Animals have similar rights as humans: HC

The Uttarakhand high court ruled that “all members of the animal kingdom, including birds and aquatic life, have similar rights as humans”. It also said that animals across the state should be treated as “legal entities having a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person.”

The division bench of Justices further named “citizens throughout Uttarakhand persons in loco parentis as the human face for the welfare/protection of the animals.”

The court also directed the state government to constitute societies for prevention of cruelty to animals in each district and to appoint infirmaries for the treatment and care of animals. The HC, in its 57-page order, banned use of “spike stick or bit, harness or yoke with spikes, knobs or projections or any other sharp tackle or equipment” throughout the state.”

The court also directed the state government to “enforce the provisions of the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009, to prevent the animals from infectious and contagious diseases” and to appoint veterinary officers.

The judges cited in their order several articles as well as Isha Upanishad which they said dwell on the principle of equality of all species. They also cited an SC judgment which had held that an animal, too, has honour and dignity which it cannot be arbitrarily deprived of and its rights and privacy have to be respected and protected.

The HC was hearing a PIL which sought to restrict the movement of horse carts/ tongas between Nepal and India stating cruelty on horses and mules used in the carts.

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