The People for Ethical Treatment Of All (PETA) have filed a writ petition before the Delhi High Court seeking an immediate prohibition on practising inhumane animal husbandry procedures and cruel methods adopted for euthanaisia of animals in India. Petitioners also sought enactment of Rules under the Prevention of Cruelty To Animals Act to improve the 'prescribed manner' for the said animal husbandry procedures.
Citing examples of such animal husbandry procedures like dehorning, castration, branding and nose roping, the petitioners state-
"They are exempted from the list of actions constituting cruelty to animals under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty Towards Animals Act, 1960 provided the procedures are followed in a prescribed manner (Section 11(3)(a)). Further, Section 13 provides for euthanizing animals whereas as per procedure laid therein, it would be cruel to keep the suffering animal alive. Thus, the legislative intent for providing the 'prescribed manner' in the statute is to ensure that the aforesaid procedures are carried out in a humane manner and the suffering animals are euthanized on humanitarian grounds."
However, PETA contends that such outdated methods often cause tremendous pain and suffering to animals before death, in contravention of the principle of euthanasia and the mandate of the PCA Act, 1960. The petition argues that 'crude methods' of euthanasia include injecting chemicals that painfully stop the functioning of the heart and lungs while animals are still conscious and burying or burning them alive. A preceding anaesthetic overdose only can prevent a painful death and, hence, rules must be made to prescribe the manner for euthanasia as well, petition states.
Moreover, it is urged that the Indian Veterinary Council Act prescribes that no person other than a registered veterinary practitioner can practise medicine in any State. But a person holding a diploma of veterinary supervisor or stockman issued by the Directorate of Animal Husbandry of any State or any veterinary institution in India is allowed to render certain veterinary services including castration of animals, under the direction and supervision of registered practitioners.
With regard to dehorning of animals, which involves removal of horns of the cattle and disbudding which involves destroying the cells that produce horns, PETA has asserted that in India such procedures are performed in a painful manner with hot iron, embryotomy wires, dehorning knives etc.
Whereas, hot iron branding and nose roping are procedures still used in India in a way that causes extreme pain to such animals. The petition states-
"Cattle in India are commonly subjected to the painful hot iron branding and freeze branding to imprint an identification mark on the body of the animal to signify ownership. Both these procedures are extremely painful for animals.
The injuries caused by nose roping often gets complicated with infection and puss or with maggots."
Citing several advisories and guidelines issued by the Animal Welfare Board of India, PETA has argued-
"Non-action on part of the State is a direct violation of directions passed by the Supreme Court of India in AWBI vs A Nagaraja wherein the apex court had held that five internationally recognized freedoms of animals have to be read into Sections 3 and 11 of the PCA Act and have to protected and safeguarded by the States, Central govt, UTs, MoEF and AWBI."
The Petition has been filed through Advocates Aman Hingorani and Himanshu Yadav