Human beings are considered to be the most intelligent, civilized, social animals on Earth. With the passage of time, they developed a civilized culture and drove out the animal category. Further, through their intelligence, they controlled the wilderness of all other species. There starts the man-animal relation. Ancient records show that man used animals at different fronts. Records from the earliest civilizations show that the cat was the first tamed animal by man, followed by dogs and other cattle.
In the evolutionary stages of human beings, it is true that the hunter man tamed dogs and the agriculture man domesticated cattle. They used animals as according to their need. Regardless of what history presents, the truth is that animal is most faithful friend of man.
In the modern age, the use of animals was replaced by machinery in developed countries, whereas the use of animals for different works could be seen commonly in developing and under developed nations. Being the super species, human beings control all other species; but they still have sentiments and emotions towards animals. That is what we call humanity.
These days, in a struggle for achieving physical materials, humans are compromising on their humanity, which is affecting their emotions for animals, resulting into the cruelty towards animals. To check the acts of cruelty, the concept of ‘Animal Welfare’ (AW) evolved. Mahatma Gandhi has truly stated that: “The greatness of Nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”.
Article 51 – A(g) of The constitution of India states that “it is the fundamental duty of every citizen of this country to be kind and considerate to every living being”. In December 1960, The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (PCA Act 1960) was enacted in India. This Act is concerned with the prevention of cruelty towards animals and the promotion of AW through the formation of AW organizations. It was in accordance with this Act, that the AW Board of India (AWBI) was set up in 1962 (March 19) under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, but handed over to the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1990 (March 28). Under the sub-section (2) of Section 38 of the PCA Act, 1960, the Central Government made several rules as according to need from 1960s to 2000s.
Many organizations are coming forward on the issue of AW. They have different policies, aims and objectives, their own strategies and working styles, but all of them have one stand on AW. The National Institute of Animal Welfare (NIAW) at Ballabhgarh, Faridabad in India, trains and educates its students on AW.
Peoples Ethical Treatment for Animals (PETA) is one of the most renowned organizations working in the field of AW. The “Compassionate Citizen” card with the membership is provided to all those persons who work on the issue of AW. The organization has created great awareness on the AW worldwide. The celebrities and established figures of particular nations were involved in raising awareness on the AW in world by PETA. World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is yet another name on the international platform working on AW.
In India, Ms. Maneka Gandhi is a well known figure working in this field. The Peoples for Animals (PFA) is yet another group of workers in India, working for AW. The PFA has raised their voice throughout the country against cruelty towards animals.
Moving from people to community, one may find Vishnois from Rajasthan. The whole of the community is known as the savior of animals. Records from History show that the Indian land is known as the land where all forms of life has equity of living. Then the question arises, why raise the issue of Animal Welfare? What is the need of the PCA Act? Is it required in a country like ours? The answer is YES, because we have forgotten the concept of Mutual Relationship, the theory of Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam, of Ahimsa parma dharmah, the simple philosophy of Khud jiyo, auoron ko bhi jeene do. So awareness and strict laws on preventing cruelty towards animals is the need of time! After all, we are a democracy, aren’t we?
“All beings are found of themselves, they like pleasure, they hate pain, they shun destruction, and they like life and want to live long. To all, life is dear; hence their life should be protected.” – Mahavir Swami
Satya Prakash Mehra
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