India has a many-thousand year old tradition of respect for all life. However, in the last few years, many issues concerning the welfare of animals have been given short shrift. In the guise of tradition or culture, we cannot permit the ill-treatment of animals in any form. Mahatma Gandhi said that the moral progress of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated. By this yardstick, we have a long way to go.
It is essential that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Bill which was recommended by the Animal Welfare Board of India many years ago and is just lying with the Ministry of Environment & Forests and Climate Change must be introduced in Parliament without any further delay.
Due care must also be taken while finalizing any new project by ensuring that its effect on the environment is minimized - the bullet train for example will severely damage the ecosystem just north of Mumbai if the present alignment is maintained.
Animals and the environment must be given their due importance. The BJP manifesto must promise that the outdated Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 is replaced with the proposed Animal Welfare Bill of 2014 without any delay.
The maximum penalty under the existing PCA Act is Rs.50!