What the Animal Rights Movement Can Do with the New Animal Protection Rules

Much to the joy of the animal rights community of India, the MoEFCC’s recent release of 4 new rules under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 to regulate dog breeders, animal markets, case property animals and aquariums & pet shops that sell fish has caused an upheaval. The radical retaliations pertain not only to the sale of animals for slaughter, but also on the impact on the leather and dairy industry. And though we aren’t fans of animal protection motivated by politics or religion, we are glad that for once, the open secret of the links between the dairy, beef and leather industries, is in the limelight.

Involved in the public consultation process, FIAPO had earlier provided comment to strengthen these rules and so far – the Center has stood by its position of the cattle market rules being put in place to curb illegal trafficking and preventing the sale of cows and buffaloes for slaughter at markets. However, the Madras High Court has granted a stay on this, but, orders from Kerala HC and Rajasthan HC are encouraging, with a judgment from Rajasthan recommending that the cow should be recognized as a legal entity (and also declared a national animal). We are celebrating that with the new rules, buffaloes (for once) are getting the same level of protection as cows, and that the Rajasthan judgment recommends personhood for cows.

But while the pursuit for political and religious supremacy continues, we are sorely disappointed with the blind eye towards a major contributing cause- consumption of dairy and leather. Why are most Indians and the current governing party still turning a blind eye to the fact that the only way to truly save the Gauvansh is to stop using products derived from them? What is really going to happen to the animals that are no longer producing milk? If they are to be sent to the so-called “huge gaushalas” that are yet to be built, who is going to take the responsibility of monitoring what really happens inside these facilities? Are we setting a time bomb that will very soon explode, paving way for more Hingonias? Pulling them out from the miserable slaughterhouses and dumping them into the endless sufferings of Gaushalas, shelters and roads with plastic in their bellies?

The slaughter issue has captured the nation’s imagination –even if it is more focused on religion and politics. So, we are calling on every Indian animal rights activist to do what we do all do best – focus on the animals. The rules regulating the breeding industry aren’t receiving any public attention, but that doesn’t reduce their significance. We have all waited for years for a way to regulate the growing trade in dogs and other pets – and at FIAPO we are concerned that while everyone is paying attention to the market rules and slaughter, the dogs and other animals caught up in the breeding industry are being forgotten. This is a crucial time for us as a community to prepare; to be aware of all possibilities that lie ahead of us and strike when the iron is hot – before the opposition to the breeding regulations gets stronger! If we don’t fortify right now to end the suffering of thousands of puppies and dogs and fish (in addition to cows and bulls and buffaloes) the efforts of our community to bring the rules to the present will be moot.

And so, the single most important thing to do now is to ensure that all the boards, committees and the required infrastructure is in place. Here’s a full list extracted from all the new rules, along with all the information and links you’ll need to have the aforementioned set up. Armed with these, contact your local authorities at the earliest and get started! If you need assistance, write to us at mail@fiapo.org.

Start today – let us not fail our companions and put up a united front for the justice of animals.