India has an abysmal record with animal rights, which is a sad fact. Yet, the country refuses to do anything about it. Animals have absolutely no rights in India! From pets to endangered/extinct species and cattle, the concept of animal rights is lost on the nation of a billion people!
Animal rights, also known as animal liberation, is the idea that the most basic interests of non-human animals should be afforded the same consideration as the similar interests of human beings. Advocates approach the issue from different philosophical positions, ranging from the protectionist side of the movement, presented by philosopher Peter Singer—with a utilitarian focus on suffering and consequences, rather than on the concept of rights—to the abolitionist side, represented by law professor Gary Francione, who argues that animals need only one right: the right not to be property. Despite the different approaches, advocates broadly agree that animals should be viewed as non-human persons and members of the moral community, and should not be used as food, clothing, research subjects, or entertainment.
Most developed nations in the world recognize animals as a part of their intrinsic society, thus protecting them too. But in India and several other developing/underdeveloped nations, this concept has not stuck on. Here in India, we see no harm in abandoning cattle or pets on the streets as and when we please, or in hunting down endangered animals in the guise of “fun”! Age old hunting practices are still followed although they have been officially banned. From film stars to politicians, everyone wants to shoot down a chinkara and get have rhino horns in their living rooms as trophies. Celebrities still flaunt fur and crocodile skin hand bags while snake-skin belts are always popular! The great Bengal tiger of the Sunderbands(1709, census 2011), the Asiatic lion of Gir(411 census 2011) are only a few of India’s neglected animals on the verge of extinction. Our national parks and sanctuaries are not even well maintained, with scores of animals drowning in floods or falling pray to diseases in mass.
You might wonder what a person of India’s vast general public can do about this. The answer is simple. Develop compassion and treat animals with the respect they deserve. From understanding that mass culling of stray dogs will not reduce their numbers in the long run(case study Chennai, in the 1990s, 16,000 dogs were culled every year, yet they kept multiplying) to banning “sports” like “bird fights” and “dog fights” and the annual bull fighting tradition in Tamil Nadu, from not cramming poultry in filthy cages to respecting cattle, from checking that our cosmetics are never animal tested to ensuring our pets are well treated; we all have a long way to go. If each of us took these small steps, maybe less of our wildlife will fall pray to cruel poachers. I hope the 1700odd tigers remaining have something to cheer about.