Compassion for Living Creatures in Indian Law Courts
1. Introducing Compassion in the Constitution
1.1. Compassion as an Indian Heritage
the core of religion based upon spiritual values, which the Vedas, Upanishads and Puranas were said to reveal to mankind seem to be “love others, serve others, help ever, hurt never”.(Ramesh Sharma 2014, para. 51)9
Towards the end of his reign, King Asoka in the third century B.C. issued a decree that it [sic] has a particularly contemporary ring in the matter of preservation of wild life and environment. He had written: “Twenty-six years after my coronation, I declare that the following animals were not to be killed, parrots, mynas, the aruna, ruddy geese, wild geese, the nandimukha, cranes, bats, queen, ants, terrapins, boneless fish, rhinoceroses… and all quadrupeds which are not useful or edible… Forest must not be burned.”(K.M. Chinappa 2002, p. 12) [on mining activities and river pollution in a protected forest area]
The concept of compassion for living creatures enshrined in Article 51A (g) is based on the background of the rich cultural heritage of India—the land of Mahatama [sic] Gandhi, Vinobha, Mahaveer, Budha [sic], Nanak12 and others. No religion or holy book in any part of the world teaches or encourages cruelty.(State of Gujarat 2005, p. 21; also quoted in three other judgments) [on cow slaughter]
While expressing deep anguish and sigh of great displeasure over torture inflicted on innocent animals in this country & that too despite the Vedas, the Bible, the Koran, the Buddha and Mahavire and the Supreme miracle and revolutionary apostle of Ahimsa, Mahatmaji [Gandhi], Justice Krishna Iyer has warned us that we have forfeited the right to be heirs of a culture of Karuna, Samata and Dharma.(People for Animals 1996, para. 26) [on bull-fights in Goa]
The philosophical perspective of Animal Welfare is thus part parcel [sic] of our cultural heritage. Every time cruelty is practiced on man or beast or bird or insect, we do violence to the Buddha and Mahavira. Every torture on an animal and every export of animals is a sin to the memory of the founders of Bhartiya Sanskar [Indian civilization]… Let us not betray the generations from the Buddha to Gandhi.(V.R. Krishna Iyer‘s ‘The Right of our Animal Brethren’, 1980, quoted in Mahisagar 2012, p. 17) [on impounded cattle]
1.2. Impact of Hindu Reformist Movements
The prevention of cruelty to animals is a fundamental issue for if we are really going to follow the ideas of ahimsa we should go to the root of the problem. It is not enough to say that we believe in ahivisa [ahiṃsā]; we must try to put it into practice. Especially as we have accepted the emblem of Asoka, which is in essence compassion, kindness and justice to all, it is our duty to try to live up to it.(Rajya Sabha Official Debates 1954, p. 1787)
If there is no compassion, how can it ever be called religion, for there is no religion without compassion. There is no religious teacher who has found a religion without this essential quality of compassion. Without compassion is there a spiritual law? Without compassion is there a cultured man?(ibid., p. 1795)
[…] let our hearts go towards our young friends [the animals] in compassion and in kindness. They work for us, they die for us, cannot we even avoid being cruel to them? […] the highest dharma is compassion. In the Mahabharata every story and every great person shows that this is the real teaching of India.(ibid., p. 1803)
Buddhists are taught to show the same tolerance, forbearance, and brotherly love to all men, without distinction; and an unswerving kindness towards the members of the animal kingdom.
