Sexual abuse of animals and their protection
Animal abuse deserves as much attention as the abuse of a human
Newspaper headlines have never been positive and they have always pointed out the animalistic instincts in all of us. But few people have taken their animalistic and primitive instincts to a new low and made it to the front pages by sexually abusing animals. A watchman in an apartment was recently apprehended for sexually abusing a pregnant dog once his act was caught on CCTV cameras. While animal abuse, in general, garners a lot of attention and protest, their sexual abuse is something that rarely crosses our minds.
When it comes to bestiality, Section 377 already covers this as a crime under ‘sexual acts against the order of nature’. However, the problem lies with the fact that in a country as narrow-minded as India, bestiality is equated with homosexual ‘perversions’ along with the absence of the word ‘consent ‘and hence the whole concept of animal sexual abuse gets nullified.
Bestiality has been condemned in the religious scriptures of all the major religions of the world, be it Hinduism, Islam or Christianity. But the need of the hour is not about invoking the fear of God, rather the emphasis should be on the fact that bestiality harms the very existence of animals.
The Indian constitution already mentions that it is the fundamental duty of every citizen to have compassion for all living creatures, Article 51(A). This compassion seems to be missing amongst the majority of citizens since they do not think twice before committing zoophilia (bestiality).
India has one of the most comprehensive provisions for the protection of animals. Animals in India are protected by Section 11(a) to (o) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. A few of the poignant provisions of this Act are-
- The law strictly provides that it is punishable by imprisonment and fine if any animal is treated with cruelty or if given poisonous food
- Fine or imprisonment for transporting any animal in any manner that will cause them unnecessary suffering. This includes loading cows into trucks without ramps and overcrowding the vehicle as well as tying up pigs and carrying them on cycles
- It is illegal to kill homeless animals. Citizens may only report what they perceive as a nuisance to the municipal authorities. The municipality is required to maintain an animal pound for animals.
- Sections 428 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code make it illegal to maim or cause injury to any animal
The problem lies with the fact that the act of sex with animals is rarely thought about or caught and the animals obviously do not have any voice to go to the police. It depends on conscientious citizens to ensure that no such acts take place and when they do, diligently report it to animal welfare boards and/or the police. Instead of stopping the slaughter of animals which help feed the economy as well as stomachs of many individuals, India needs to awaken to the reality of zoophilia (bestiality).
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