restrictions on the religious slaughter of animals
Animal liberation and animal rights, are basically an
idea to protect the interests of animals such as to protect them from
sufferings. Mere passing of laws will not help in balancing the approach of
humans towards non-humans, proper implementations are required. Even before the
modern civilization stepped into, penalties were written down in various parts
of human beings to animals in order to protect the non-humans whose existence
was necessary for everyone. People often are insensitive to the pain of the
animal simply because they don’t speak the language of humans and they don’t
have a voice to raise against the torture on them. There is not a single day in
the world where animals don’t have to fight for their living. They are chained,
beaten and enslaved in order to perform for human “entertainment”. However, it
is not necessary that everyone who abuses animals do it with that purpose. Many
of them do not even realise what they are doing or how cruel they are being. In
order to make them realise their mistakes, it is important to conduct a program
that instils amongst people the feeling of pain that animals suffer and how
dangerous it can be to abuse animals from next time onwards.
Concept of animal cruelty
The term ‘animal cruelty’ is also known as ‘animal
abuse’ which is also a legal term that is described as an act against law. The
term abuse means cruel behaviour or bad behaviour with an intention to
wrongfully use animals. We can also describe animal abuse as a violent action
against them with a specific gain such as killing them for food or cloth or any
other parts used for making many useful products for using them for the purpose
of entertainment. Examples can be using elephants for ivory tusks, cobra for
skin, rhino for horn and other body parts, etc. More than 230 million
egg-laying hens are confined in cages in India for their entire lifetime.
Slaughtering of cows and buffaloes, that are used for dairy production and are
no longer making profits in that zone, is done. These animals are transported
from places to places by illegal means.
Ancient Indian legislation
There are specifically scripted rules that lay down
the behaviour of do’s and don’ts of humans to animals in 15,000 years old
Manusamhita. The major intention with which the script was framed was the role
of mankind in animal welfare. Some of the rules are:
·According to Sloka 229 of Manu Samhita, in cases where any
dispute arises between the master and the cowboy regarding the duties and
arbitration should only be done according to the rule of the religion.
·Sloka 230– During the time
when the caretaker is under the responsibility of the animals, any harm that
happens to any animal, and in cases where that harm results in the death of the
animals, the master will be held responsible if that happened during the night time,
otherwise the caretaker will be held responsible.
Likewise, there are different Slokas under Manu
Samhita which lay down the dos and don’ts of human behaviour to animals.
Modern Indian legislature
Enrichment of civilisation has always been unique and
a great point for India and modern thinkers have tried to script down the rules
to protect the already existing and enriching civilization. In the last two
decades, the major emphasis has been laid down in areas like environmental
ethics, animal ethics, education of the backward section of the society, etc.
The modern approach emphasizes on the fact that animals should no longer be
considered to be used as food, clothing, research subjects or entertainment.
There are various important Sections and Acts enacted by the government of
India in order to protect animals and mitigate violations against them:
·Section 268, 269, 270, 379, 428 and 429
of IPC 1860.
Section 269 and 270 of IPC states that a negligent act can be said as
something which spreads dangerous disease to life. If any animals that are not
registered for the purpose of sale or for the purpose of killing them are being
killed then under the Section a person can file a charge sheet to prohibit such
killings. If in a public place, there happens to be killing of an animal, it
will amount to public nuisance and will attract a penalty under Section 268 of IPC. Unnecessary pain and suffering is a
penal offence and is prohibited under Sections 379,428 and 429. Section 2(3) of the Indian Penal Code states the duty of
every civil person that is to act responsibly for the well-being of animals and
prevent cruelty against them. When this offence has been committed by a person
for the first time they will have to pay a maximum fine of rupees 50 but if the
same offence has been repeated twice or thrice within 3 years of the previous
offence then the fine will not be less than 25 rupees but it may extend to 100
rupees or imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or
Wildlife Protection Act, 1972
This is an important act that prohibits any injury to
wild animals under Section 39. In this act,
the term animal includes birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals and their
young. The eggs of these reptiles and birds are also included in the
definition. Penalties have also been provided under Section 51 for the person who is considered to have
committed an offence under this act with an imprisonment of three years or fine
of 25000 rupees or both. In case if a person commits the same offence for the
second or third time then there will have to be a punishment of imprisonment of
7 years with a fine of 10000 rupees. Moreover, if a person is blamed for
killing a snake it is a non-bailable offence according to this act.