1.3. Call for Modernity
Universal Declaration of Animal Welfare (UDAW) is a campaign led by World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) in an attempt to secure international recognition for the principles of animal welfare. UDAW has had considerable support from various countries, including India. […] World Health Organization of Animal Health (OIE), of which India is a member, acts as the international reference organisation for animal health and animal welfare. […] On animal welfare, OIE says that an animal is in good state of welfare if (as indicated by Scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behaviour and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear and distress.(Animal Welfare Board of India 2014, para. 52–53)
2. Explicating Compassion
2.1. Compassion and Suffering
Compassion, according to Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary means “a strong feeling of sympathy for those who are suffering and a desire to help them”. According to Chambers 20th Century Dictionary, compassion is “fellow-feeling, or sorrow for the sufferings of another: pity”. Compassion is suggestive of sentiments, a soft feeling, emotions arising out of sympathy, pity and kindness.(State of Gujarat 2005, p. 21) [on cow slaughter]
‘Torture, injury, hurt, discomfort, trauma, agony, pain, distress, disturbance, sorrow, suffering, harm, shock, bleeding, brutal attack etc. [’] are neither synonymous nor can go together with “Pleasure, joy, happiness, excitement, fun, celebration, entertainment, enjoyment, recreation, championship etc.” What has been described in the first part, [is] what the poor birds suffer while fighting and the one mentioned in the second part is what men derive out of the birds-fight. (S. Kannan 2014, para. 2) The pleasure derived from the suffering of a poor bird is nothing but human perversion. No human can have this kind of sadistic pleasure.(ibid., para. 10) [on cock fights]
It is to be noted that in all 494 different birds/animals like parrots, pigeon, love birds, sparrows, etc. came to be seized which were kept in small cages. … wings/tails of the aforesaid birds were cut, there were cello-tape affixed on the wings and there were rings found on the feet of the birds so that they cannot fly. Therefore, the manner in which the birds are treated, it is absolutely inhuman, atrocious and against the rule of nature.(Abdulkadar 2011, para. 8.05 [on caged birds and animals])
It is further pleaded that human being has to show compassion to all animals including stray dogs who are unable to protect themselves have to be protected by the Society and Courts.(M.R. Ajayan 2015, para. 20) [on stray dogs]
2.2. The ‘Doctrine of Necessity’
The menace of dogs and particularly of stray dogs is going beyond control. Stray dogs are seen in large numbers in every village, every city or town and in every locality of cities or towns […] These dogs run after pedestrians, run after vehicles or bicycles, after children, after the aged and infirm. They come from nowhere. They come suddenly, and vanish with speed of lightening.(People For Elimination Of Stray… 2003, para. 8)
‘It is common knowledge that some dogs have inherent habit of chasing running objects, including vehicles and human beings, which sometimes result into very serious accidents or biting cases. There are instances where dogs in a particular locality/street invariably chase every two wheeler which have resulted into fatal accidents.’(People For Elemination [sic] Of Stray… 2008, para. 166)
The question, therefore, is whether love for animals and compassion for animals should be stretched to such an extent as to endanger human life. In fact, while passing the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, care has been taken in the Act itself in this regard. […] [It] carves an exception [to the protection against cruelty] as it reads as under:--- “(3) Nothing in this section shall apply to […] (b) the destruction of stray dogs in lethal chambers or by such other methods as may be prescribed.(People For Elimination Of Stray…2003, para. 28)
animals are required to be protected from unnecessary pain and suffering. It is equally true that love and compassion for animals is growing and is a sign of culture and civilization. However, when it comes to choosing between the suffering of human beings and suffering they undergo particularly due to bite of the stray dogs, either they being rabid dogs or affected by rabies, then obviously, weightage will have to be given for the suffering of human beings.(People for Elimination of Stray…2003, para. 34) [the redaction of the text, somewhat confusing, is reproduced as it is]
Exceptions are incorporated based on the doctrine of necessity. Clause (b) to Section 11(3) [of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act] deals with the destruction of stray dogs, out of necessity, otherwise, it would be harmful to human beings. Clause (d) to Section 11(3) deals […] with the experimentation on animals, which is for the purpose of advancement by new discovery of physiological knowledge or of knowledge which would be useful for saving or for prolonging life or alleviating suffering or for combating any disease, whether of human beings, animals or plants, which is not prohibited and is lawful. Clause (e) to Section 11(3) permits killing of animals as food for mankind, of course, without inflicting unnecessary pain or suffering, which clause is also incorporated out of necessity.26(Animal Welfare Board of India 2014, para. 31) [on bull races]
