Sunday, 13 April 2014

Animal welfare in election manifestos of political parties?


Indian Political Parties urged to include animal welfare in 2014 General Elections Manifesto


NEW DELHI 

Humane Society International-India presented a model manifesto on Animal Welfare to all political parties in India, and urges them to include animal welfare in their  2014 General Elections manifesto. The draft was submitted in the wake of growing number of incidents of animal cruelty issues reported in India.

Article 51A (g) in the Indian Constitution clearly states that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures.

HSI-India’s Managing Director, N.G Jayasimha called for collective support from all political parties and said: “We believe that a change in political party manifestos can establish a higher animal welfare standard in the country. The Indian public is largely aware of animal welfare as a crucial issue and we urge all political groups to firmly engage and take a progressive stand in safeguarding the welfare of animals in India.”

The three-page note focuses broadly on the barbaric treatment doled out to animals in intensive farming, research, laboratories, puppy mills and the need to protect wildlife. The model manifesto includes these policy recommendations

1.      Industrialization of animal agriculture severely impacts animals as well as public health and environment. The 16th Lok Sabha must support animal welfare friendly agriculture and implement stronger environmental and farm animal welfare regulations.

2.      Every year in India, thousands of rabbits, mice, guinea pigs and other animals endure painful tests during research or experimentation. The 16th Lok Sabha should support a nation-wide strategy for the development and adoption of non-animal testing methods.

3.      The 16th Lok Sabha should focus on the implementation of Animal Birth Control in constituencies across the country; prohibit puppy mills and the sale of pets from pet store.

4.      Illegal wildlife trade causes animal suffering as well as depletion of species, and is often linked to violence, drugs, and organized crime. The 16th Lok Sabha must bring in legislations in order to regulate or end this trade live wild animals and trade of their parts.

5.      The 16th Lok Sabha must also ensure the bringing in of a new Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and inclusion of animal welfare in all its trade agreements.


The 16th Lok Sabha General Election that involves an electorate of 81.4 crore is slated to begin April 7. HSI-India is working to make sure that the inclusion of animal welfare in 16th Lok Sabha General Elections finds the attention that it deserves.

Ends

Media Contact: N. G Jayasimha: 91- 9490732614, ngjayasimha@hsi.org<mailto:ngjayasimha@hsi.org>

Please read the entire draft manifesto below

Animal Welfare in 2014 General Elections

 Article 51A(g) in The Constitution Of India
 It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;



1.      Improve farm animal welfare: There is an increasing tendency in India to move to industrial ways of farming which impact negatively on the welfare of animals. The industrialization of animal agriculture jeopardizes food security by degrading the environment, threatening human health, and diminishing income-earning opportunities in rural areas. There is strong scientific evidence of the negative impacts of these animal factories on people and animals. Small farmers who try to directly compete with large animal agribusiness are at risk of being pushed out of the market because they lack the political and economic power of the larger companies, or the ability to exploit economies of scale. The 16th Lok Sabha must support small-farmer led and animal welfare-friendly agriculture, as well as enact and implement stronger environmental and farm animal welfare regulations.


2.      Reduce the number of animals used in research and testing: The 16th Lok Sabha should support the adoption of a nation-wide strategy for the development, acceptance, and mandatory use of non-animal testing methods. The strategy should: (a) Establish more rigorous and transparent processes for ethical and scientific merit review of new projects involving animal use; (b) Ensure updating of legislation and regulations controlling animal experimentation; (c) Emphasise the need to replace, reduce and refine animal use across all safety testing and health research areas; (d) Implement mandatory data sharing, to avoid duplication of animal testing and the inclusion of non-animal test methods; and (d) Adopt a strategy for the replacement of animals in research and testing, including through increasing the proportion of health research funding dedicated to human biology-based in vitro, computational, and other innovative, non-animal tools and technologies.


3.      Protect cats and dogs: For at least two decades, India’s official policy has outlawed killing of stray dogs and has gradually established Animal Birth Control (ABC) programs throughout the country. The program is funded and overseen by the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) at a federal level. However, dog population and rabies is a health issue, the 16th Lok Sabha should support the implementation of Animal Birth Control (ABC) in constituencies across the country for street dogs and cats through a program funded and led by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.



In addition to this, the 16th Lok Sabha should implement a prohibition on puppy mills and sale of pet from pet store. A puppy mill is a large scale breeding operation in which puppies are mass-produced for profit in substandard conditions. The goal of a puppy mill is to produce as many puppies as possible with minimal cost to, and maximal financial gain for, the operator. Most pet stores thrive on the existence of a puppy mill and puppy mill cannot and will not meet the needs of a dog and is most definitely a blatant form of cruelty.



4.     Improve the welfare of wild animals: Wild animals are protected in India mostly through the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 for native wildlife. However exotic wildlife is not protected under any law in India inspite of a rampant practice of illegal exotic wildlife trade and pet trade in India. The commercial trade in wild animals is a multi-billion dollar business that threatens the survival of many species and results in the inhumane treatment of billions of animals every year. Wildlife trade includes live animals (who may be sold as exotic pets or stock for game farms, or sent to biomedical research facilities or zoos) and their parts (which may be used in clothing, as ornamental objects, as food or as traditional medicine).Wildlife trade is linked to violence, drugs and organized crime. It harms wildlife populations. Methods used to capture animals for trade may be terribly cruel. The 16th Lok Sabha must bring in legislations in order to regulate or end this trade live wild animals and trade of their parts.

Political groups are urged to firmly engage in safeguarding the welfare of both native and exotic wild animals in India by including the following objectives in their manifestos:- (a) Banning the import of wild-caught animals and restricting the number of exotic species that can be imported and traded in India, in line with India’s policies which tackle related concerns including human health, animal health and the protection of the environment. (b) Developing a dedicated overarching legislative framework to protect marine mammals from all threats, similar to that which already exists in the US (Marine Mammal Protection Act US, 1972), Mexico and France (c) Creating and adequately funding the implementation of an action plan to tackle wildlife trafficking. Specifically, the action plan must tackle enforcement, anti-poaching and demand reduction in source, transit and demand countries.



5.      Animal Welfare Act: India’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (PCA) is more than 50 years old. The Animal Welfare Board of India, in 2010 drafted a new bill to replace the PCA act with an Animal Welfare Act. However due to bureaucracy and red tape, the draft act was tampered with and the process stalled. The 16th Lok Sabha must ensure the bringing in of a new Animal Welfare Act with adequate provision for protection of animals in Indian and adequate, up-to-date punishment including but not limited to monetary terms.



6.      Use India’s trade agreements to boost animal welfare in partner third countries. The 16th Lok Sabha should ensure inculcation of animal welfare in all its trade agreements. It can be a major opportunity to call for the inclusion of animal welfare as an important concern of Indian citizens. The Indian Parliament should call for measures to ensure that animal welfare standards are not undermined in the India and should also take the opportunity to push for better considerations for animal welfare in trade partner countries. From farm animals to wildlife, protection of animals should be guaranteed through the inclusion of specific considerations in trade agreements.

"HSI-India is a Private Company incorporated on October 23, 2012 having its registered address at C-10 A, Dhanraj Mahal, Opp. Yacht Club , C.S.M Marg, Apollo Bunder, Mumbai 400001, Maharashtra, India. HSI India's Corporate Identification Number is (CIN) U93030MH2012NPL237151 and its Registration Number is 237151".

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