As an animal lover, reading about the rising cases of animal cruelty on an everyday basis breaks my heart and shocks me to the core. I mean, in less than a week, there have been two shocking cases of animal brutality that led to the death of two innocent dogs, Bruno (in Kerala) and Manika (in Delhi).
I have often wondered what the reason behind these increasing cases of animal brutality in our country is. I realised that the answer was in front of me all along.
Did you know, we live in a country where the cost of getting away with harming or endangering an animal's life costs less than a bag of nachos? It's only 50 Rupees!
Nope, I'm not kidding. For over half a century, animal protection laws have been the same and a perpetrator who is behind bars for harming a stray can easily get bail by paying a minimal penalty.
According to section 11 (i) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act of 1960, harming or putting an animal's life in danger is considered a punishable offense but the fine literally only goes up to ₹50.
I can say this from personal experience, the first thing that a vet clinic will ask you to do when you bring in an injured stray is to make a deposit or pay a fee and then they throw an estimated cost of treatment on your face.
What bothers me is that why are government veterinary hospitals charging so exorbitantly for treating injured animals when the penalty on putting an animal's life in danger is barely Rs. 50?
Shouldn't government hospitals provide at least the preliminary first aid and have cost-effective treatments? Considering the horrid state of our animal cruelty prevention rules?
In fact, it's not just low fines but also the lack of any additional punishment, in the form of prolonged imprisonment, that allows perpetrators to get away with committing these heinous crimes against animals. As per Animal Law, only a "subsequent conviction within three years of a previous offence, is punishable with a fine of Rs. 25 which may extend to Rs. 100 or imprisonment of three months or with both."
Just to sum up, neither the fine nor the punishment is strict enough to prevent people from harming animals, while the price that an animal lover has to pay to save an injured animal is far too high.
Let us not forget the violence animal lovers and animal rights advocates encounter for their acts of kindness and looking after the strays.
We're living in the 21st century, this is not the 1960s anymore, it is high time to reform the animal protection laws, considering the rising cases of animal cruelty in our society.
Raise your voices for the voiceless. Be a part of the change. You don't have to be an animal lover to save a life.