Infliction of unnecessary pain, or suffering on animals is anti-thesis to compassion, the duty as imposed by Article 51-A(g) of the Constitution of India. Nobody has a right to inflict pain or suffering to others inclusive of the animals and birds. Even birds can not [sic] be kept in cages by which they suffer a pain. To keep birds in cages would [be] tantamount to illegal confinement of the birds which is in violation of right of the birds to live in free air/sky. For the aforesaid a specific law might not be required. It is the fundamental right of the bird to live freely in the open sky. As stated above, it is the duty of every citizen to see that there is no unnecessary pain or suffering to any animal or bird.(Abdulkadar 2011, para. 8.08) [on caged birds and animals]
[C]ruelty inflicted on animals cannot be evaluated and measured in quantitative terms. Therefore, the objective for which a particular activity is being undertaken is an important yardstick, e.g., research for medical purposes and animal husbandry which benefits the society at large needs to be continued even if it involves some cruelty.(N.R. Nair 2000, para. 4, quoting an ad hoc national committee) [on animals in circuses]
2.3. Compassion Is Good
A gift for the benefit and protection of animals tends to promote and encourage kindness towards them, to discourage cruelty, and to ameliorate the condition of the brute creation, and thus to stimulate humane and generous sentiments in man towards the lower animals, and by these means promote feelings of humanity and morality generally, repress brutality, and thus elevate the human race.(Justice Swinfen Eady, 1915, quoted in Commissioner Of Income Tax 1977, para. 12) [whether providing care for animals falls in the category of ‘charity’]
HUMANISM: […] Humanism also means, understand[ing,] benevolence, compassion, mercy etc. Citizens should, therefore, develop a spirit of compassion and humanism […] To look after the welfare and wellbeing of the animals and the duty to prevent the infliction of pain or suffering on animals highlights the principles of humanism in Article 51A(h).(Animal Welfare Board of India 2014, para. 58) [on bull races]
this essay […] is not a plea for “mercy” (save the mark!) to the “brute beasts.” […] It is addressed rather to those who see and feel that, as has been well said, “the great advancement of the world, throughout all ages, is to be measured by the increase of humanity and the decrease of cruelty”—that man, to be truly man, must cease to abnegate his common fellowship with all living nature—and that the coming realization of human rights will inevitably bring after it the tardier but not less certain realization of the rights of the lower races.
3. The Legal Status of Animals
3.1. Animals as Things
I should come to the conclusion that it was intended that the “object” should be one ejusdem generis with a “place of worship,” that is, some inanimate object such as an idol, &c. In my opinion the intention of the Legislature in passing this section was to use the term “object” in that sense, and the Legislature did not intend that the term should apply to animate objects such as cows.(K. John Edge, Chief Justice, in Queen Empress 1887, para. 2)
Under Section 295, language more appropriate than “destroys, damages or defiles” “any object” would have been brought into use; and such words as “or kills, maims or otherwise injures any animal” would have been inserted between the words “any object” and the words “held sacred by any class of persons.”(Queen Empress 1887, para. 6)
Section 451 of the Code of Criminal Procedure confers powers upon the Court for custody and disposal of the property [in this case, birds and animals that were seized] pending trial and the Court may make such order as it think fit for the proper custody of such property, pending conclusion of the inquiry or trial and if such property is subject to speedy and natural decay, or if it otherwise expedient to do so, Court may, after recording such evidence as it thinks necessary order it to be sold or otherwise dispose of.(Abdulkadar 2011, para. 8.12). (my emphasis) [on caged birds and animals]
Whereas with reference to livestock, it is stated that since trial would take long time and if muddamal [confiscated] article [chickens] remains un-utilized, it may get spoiled and it will result into loss to the applicant.(5 Whether It Is To Be Circulated To … 2014, para. 7.1) (my emphasis) [on 2030 chickens transported in cramped conditions]
