At the beginning of last week I read that a pregnant female elephant in Palakkad district of Kerala was fed pineapple filled with crackers to eliminate her. Then towards the end of the week there were images of a pregnant cow’s busted face after eating wheat flour ball laced with firecrackers from Himachal Pradesh. Both the news went viral and soon the first one even attained a political angle, but today as an animal lover I am not going to write about the politicising of animal cruelty but about cruelty meted out to voiceless animals as a whole and how we can help report this cruelty.
Why and how are animals eliminated?
In defence of the humans it was said that local farmers embed pineapples with crackers to protect their crops against wild boars and that the elephant unknowingly ate the pineapple. The same explanation has been given for the cow. This may be true but it doesn’t take away the intent to cause cruelty to an animal be it an elephant, cow or a boar.
Wild animals in human habitation
We all know that wild animals stray into the villages and farms because we humans took over their natural habitat. When we involve in deforestation it becomes a reason for the wild animals to transgress into the human spaces. Remember forest areas are the animals prey base and the corridors for their natural movement, which are now encroached upon by humans so the animals enter into human habitats in search of food and water. Forests are shrinking every day so is that the fault of the animals? Instead of not allowing encroachments near the forests which are causing the animals to enter human habitation we kill them cruelly.
What does our law say?
Many amongst us perhaps are mute witnesses to incidences of animal cruelty happening all around us even though killing or torturing animals is considered to be a crime. Do you know that there are laws in this country for protection of cruelty towards animals? The main laws are The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. However, how many of us are aware of these laws and in the wake of our ignorance, animals helplessly fall victims to needs and deeds of human beings.
What comes under cruelty to animals?
How many of us report overloading of donkeys with bricks, exhausting the elephant and camels to the point of collapse with over riding in a mela or at a tourist spot, whipping the horse and the ox pulling the horse carriage or the bullock cart? Do you even notice stuffing of chickens in cages in your local meat shop, transporting cattle and livestock one on top of the other in trucks? If you treat your pet with neglect by not providing him food or water or chaining him in the sun, killing, maiming beating him all each of these acts is an act of animal cruelty. These acts can be booked under either Section 11 or Section 12 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 (PCA Act 1960). It is a Central Act and is in force throughout the country.
How to be a vigilant animal lover and protector
If you are an animal lover get to know the laws of our country first. If you are witness to any act of cruelty against an animal then you can complain to the local state SPCA (Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)/Animal Welfare Organisations working in your area. Alternatively you can first contact a veterinary hospital to provide relief to the suffering animal.Police can be approached as they are the major enforcement body for the PCA Act 1960. Any offence against the animal those listed in Section 11 or 12 of the PCA Act can be reported to the police. Document what you have observed; give precise dates, times, locations and photographic evidence if any. Most important point to remember – keep a photocopy of all the evidence with yourself. Get a veterinary doctor’s certificate for the animal in consideration as it would prove to be good supporting evidence. Finally, be the voice for these voiceless animals, use whatever platforms available to stand up against cruelty to animals, social media being one of them. Remember social media outrage only made authorities take notice of the cruelty meted out to the female pregnant elephant.
I truly believe this world belongs to all living beings and not just to humans and so will fight for the rights of all beings and stand up to cruelty against them.
(The views expressed are the writer’s own)
Smita Singh is a freelance writer who has over 17 years of experience in the field of print media, publishing, and education. Having worked with newspapers like The Times of India (as freelancer), National Mail, DainikBhaskar and DB Post, she has also worked with Rupa& Co, a book publishing house and edited over 30 books in all genres.
She has worked with magazines like Discover India and websites called HolidayIQ and Hikezee (now Go Road Trip). She has also written for Swagat (former in-flight magazine of Air India), Gatirang (magazine of MarutiUdyog), India Perspectives (magazine for Ministry of External Affairs) and Haute Wheels (magazine of Honda).
After turning freelance writer she wrote on art and architecture for India Art n Design. She also worked for Princeton Review as a full-time Admissions Editor and then IDP Education Private Limited as an Application Support Consultant. Smita has her own website called bookaholicanonymous.com which supports her love for books and reading!
You can reach her at: [email protected]
(Collage made with images from Internet)