Animal Cruelty and laws for Animal Protection | Orchids International
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Threat to Animals

Concept: Animal Cruelty and Laws for Animal Protection

  • India, because of its geographical location, provides perfect habitats for many animals to live and survive.
  • Varieties of landforms like mountains, rainforests, deserts, grasslands, valleys, etc., make India extremely rich in terms of biodiversity.
  • Animals play a vital role in our ecosystem. Many animal species are affected by human intervention, which has led to their extinction, or their numbers have decreased rapidly. Many animal species are also on the verge of getting extent soon.
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Before we discuss the different animal cruelties and the laws proposed to prevent them, let us know a bit about IUCN and how they have classified animals into various categories.

IUCN:

  • IUCN stands for International Union of Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources and is an international organisation located in Gland, Switzerland. IUCN works for the conservation of various biological species throughout the world.
  • It studies the changes associated with the depletion in the number of animal species globally. It suggests the methods and measures that must be adopted to minimise the possibilities of animal extinction.
  • IUCN has divided animals into the following categories based on their current status—
    1. Extinct: The species of animals which no longer exist on the planet are called extinct.
    2. Examples: Dodo, white dolphin, African black Rhinoceros, Passenger pigeon etc.

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    3. Endangered: The species on the verge of extinction in the near future are termed endangered.
    4. Examples: Gaint Panda, tiger, blue whale, snow leopard, Asian elephant, gorilla, etc.

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The different types of cruelties inflicted upon animals and their effects are briefly described below—

  1. Poaching:
  2. The illegal killing and trafficking of animals are called poaching. It is done for the following reasons—

    • Elephants are killed for their tusks which are turned into precious ivory jewellery and sold at high prices.
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    • Rhinoceros are killed for their horns, which are as costly as gold in some countries. These horns are used for making medicines.
    • Snakes are killed for their skin that is used for making leather bags, shoes, belts, wallets, etc.
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    • Crocodiles are also killed for their skin that is used to make bags, shoes, etc.
    • Musk deer is killed for its unique musk, which is used as the main ingredient of perfumes and medicines.
    • Blue whales are killed for their blubber, the fat layer found beneath their skin. It is used for making special oils.
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  3. Use of animals for entertainment:
    • Animals are used in circuses, zoos, marine parks, etc., for entertainment.
    • For such reasons, animals are kept in man-made habitats.
    • Animals are kept in small-sized cages tied up with chains.
    • Enough food and water are not provided.
    • Animals are trained to perform tricks. This training is vigorous, which harms animals physically and mentally.
    • As a result, animals die prematurely or suffer from various ailments.
    • Such activities adversely affect the population of animals.
    • These animals do not get adapted to their natural habitats and need extra care for rehabilitation.

Effects of animal cruelties:

When humans were solely dependent on the forest and animals for survival, poaching was essential for several reasons like obtaining food, body covering, medicines, etc.

Moreover, the poaching didn’t affect the ecosystem as the human population was less, and nature provided enough time for the revival of the number of animals killed.

However, the present scenario is different where there is no end to humans’ greed, leading to the killing of several animal species.

  1. Depletion of keystone species:
    • The species that make the backbone of the entire ecosystem are called the keystone species.
    • Without these species, the ecosystem cannot exist altogether.
    • Keystone species help maintain the balance between predators and prey populations.
    • Examples: Mammalian species like leopards, tigers, lions, and jaguars are the keystone species as they help in keeping the balance of several prey animals.

  2. Effects on migration and hibernation of animals:
    • Migration and hibernation are behavioural adaptations shown by many animal species because of seasonal changes.
    • Due to hunting, animals stop migrating and hibernating as they get scared of getting killed. As a result, an ecological imbalance is created that increases the vulnerability of animal species to harsh environmental conditions.
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  3. Interruption in the functioning of the ecosystem:
    • Every species plays a role on a certain trophic level of the ecosystem.
    • A decrease or increase in one or more species creates an imbalance in the ecosystem, disrupting its normal function.
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    How to stop animal cruelty?

    The protection of animal species is essential to maintain ecological balance. With the rate of extinction increasing, many animal species are facing the danger of getting extinct shortly. If such a situation continues for long, all the biotic components of the environment will face severe challenges.

    Different ways by which animal cruelty can be prevented are mentioned below—

    1. Making and enforcing strict laws:
      • Several laws made for animal protection must be enforced without any exclusions.
      • There should be strict, non-negotiable punishments for poachers and hunters.
    2. Awareness:
      • Young people should be educated about the importance of the existence of animals in the ecosystem.
      • Common resources like the internet, magazines, and books should be used judiciously to impart the required knowledge.
    3. Banning the selling or buying of animal products:
      • Poaching and hunting are done to make expensive animal products, which help people make money.
      • Banning the selling and purchasing of such items would greatly help, and discourage the poachers from hunting innocent animals.
      • One should never buy a product if it is made of animal skin.
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  4. Implementation of acts for the protection of animals:
    1. The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972:
      • This act prohibits injury to any wild animal or plant.
      • Animals include amphibians, mammals, reptiles, and birds.
      • The punishment for the person guilty under this act is imprisonment of 5-7 years.
    2. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960:
    3. This act defines the cruelty to animals as the following:

      • Cruelty against a pet.
      • Inhumane slaughter or transportation of animals.
      • Inhumane living conditions for the animal.

Project Tiger:

  • Project Tiger was launched in April 1973.
  • The main aims of the project were—
    1. Ensuring the average number of Bengal Tigers in their natural habitats.
    2. Reduction in the number of factors that lead to the depletion of tigers.
    3. Elimination of all possible aspects of human intervention.
    4. Monitoring the environmental changes and carrying out research about wildlife.
  • Nagpur is known as the Tiger Capital of India, as the environmental conditions that prevail in that region are most apt for tigers' conservation and breeding. There are around 13 tiger reserves in this region.

Some of the tiger reserves built under Project Tiger are in the following locations—

  • Manas in Assam
  • Kaziranga in Assam
  • Bandipur in Karnataka
  • Periyar in Kerala
  • Bandhavgarh in Pradesh
  • Ranthambore in Rajasthan
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New Words

Ecosystem: The smallest structural and functional unit of an ecosystem.

Biodiversity: It stands for the variety of animal and plant species found in an area.

Inhumane: Something which lacks compassion or mercy.


Did You Know?

  • A species is defined as extinct after many years of not being spotted. The formation of a species is an extremely slow process; the same happens when one species disappears.
  • Species found only in a particular area or geographical location are called endemic species.
  • Bananas are the fourth largest crop produced after wheat, rice and corn.
  • Examples: Kashmir stag of Kashmir Valley, Sangai Deer of Loktak Lake, Purple frog of Western Ghats.

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