There are numerous benefits of dog ownership. Dogs are used in a number of ways to provide practical support to humans—as working animals, such as sheep dogs, s[l]eigh dogs and guard dogs, and as assistance animals for disabled people, including the blind, the deaf and those with Downs syndrome. Dogs kept as companions can decrease loneliness and depression by providing companionship, exercise, an interesting and varied life-style and an impetus for nurturing. […] Various scientific studies have confirmed that dogs can be of benefit to their owners in terms of both psychological and physiological health. They can reduce stress, which is known to improve the effective functioning of immune system. The benefits of companion dogs to people’s psychological health has [sic] been a reason behind the introduction of dogs to visit patients in hospices and hospitals.(J. Gopalan 1996, para. 39, quoting the World Society for the Protection of Animals)
3.2. Dear, Useful Animals
Pleasure, joy, happiness should be derived by treating the fellow human beings equally and considering the animals, birds etc. are entitled to co-exist in this world. After all, the animals and birds are always useful to the mankind for their sustenance and therefore we should take care of their well being in our own interest.(S. Kannan 2014, para. 22) [on cock fights]
The aged bullocks were utilized for different purposes like agricultural operations (ploughing, planking, harrowing, hoeing, threshing) and transport-hauling of agricultural produce, feeds and fodders of animals, drinking water, construction materials (bricks, stones, sand grits etc.) and for sugarcane crushing/khandsari making. On an average the bullocks were yoked for 3 to 6 h per working day and 100 to 150 working days per year. […] Thus, the agricultural operations-draft output are [sic] still being taken up from the aged bullocks by the farmers. The farmers […] maintain the health of these animals considering them an important segment of their families. Farmers love their bullocks.(State of Gujarat 2005, para. 31, quoting a 2001 Gujarat State study) [on cattle slaughter]
Ecocentrism is nature centred where humans are part of nature and non-human has intrinsic value. In other words, human interest do [sic] not take automatic precedence and humans have obligations to non-humans independently of human interest.(T.N. Godavarman Thirumulpad 2012, para. 14; also para. 20, quoting the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy) [on the preservation of the Asiatic Wild Buffalo]
To give an example, snakes eat frogs, frogs eat insects and insects eat other insects and vegetation. If we kill all the snakes, the result will be that number of frogs will increase and this will result in the frogs eating more of the insects and when more insects are eaten, then the insects which are the prey of other insects will increase in number to a disproportionate extent, or the vegetation will increase to a disproportionate extent. This will upset the delicate ecological balance in nature. If we kill the frogs the insects will increase and this will require more insecticides. Use of much insecticide may create health problems.(Abdulkadar 2011, para. 8.07) [on caged birds and animals]
3.3. Animal Rights
In 1821 Richard Martin M.P. proposed a law to prevent the ill-treatment of horses. In the debate which ensured [sic], the above proposed law was laughed at and discarded by the members. An account of details of the debates as recorded states following: “…when Alterman C. Smith suggested that protection should be given to asses, there were such howls of laughter that the Times reporter could hear little of what was said. When the Chairman repeated this proposal, the laughter was intensified. Another member said Martin would be legislating for dogs next, which caused a further roar of mirth and a cry “And Cats!” sent the House into convulsions.”(M.R. Ajayan 2015, para. 32) [on stray dogs]32
The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. […] The question is not Can they reason? or, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?(Bentham  1823, chap. XVII, para. 1-IV, note 122—quoted in M.R. Ajayan 2015, para. 31)
The [Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] Act, as already indicated, was enacted to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain, suffering or cruelty on animals. Section 3 of the Act deals with duties of persons having charge of animals, which is mandatory in nature and hence confer corresponding rights on animals. Rights so conferred on animals are thus the antithesis of a duty and if those rights are violated, law will enforce those rights with legal sanction.(Animal Welfare Board Of India 2014, para. 27) [on bull races]
We purport to balance human and animal interests, but because animals are property, there can be no meaningful balance. Animal interests will almost always be regarded as less important than human interests, even when the human interest at stake is relatively trivial and the animal interest at stake is significant. The result of any supposed balancing of human and nonhuman interests required by animal-welfare laws is predetermined from the outset by the property status of the nonhuman as a “food animal”, “experimental animal”, “game animal”, et cetera.
