India attain ‘C’ rank, need to improve in many domains
Animal Protection Index 2020 released by World Animal Protection highlighted that India is improving in the area of animal protection. The objective of the Animal Protection Index (API) is to showcase what and how countries across the world are treating animals.
It also aims to highlight countries that are doing well for animal welfare. Also, if they fall short on animal welfare policies they can take necessary steps to improve. The Animal Protection Index 2020 ranks various countries from A (highest score) to G (lowest score) as per their policies and constitutional system.
India specific findings
India has scored ‘C’ ranking in the Animal Protection Index 2020. Some other countries like Spain, New Zealand, France, and Mexico also attained ‘C’ ranking in the index. India has also made progress in protecting animals used in scientific research. India has banned the use of cosmetic products on animals in 2013. India was the first country in Asia to ban the import of cosmetic products that were tested on animals in 2014.
On the other hand, API said that India can consider many domains for improvement in the animal welfare sector. The report said that there is a lack of regulation regarding the rearing of farm animals, notably with an unregulated urban dairy system developing quickly with very poor welfare standards.
The API report said that in March 2017, Uttarakhand High Court accorded the status of the ‘first living entity of India’ to the river Ganga. Also, in July 2018, the Uttarakhand High Court granted the status of legal persons or entities to animals in the Northern state. Similarly, the Punjab and Haryana High Court declared that animals are living persons with their own set of rights.
The Government of India should be recognized for making its prevention of cruelty to animals act applicable to all animals. Building upon the current prevention of cruelty to animals act, which recognizes that animals can suffer physically and mentally, the Government of India is strongly encouraged to publicly recognize animals as sentient beings and to enshrine animal sentient in the law. The report suggested that the current fine of up to Rs. 50 is not a sufficient enough penalty to act as a disincentive for animal cruelty and to ensure that people treat animals correctly, as sentient beings.