals are sentient and that consideration should be given to their well-being or suffering, especially when they are under the care of humans. These concerns can include how animals are slaughtered for food, how they are used in scientific research, how they are kept (as pets, in zoos, farms, circuses, etc.), and how human activities affect the welfare and survival of wild species.

Animal care seeks to re-affirm the independence and friendship between human and animal informing what is important to animals and how they should be treated. The notion " animals should be allowed to roam freely" is a great ideal but unfortunately it isn't practical especially in heavily populated areas where there is a lot of vehicle traffic, too many dangers for the animals and the people who encounter them. Animals end up in the circus because circus people say children think it's funny. They are starved, and made to do unnatural things. Whether animals are domesticated or wild, used in the production of food, for science, sports, entertainment or any other field, they deserve freedom from cruelty.

Animal welfare refers to a utilitarian attitude towards the well-being of nonhuman animals. It believes the animals can be exploited if the animal suffering and the costs of use is less than the benefits to humans. An example of welfarist thought is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's meat manifesto-
"Think about the animals that the meat you eat comes from. Are you at all concerned about how they have been treated? Have they lived well? Have they been fed on safe, appropriate foods? Have they been cared for by someone who respects them and enjoys contact with them? Would you like to be sure of that? Perhaps it's time to find out a bit more about where the meat you eat comes from. Or to buy from a source that reassures you about these points."

If you really want to make a difference, turn Vegetarian….
You will be healthier, happier and much more considerate.
It's good for you and the planet!!

According to PETA's Ingrid Newkirk, there are two issues in animal welfare and animal rights. "If I only could have one thing, it would be to end suffering", said Newkirk. "If you could take things from animals and kill animals all day long without causing them suffering, then I would take it... Everybody should be able to agree that animals should not suffer if you kill them or steal from them by taking the fur off their backs or take their eggs, whatever. But you shouldn't put them through torture to do that."

Animal Laws

Laws punishing cruelty to animals tend to not just be based on welfare concerns but the belief that such behavior has repercussions toward the treatment of other humans by the animal abusers. Systematic concern for the well-being of other animals probably arose in the Indus Valley Civilization as religious ancestors were believed to return in animal form; therefore animals must be treated with respect. This belief is exemplified in the existing religion, Jainism, and in varieties of other Indian religions.

One of the first national laws to protect animals was the UK "Cruelty to Animals Act 1835" followed by the "Protection of Animals Act 1911". In the US it was many years until there was a national law to protect animals—the "Animal Welfare Act of 1966"—although there were a number of states that passed anti-cruelty laws between 1828 and 1898.

Article 51A (g) of the Constitution of India lays down that "it shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for all living creatures."

In India, animals are protected by the "Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960", "The Transport of Animal Rules, 1978", "The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972", "The Performing Animals Rules, 1973", "The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals( Slaughter House) Rules, 2001" and "The Experiments On Animals( Control And Supervision) Rules, 1968".

Veterinary Hospitals and Animal Clinics

A veterinary hospital or animal care clinic is a hospital, doctor's office, or medical building for the treatment of non-human animals. It is a place for provision of medical care to animals. There are millions of animal care clinics and veterinary hospitals all over the world for the welfare and care of both domestic and wild animals.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has defined animal welfare as: "An animal is in a good state of welfare if it is healthy, comfortable, well-nourished, safe, able to express innate behavior, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress." They have offered the following principles for developing and evaluating animal welfare policies:
1) The responsible use of animals for human purposes, such as companionship, food, fiber, recreation, work, education, exhibition, and research conducted for the benefit of both humans and animals, is consistent with the Veterinarian's Oath.
2) Decisions regarding animal care, use, and welfare shall be made by balancing scientific knowledge and professional judgment with consideration of ethical and societal values.
3) Animals must be provided water, food, proper handling, health care, and an environment appropriate to their care and use, with thoughtful consideration for their species-typical biology and behavior.
4) Animals should be cared for in ways that minimize fear, pain, stress, and suffering.
5) Procedures related to animal housing, management, care, and use should be continuously evaluated, and when indicated, refined or replaced.
6) Conservation and management of animal populations should be humane, socially responsible, and scientifically prudent.
7) Animals shall be treated with respect and dignity throughout their lives and, when necessary, provided a humane death. The veterinary profession shall continually strive to improve animal health and welfare through scientific research, education, collaboration, advocacy, and the development of legislation and regulations.

Stray Animals

Stray animals are lost pets that were not kept properly indoors or provided with identification. Only one out of every ten dogs born will find a permanent home. The main reason animals are homeless is because owners give them up. Our garbage breeds stray animals and the new dogs may carry rabies, bite, fight and have puppies. These stray dogs are often picked up by the animal shelter homes, vaccinated and put up for adoption. But the increasing number of stray animals has outnumbered the accommodation capacity of the animal shelter homes.

Everyday 150 people die of rabies. Each year, millions of dogs are inhumanely culled in an attempt to stop the spread of rabies. Scientific evidence suggests that culling dogs does not stop the spread of rabies. Mass dog vaccination is the only effective and sustainable approach to canine rabies. It stops cruelty, protects the community and saves money.

One should start campaigns and programmes in the community to protect stray animals by befriending and counting local dogs, feed and support homeless animals and have them vaccinated and sterilized against rabies and put up for adoption. One should avoid the use of plastics and use only bio-degradable items and avoid pollution of any kind and spread awareness. Every year April 4 is observed as "Stray Animals Day".

Cruelty towards Animals

Cruelty against animals can be classified broadly into the following categories:
o Entertainment
o Fashion
o Laboratory experiments
o Exotic pet trade
o Hunting
o Aquatic prisons
o Commercial breeding
o Genetic manipulation

To be continued

* Angelina Naorem wrote this article for
The writer is BBA-LLB (Hons.) , School of Law, ITM University, Gurgaon and can be contacted at angelinanaorem(aT)gmail(doT)com
This article was posted on May 24, 2015.

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