In our considered opinion; legal rights shall not be the exclusive preserve of the humans which has to be extended beyond people thereby dismantling the thick legal wall with humans all on one side and all non-human animals on the other side.(N.R. Nair 2000, para. 13) [on animals in circuses]
4. Final Remarks
Conflicts of Interest
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In the scheme of the Indian constitution, the Fundamental Duties are non-enforceable: they are policy guidelines encouraging the States that constitute the Indian Republic to legislate accordingly, and constitute an ethical perspective for the courts in their interpretation of litigations.
Similar idealized views have been proposed by (Phelps 2004) for whom Buddhism ought to be an animal rights religion par excellence, or by some legal scholars who see eastern religions as a particularly favorable context for initiating legislation protecting animals (Le Bot 2007, pp. 28–30; Lubinski 2004; Singer  2002, p. 191); for a differing point of view, see (Stewart 2016, p. 4). The opposition sometimes drawn between Christianity and Buddhism in this respect is criticized in (Waldau 2002)—see also (Sciberras 2008) who brings nuance to the latter.
I am grateful to one of the anonymous reviewers for pointing out this dimension to me. On aspects of compassion in Jainism, see also (De Clercq 2013), (Kelting 2007), (Wiley 2004). Jainism tends to encourage dispassionate non-violence while holding somewhat ambivalent views on compassion-as-emotion—though compassion is important in medieval stories.
Only those judgments that are referenced in the text are listed at the end of this contribution. References in judgments are most often numbered by paragraphs. When this is not available, I have used the pagination provided in the file downloaded through Indian Kanoon.
I shall not discuss here cow protection as it has its own historical momentum with highly politicized stakes and differs from the general issue of compassion for all living creatures—of which it is not necessarily a reliable indicator. It should be noted, however, that recent judgments against cow slaughter may refer to the duty of compassion enjoined by the 1976 Amendment to the Constitution.
(Harris 2001, p. 244) even considers that ‘There is some evidence to suggest that the avoidance of harming living things predates the arrival of Aryans in the subcontinent some 4500 years ago’.
The judgment quotes another, earlier one, unconnected with animal protection: State of Karnataka and another 2004, p. 5.
See for instance http://www.theprasanthireporter.org/2011/11/love-all-serve-all-help-ever-hurt-never/ (accessed 25 December 2018). Sathya Sai Baba declared himself—and is said by his followers—to be an incarnation of god Siva.
Vinobha Bhave (1895–1982), a companion of Gandhi, was considered as his spiritual successor. Guru Nanak (1469–1539) is the founder of Sikhism.
According to two judgments, some Mogul Emperors are said to have banned cow slaughter (Ramavath Hanuma 2017, p. 20) or, influenced by Jains, adopted a compassionate attitude towards animals: ‘In 1582, the Emperor [Akbar] invited and received a Jain delegation…. Jainism, with its doctrine of non-violence, made a profound impression on him and influenced his personal life. He curtailed his food and drink and ultimately abstained from flesh diet altogether for several months in the year. He renounced hunting which was his favourite pastime, restricted the practice of fishing and released prisoners and caged birds. Slaughter of animals was prohibited on certain days and ultimately in 1587 for about half the days in the year’. (Hinsa Virodhak Sangh 2008, para. 51; see also para. 53: ‘When he [the Jain delegate] was introduced to the Emperor he defended true religion and told him that the foundation of faith should be daya (compassion).’) [on the closure of municipal slaughter houses during Jain festivals].