Prohibition of the sacrifice of animals and laws
related to it
Sacrificing of animals is an illegal act that is
provided under some laws in India. They are the Local Municipal Corporation Act 1882, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act
1960, Wildlife Protection Act 1972, and the Indian Penal Code. The
municipal corporation acts have given the power to the municipality to restrict
the slaughtering of animals within a corporation area other than those who have
licenced butcher houses. It is even illegal to slaughter animals in places
where there are temples and other public streets.
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960
This act is the most comprehensive act passed in India
in recent times to prevent any unnecessary pain or suffering on the part of
animals. It prohibits any kind of cruelty to animals.
Apart from India, there are several other countries
where there are legal restrictions on the slaughtering of animals. They are:
·Australia– Generally Australia profile bits killing of animals
without stunning. If killing without stunning is mandatory for any religious
purpose then permission must be obtained for the same and the ritual slaughter
must only take place in the licensed slaughterhouses. Additionally, permission
can only be granted if:-
oRituals slaughter can only be done by the person who
has the knowledge and skills to do it
oThis can only be performed in front of a veterinarian
who is an inspector of slaughtering and meat.
oThe equipment used for slaughtering must be licensed
oThe animals for ritual slaughter should only be
brought to the position required after the person is ready to perform the
·Belarus- The local governors of this place prohibit the
offering of animals in public places and insist on religious slaughtering to
happen in an unauthorised way.
·Belgium- In Belgium the religious slaughtering is not
prohibited at a federal level but there are few regions who have adopted the
practice to prohibit this. The parliament of Wallonia, the Flemish parliament,
and the Brussels-capital region are the three places that prohibited the
practice of religious slaughtering.
·Cyprus– In Cyprus before slaughtering animals are required
to be stunned but there is an exception in cases where religious methods of
slaughter are adopted.
·Denmark- Being a member of the European Union and
having a population of 5.8 million the new animal welfare protection introduced
by Denmark related to slaughter was commendable. There is an act called Denmark’s Animal Protection Act according to which
animals must be slaughtered as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
·Estonia- Estonia’s animal protection law controls the
slaughtering of animals for religious purposes and requires post-cut
·Poland – Slaughtering animals without studying has been
prohibited in Poland.
·Russia –Russia’s National legislation remains
silent regarding the protection of animals and slaughtering them for religious
purposes just as the case in Georgia.
·Sweden – There are no statistics that have been provided
for religious affiliation in Sweden but without prior sedation in 1937 Sweden
·Norway- Norway has a population of 5.3 million where
there are 30,000 Muslims and 1200 Jews, so there is an act in Norway for animal
welfare under which the slaughter of animals is regulated and which provides
that sedation must take place prior to slaughter of animals. However, the
import of Kosher and Halal meat are allowed by Norwegian laws.
·Switzerland- Previously killing of vertebrate animals with
outstanding was prohibited in Switzerland but when animal welfare regulation
was amended, an exception was added that allowed ritual slaughter of poultry
with stunning. Anyone who seems to violate the provisions of animal slaughters
were required to pay a fine of up to $ 21,371.
Apart from these countries, there are various others
that have their rules and legal restrictions set regarding slaughtering of
animals for religious purposes.
In a democracy, where everyone has the right to raise
their voices against anything wrong there are still certain topics on which no
one can give proper answers to the masses because of differences in opinions,
views, and ideas by different persons and the experiences they had in the past.
Such one topic can be debated relating to the slaughtering of animals and it is
undoubtedly one of such topics which fall under this category. The constituent
assembly did not provide for any nationwide enactment on this topic because of
the diversity of religions being practised in different corners of the world.
Even if this gap of not providing nationwide in a comment on this particular
subject is fulfilled it will lead to an aggravated act of violence throughout
Therefore the best alternative to this is to leave the
issue as it is upon the individual states. One such example of diversity can
be, there has been a ban on consumption of beef in Maharashtra but the
neighbouring state of Goa which is ruled by the same party has no such ban
because of the fact that the Christian population is more in Goa compared to
Maharashtra. Therefore in a country like ours, it is next to impossible to
satisfy the expectations of each citizen. Behind formulating every law there is
a particular objective and unless and until that objective is achieved the very
purpose of framing the law becomes useless. Thus the enactment of laws related
to the slaughter of cattle in different states by different representatives and
its confirmation with the judicial system is very important considering the
essence of socialism that has been enshrined in our preamble. The ongoing
criticisms, scrutinisation, and debate of the public on various laws passed
within their states is an ongoing feature of a democratic country. But caution
must always be emphasized on such debates in order to avoid any risk as to the
security of the constitutional institutions. All these changes and amendments
from time to time will, therefore, lead to the growth and development of
democracy in the long run and will make sure that the faith we have in the
pillars of our democracy is not easily misplaced