By DN Singh
“ Greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated” said Mahatma Gandhi.
Here is a wake-up call for all those who intentionally or otherwise get cruel with animals and get away with a meager penalty but no regrets!
It has become a long wait for the Prevention Of Cruelty to Animals Act (1960) is made enough stringent than what it is today. The draft that has been prepared by the union ministry of Fisheries & Animal Husbandry is all set to get into the public domain before being legislated. The step by the ministry is admirable and path breaking.
When we think about incidents of fairly recent origin, it brings into mind the falling level of compassion for animals. In the Silent Valley forest in Kerala an elephant was fed a pineapple stuffed with powder of fire-crackers and the animal died a miserable death that stirred the conscience worldwide.
Fine Line Between Discipline & Abuse
The new draft has come dot on target by a stark departure from the symbolic penal provisions on cruelty to animals. Earlier it was a paltry Rs. 10 to Rs. 50 for an offence like cruelty to an animal or such an act of cruelty which leads to the death of the animal.
Now the new draft on PCA is being made more punishing so that one does not get away paying a small amount and sidestep the pain of the victim animal.
There might be a fine line between discipline and abuse. But that is rare. So many animals get into traps of human neglect and die or get deformities for lifetime.
New Draft Punishing
The new draft has proposed “penalty up to Rs. 75,000 or three times the cost of the animal with a jail term up to five years or both if an act of an individual or an organization leads to an animal’s death”.
The draft however categorized the offences like, “minor injury, major injury leading to permanent disability and to death of an animal due to cruel practice” and described different penalties ranging from Rs.750 to Rs.75,000 and a jail term up to five years”.
It is often said that, dog is our best friend and the relationship with the elephants is timeless. Dogs, of course, do not possess the same thought or wisdom pattern as human hence, any human act that causes pain to a dog or elephants, is nothing but abuse.
Dogs are the most common victims of animal abuse, be it at homes or outside on the streets. Which accounts for above 64% of all cases of animal cruelty.
According to an estimate about one million animals are subjected to abuse in which dogs constitute the majority.
Every other day the media reports speak about death of animals like elephants in the wild either due to electrocution or hit by a train or by the designs of human who try to get rid of an elephant by laying naked charged wires or even poisoning .
It good thing that the union ministry has decided to give the draft to public domain so that the opinions of organizations working for animals and individuals can give their views on the draft.
About the Author:
DN Singh is a Bhubaneswar-based senior journalist.
This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with the www.prameyanews.com