See Chinna Muthukrishna Reddiar (1988, para. 21) [concerning a trust connected with Shri Ramalinga Adigal]: ‘He taught the people the indispensability of compassion for life in this world and for the eternal life to be lived in inseparable union with the ultimate Reality.’ More recently, Mahatma Gandhi and many ‘Saints’—e.g., Sathya Sai Baba, already mentioned—have stressed the need for love and compassion, in general, including for animals.
Ramakrishna is said to have told to Vivekananda: ’Talk of compassion to beings? Will you, a little animal, bestow compassion on beings? You wretch! Who are you to bestow it? No, no; not compassion to jivas [living beings], but service to them as Siva. (Gosling 2001, p. 38).
Reformist efforts since the end of the nineteenth century fostered religious homogeneization for political gains also. However, the aspiration for less ritualized, more egalitarian forms of religion are ancient, multiple, and widespread. Besides, the move for a ‘purified’ and ‘modern’ Hinduism was sometimes initiated as a response to colonial Christianity.
Rajya Sabha Official Debates, Sessions 03 (10 April 1953); 05 (4 December 1953); 06 (5 March 1954); 26 (12 August 1959); 28 (1 March 1960).
She had, however, her own views and insisted for instance on the possibility for animals to experience happiness: ‘let us try to be sympathetic and, as far as possible to give to the animal happiness it deserves.’ (Rajya Sabha Official Debates 1954, p. 1800) Barbara Ambros pointed out to me that such an emphasis on animals’ happiness does not look much Buddhist inspired (personal communication), as Buddhism generally considers animal condition to be a miserable one. Indeed, the founders of the Theosophical Society may not have had a ‘pessimistic’ view on animals and may have selected from Eastern religions what fitted their own spiritual imagination.
This disposition might also bear the imprint of Indira Gandhi, whose father Jawaharlal Nehru is a major reference for rationalists in India (Quack 2012, p. 87).
Judgments usually do not draw a clear line between what they call ‘animals’ rights’ (in terms of legal status) and actual ‘animal welfare’. For instance, we find in a same paragraph: ‘Based on eco-centric principles, rights of animals have been recognized in various countries. Protection of animals has been guaranteed by the Constitution of Germany […] German Animal Welfare Law, especially Article 3 provides far-reaching protections to animals including inter alia from animals fight and other activities which may result in the pain, suffering and harm for the animals. Countries like Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia have enacted legislations to include animal welfare in their national Constitutions so as to balance the animal owners fundamental rights to property and the animals interest [sic] in freedom from unnecessary suffering or pain, damage and fear.’ (Animal Welfare Board of India 2014, para. 49).
Buddhism is, of course, not alone in putting suffering at the heart of its concerns, nor does it ignore the harm inflicted on animals by humans. My point here is that the ‘unfortunate destiny’ (Ohnuma 2017) ascribed specifically to animals, by contrast with a more general and widespread conception of ‘existence-as-suffering’, seems characteristic of Buddhism—and is completely ignored by the courts.
(Stewart 2014, p. 625) contrasts Buddhism, in which animals are pitied, with Vedism, in which animals were respected because of their sacrificial value. I am not sure the notion of ‘respect’ in Stewart’s sense applies in today’s Hinduism (or to all animals), but there is generally no feeling of ‘pity’ for the animal condition. Some particular animals can be, and are pitied: but being an animal, by contrast with being a human, does not seem to elicit specific compassion in religious representations.
The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, para. 3.1.
In the case of stray dogs, a later Act tried to conciliate protection of humans and care for stray dogs. It recommends that stray dogs should not be killed, except ‘critically ill or fatally injured or rabid dogs’, who can then be ‘put to sleep’ using exclusively a painless method (The Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, para. 5(b)). Other stray dogs should be sterilized and immunized, rather than killed, then returned to their environment.
