Animal torture is not uncommon in India or anywhere else around the world. Any kind of slaughtering and merciless behavior towards animals is a punishable offense under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 (PCA Act 1960). It is also mentioned in Article 21 (Right to Life) of The Indian Constitution – conferring the right to live a life of worth and dignity with the motive of preventing animals from unlawfully being deprived of their love. However, the lack of awareness and supremacy of human behavior turns helpless animals into victims of painful and cruel sufferings.
A person watching the crime being conducted is considered equally guilty as the person who is committing the crime. I have heard many people complaining that they are against animal cruelty but stopping and confronting such people who do it is something not in their hand. This is not acceptable behavior, a person does not need to be of some particular authority to do their part in ruling out ‘animal torture’ out of society. There are many things you can do when you see someone torturing an animal in any way be it their pet or stray.
First and the foremost thing is to bring your conscience into play and identify the intensity of the torture. If the animal is injured anywhere then stop the person from torturing the animal immediately and safeguard the animal by calling for nearby medical help. You must always carry an animal NGO number, hospital helpline number, or an animal welfare organization number saved in your contact list to use them at the right time for medical emergencies. Even if the tortured animal is not injured, it is more appropriate to refer it to an animal welfare organization for primary assessment and check-up. Since animal cruelty is an unlawful act and a punishable offense, don’t hesitate to call the police right away. Meanwhile, talk to the culprit confronting him/her about the reason for such an act. India still lacks far behind in terms of literacy and education. Many such people, apart from unknowingly doing such heinous acts daily, do not even realize that they are committing a crime. A crime against the law and a crime against humanity. If possible, you can make educate them on the laws and try to generate empathy towards animals. You must understand the law yourself first so that you can pass it on to someone else. If the abuser realizes his/her mistake and feels sorry for the same, you can ask for a written apology and promise not to repeat themselves in the future given that the torture did not cause great harm to the animal. Else, you can file a complaint with the police under the PCA Act and IPC sections identifying yourself as the witness. It is also advised to take the photograph and video of the cruel act which will be always helpful to prove our point. The applicable charges will fall under Section 11 in The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and under IPC 503 for Criminal Intimidation. Also, you can always reach the District SPCA for any assistance. Also, in unfortunate cases, if the Animal has died because of poisoning, maiming, or hitting then IPC 428 is imposed. Whereas if it’s a cattle, then IPC 429 is imposed.
There are many subsections in the PCA Act 1960 amongst which few are cognizable while others are non-cognizable. Serious offenses are categorized in Cognizable Offence and the Police officer has the authority to arrest the offender without a warrant. While on the other hand, in non-cognizable offenses Police Officer cannot arrest the offender without a warrant. To start the Investigation, Police must seek the approval of Magistrate.
Few of the subsections of the PCA Act Section 11 are very important and should be remembered by every animal welfare activists. Section 11(1)a of the PCA Act tells about Kicking, beating, over-riding, over-loads or any kind of unnecessary torture or pain to the animal is a punishable offense. Similarly, there are many other sub sections which can be read by clicking here.
Speaking up for the ones who cannot speak for themselves is the least contribution you can give to humanity. Needless to say, being an ignorant and unaware citizen is the depiction of being an immoral, inhumane, and a coward human being.