With increasing developments in science, there is a surge of medicines and vaccines to treat various diseases that were incurable till just a few years back. But have you ever wondered about the reason behind the sudden advancement of medical science? By ‘sudden’ I do not mean overnight advancement but definitely the whole of last 100 years of advancement. The very recent example of this advancement is the development of Covid-19 vaccines by different countries all over the world within just one year of the outbreak of this infectious viral disease. Animals have played an important part in the advancement of medical science as all the medicines and vaccines are first tried on animals such as rats, and later on the human trials are carried out if the animal on whom the test was done survives. The term cruelty often gives the idea of physically hurting someone. Imagine a person being randomly picked up by the scientists for clinical trials of the vaccines and medicines without his consent. Won’t this be included in cruelty? Then the animals being used for trials of vaccines, isn’t that a form of cruelty to them? Similarly, hitting, beating and causing death to animals should not be considered only a crime, but a sin as well. The animals can’t speak about their pain but they are living beings like anyone of us and they do not deserve such cruel treatment by the humans.
Very recently the Kerala High Court paid tribute to a deceased Labrador retriever dog by naming his case as ‘In Re: Bruno’ who became a target of ill-minded people and lost his life. The court said, “fitting tribute to the hapless dog that succumbed to acts of human cruelty, and disturbed by which incident we had initiated these proceedings”. The court had initiated suo motu proceedings in this case to protect the rights of animals in the state of Kerala.
It is usually seen that cruelty to human beings is still taken into consideration and is handled with seriousness but in case of cruelty to animals, the people with express their anger for one or two days and will forget about the same till the third day. A human being can still go to courts if he hasn’t got justice, but where will the animals go? How can they ask for justice?
Another case of a pregnant elephant being fed a pineapple stuffed with explosives killing both the elephant and her unborn child happened in the year of 2020. Many online petitions were filed to give justice to the poor animal. But all lasted not even for 10 days.
Also, many people have no idea that killing of an animal attracts a fine of Rs. 50. Yes, the value of an animal’s life in India is just Rs. 50! The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act states that any person performing ‘phooka’ or ‘doom dev’ on any milch animal i.e., injecting the animal with a substance that increases lactation, will be punished with a fine up to Rs. 1000 and imprisonment which may extend up to two years. The same act exempts persons from using animals in the experiments that are meant for scientific advancements that will help to prolong the lives of human beings, plants or animals.
There are acts, NGOs, welfare boards made to prevent cruelty to animals but none of them are helping much in reducing the cases of cruelty and to provide justice to the animals. There is a need of stricter laws that mention heavy penalty for causing harm to the innocent animals. The Union government had proposed an amendment to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (POCA) to increase penalties against animal cruelty from Rs 50 to Rs 75,000 or “three times the cost of the animal” and imprisonment of up to five years, but the law is yet to be made. Also, with the advancement in science, more attention should be paid on how to avoid using animals for any experiments or at least how to cause them minimum harm because destroying or ending the life of one living being for the purpose of prolonging the life of another living being, ethically and morally has no value.
Written by Yaminee Verma @LEXCLIQ