Animal rights in Pakistan
In a recent judgment, the Hon’ble Islamabad High Court held that animals are to be treated in accordance with law in terms of Article 9 (right to life) of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 and not a means for mere entertainment.
Term “life” as used in Article 9 of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973 does not only means personal rights but also includes “animal life”.
Animals natural rights of not to be treated in a manner that subjects them to unnecessary pain and suffering have been well recognized in Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act 1908.
Section 3 of the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act 1980 specifically states that if any person, overdrives, beats, or otherwise treats any animal so as to subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering, or, binds, keeps, carries or consigns for carriage any animal is such manner or position as to subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering or offers for sale or without reasonable cause has in his possession any live animal which is suffering pain by reason of mutilation, starvation, thirst, over-crowding or other ill treatment, or offers for sale any dead animal or part of a dead animal which he has reason to believe has been killed in an unnecessarily cruel manner, or without reasonable cause abandons any animal in circumstances which render it likely that it will suffer pain by reason of starvation or thirst.
He shall be punished, in the case of a first offence, with fine which may extend to fifty rupees, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month and, in the case of a second or subsequent offence committed within three years of the previous offence, with fine which may extend to one hundred rupees, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months.
Unfortunately, inhumane behaviour of humans with animals, has become a routine matter in Pakistan. There are numerous frequent unreported horrifying cases of “animal rape” in Pakistan.
Sadly, a well-known “kitten rape case” in Lahore, in which a kitten died after being allegedly brutally gang-raped by a 15-year-old boy and his friends, is an example of such alarming incidents in Pakistan, which was widely reported in international media.
It is an obligation and responsibility of the State to ensure that statutory rights of animals in terms of Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act 1980 be performed and implemented in its true sprit.
—The writer is an Advocate of High Court.