Monday, February 4, 2008

Republic Day Special issue 15-31 January 2008 issue of LAW

this is the editorial of 15-31 January 2008 Republic Day Special issue of LAW ANIMATED WORLD:

No right to life for animals?

Friedrich Neitzsche made Zarathustra speak up: “…Man is the cruelest animal. At tragedies, bull-fights, crucifixions hath he hitherto been the happiest on earth; and when he invented his hell, behold, that was his heaven on earth.” The mad culling of lakhs of chicken mainly in Bengal but also in other states, as also in various countries, only confirm that reading. Would or should we ‘cull’ entire populations if and when some hundreds of humans die en masse due to plague or other mahamaaris? What permits the human conscience to callously hatch them and breed them in captivity and then mass-slaughter in captivity with nothing like minimum freedom of life allowed? Arguments of vegetarianism or non-vegetarianism apart, have we no duty to all sentient beings – can we arrogate to ourselves the right to mass-slaughter animals in the name of protecting our own few lives - that too when there are indications that the bird flu itself might have been due to us humans polluting the environment? The latest WHO records show deaths of humans all over the world as 225 out of 327 reported bird-flu cases in 5 years (2003-07) but the number of birds culled might have easily crossed the one crore mark. We may conclude with these precious observations by the Kerala High Court in some other context: “Circus animals … forced to perform unnatural tricks, housed in cramped cages, subjected to hunger, fear, pain, not to mention the undignified way of life they have to live … Though not homo-sapiens, they are also beings entitled to dignified existence and humane treatment… In many respects, they comport better than humans, they kill to eat and eat to live and not live to eat as some of us do, they do not practice deception, fraud, or falsehood and malpractices as humans do, …they do not proliferate as we do depleting the already scarce resources of the earth, …nor do they inhale the lethal smoke of tobacco polluting the atmosphere and inflicting harm on fellow beings. …it is not only our fundamental duty to show compassion to our animal friends, but also to recognize and protect their rights. … If humans are entitled to fundamental rights, why not animals?” §§§