The same judgment underlines this limitation to animal protection: ‘Every species has a right to life and security, subject to the law of the land, which includes depriving its life, out of human necessity.’ (Animal Welfare Board of India 2014, para. 62)
British case law concerning the protection of animals dates back from the nineteenth century but stems from a more ancient moral tradition that sees cruelty to animals as a sign of a cruel character: ‘He that made thee a man, could have made thee a brute. Now if thou art a Man, be thankful, and sh[o]w thy superiority by mercy and compassion; else thou debasest thy reason, and art as low, if not lower than the brute whom you oppress.’ (Primatt 1776, p. 47) According to (Benthall 2007, p. 2), ‘when Aquinas, Locke and Kant recommended kindness towards animals, it was mainly because they thought that those who are cruel towards animals are likely to tend to be cruel towards human beings too’.
However, some express doubts about the capacity of mankind to evolve rapidly in this matter. Indeed, one judgment wonders if animals do not fare better than humans in that respect: ‘Though not homosapiens [, animals] are also beings entitled to dignified existences and humane treatment sans cruelty and torture. In many respects, they comport better than humans, they kill to eat and eat to live and not live to eat as some of us do, they do not practice deception, fraud, or falsehood and malpractices as humans do, they care for their little ones expecting nothing [i]n return, they do not proliferate as we do depleting the already scarce resources of the earth, for they practice sex restraint by seasonal mating, nor do they inhale the lethal smoke of tobacco polluting the atmosphere and inflicting harm on fellow beings.’ (N.R. Nair 2000, para. 13) [on animals in circuses]
Also (Perrin 2016) on this ambivalence in the French penal code.
A similar case, today, would certainly be decided very differently, as many States have passed laws that severely punish the killing of cows.
Recall that this is what distinguishes (owned) pet dogs from (ownerless) stray dogs. In the case of wild animals, they are the property of the nation, except for migratory species which cannot be owned but have to be protected by the states within the latter’s’ boundaries (Centre For Envir. Law 2013, para. 45–46).
This might be a quote from Singer (2002, p. 204—itself a quote from E.S. Turner’s All Heaven in a Rage; Salt 1894, pp. 5–6, gives a slightly different account). Singer adds in note: ‘It has been claimed that the first legislation protecting animals from cruelty was enacted by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1641. Section 92 of “The Body of Liberties,” printed in that year, reads: “No man shall exercise any Tirranny or Crueltie towards any bruite Creature which are usuallie kept for man’s use”; and the following section requires a rest period for animals being driven.’ (Singer  2002, p. 303, note 36)
See, for instance, (Baratay 2012), (Salt 1894, p. 2), (Singer  2002, pp. 188–89). The end of the XVIIIth century was a period of pamphlets and debates on the question—e.g., (Primatt 1776). Discussions in Great-Britain circulated also in Europa (Serna 2017, p. 307); in Revolutionary France, one François Boissel claimed that “the Republic is to be vegetarian or will not be” (ibid., p. 300); and an Englishman, John Oswald, became a radical revolutionary (‘Sans-culotte’) while a strict vegetarian after a previous stay in India (ibid., pp. 307–8).
For instance, at the Central level, the Prevention of Cruelty Act 1960, the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, the Transport of Animals Rules 1978, the Prevention of Cruelty (Capture of Animals) Rules 1979, the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules 2001, the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules 2001, etc.
However, two judgments by the same judge, in the High Courts of Uttarakhand in 2018 and Punjab-Haryana in 2019, granted juristic personality to ‘the entire animal kingdom including avian and aquatic’. (Narayan Dutt Bhatt 2018, para. 99; Karnail Singh 2019, para. 29) It is too early to evaluate the practical effects of these decisions and their possible impact on case law.
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Tarabout, G. Compassion for Living Creatures in Indian Law Courts. Religions 2019, 10, 383. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10060383
Tarabout G. Compassion for Living Creatures in Indian Law Courts. Religions. 2019; 10(6):383. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10060383Chicago/Turabian Style
Tarabout, Gilles. 2019. "Compassion for Living Creatures in Indian Law Courts" Religions 10, no. 6: 383. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10060383