"Cul­tural pro­gres­sion"

Down to Earth - - THE FORTNIGHT -

WHO: Gauri Maulekhi, an­i­mal rights ac­tivist and ex­ec­u­tive sec­re­tary of So­ci­ety for the Pre­ven­tion of Cru­elty to An­i­mals (SPCA), Dehradun

WHAT: In July, the Ut­tarak­hand high court de­clared that all mem­bers of the an­i­mal king­dom, in­clud­ing birds and aquatic life have sim­i­lar rights as hu­mans.

WHY: This or­der and the one by the Supreme Court ear­lier, sug­gest­ing that all sen­tient be­ings have the right to life under Ar­ti­cle 21, are an in­di­ca­tion of our pro­gres­sion as a cul­ture and civil­i­sa­tion. It is of­fen­sive and il­log­i­cal to treat sen­tient be­ings like inan­i­mate ob­jects, and the time has come to change our out­look. This or­der will go a long way in build­ing a com­pas­sion­ate so­ci­ety. There are around 40,000 equines used in mines, on roads and for re­li­gious tourism in Ut­tarak­hand. The ap­a­thy of the gov­ern­ment is such that not a sin­gle case is booked in any dis­trict for over­load­ing/abuse, de­spite the law be­ing flouted brazenly. The dis­trict SPCAs are now ex­pected to take steps to pre­vent cru­elty by outreach pro­grammes and pros­e­cut­ing the vi­o­la­tors. Also there are di­rec­tions for the state gov­ern­ment to make shel­ters for such an­i­mals.

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