Animals Are People, Too – Indian Court Awards Animals Rights

Animals in India just earned some new rights and protections thanks to a milestone victory in court.  The win comes in Uttarakhand, where the state’s highest court decided that animals “have distinct personas with the corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person.”

Although the lawsuit in front of the court pertained to horses pulling carts, the judges Lokpal Singh and Rajiv Sharma extended these rights to the “entire animal kingdom,” giving all birds, fish and mammals protections within Uttarakhand.

Indian law already establishes two classes of personhood: the first is for adult humans, and the second is for children, people with intellectual impairments and companies (not unlike America’s corporate personhood rule.) Per the ruling, animals will fit into the second category and, as a result, benefit from similar personhood rights.

While some hoped this ruling would prevent humans from using horses to pull carriages altogether, the judges didn’t go that far. They did, however, demand nicer care for the horses and extra safety equipment. There are also new weight limits on the amount of people/cargo horses can be made to pull. Furthermore, the horses are not permitted to work when the temperature gets too hot or cold.

As for wild and/or stray animals, they will be guaranteed free veterinary care and decent shelter as needed.

The court’s ruling also came with an imperative to the human population: humans are now stewards of the animals and are compelled to protect them from threats. Of course, there’s no guarantee that all people in the state will take that call seriously, but at the very least, animal welfare advocates will have legal backing when they try to intervene in situations on an animal’s behalf.

For now, the ruling applies only to Uttarakhand, though it’s an important first step toward earning similar protections throughout the country of India. Other parts of the world such as Quebec, New Zealand and France have extended similar personhood rights to animals.

As for the United States, granting personhood to pets and animals is a debate that’s unlikely to be resolved anytime soon. There’s no doubt from the rise in anti-animal cruelty legislation that Americans are caring more about protecting animals, but some humans just have trouble dealing with the idea of putting animals anywhere near their own level.

Take Action

Whether we call them “people” or not, animals throughout the world are vulnerable due to a lack of respect and rights. You can help to fight to make a change by signing some of Care2’s ongoing animal rights petitions.

 

Photo credit: Thinkstock

109 comments

Mark Donner
Mark Donner7 hours ago

Scientists say they're several steps closer to perfecting a method that could prevent the extinction of northern white rhinos, of which only two animals are known still to be alive.

researchers have succeeded in creating embryos using frozen northern white rhino sperm and eggs from a southern white rhino, a closely related sub-species.

They plan to harvest the egg cells of the two surviving female rhinos soon and use preserved sperm to produce "pure" northern white rhino embryos. Since the females, a mother and daughter called Najin and Fatu, are unable to bear offspring themselves, the embryos would be implanted in a southern white rhino surrogate.

They should get unlimited funding from governments for this. The world cannot afford to let this magnificent species go extinct.

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Irene S
Irene S11 hours ago

Sounds great!

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Janis K
Janis K13 hours ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Nicole Heindryckx
Nicole H16 hours ago

@ Renata B : I and my late husband adopted 4 dogs and 1 cat. They have always lived inside, slept on the couch, and when my husband passed, the last one was even with me in bed. They had 3 walks a day. Being disabled now, and single, I can't have a dog, but I have other pets, who I love dearly. When I tell you that for my shepherds and other dogs and cat I have always cooked fresh meals, then am I such a bad person ?? Don't I love animals ? Please wash your mouth, and let me know what you have done in your life ?? ?? ?? (and forget arrogance!!) Read my countless number of other comments, and you will know that I am MOST certainly the WORST of all humans. Surprises me that I have never been in jail !! By the way, My husband and I adopted 2 children from Chile (S. America) who had 9 & 11 years. How many people would do that ??? You know that costs for flight tickets / paperwork etc.. (in 1991) were approx. $ 20,000. And then I still have to add clothing, school, psychotherapy, special lessons, and a whole bunch more. We could have bought a nice little apartment instead. And we are/were no rich people. I worked as employee and my husband was a postman. I even quit my job for several years to take care of them, and help with their schoolwork. OH OH OH Shame on me. Such Disgusting Creature !!

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Leo Custer
Leo Custer16 hours ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Amanda M
Amanda M17 hours ago

Thanks for sharing

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Amanda M
Amanda M17 hours ago

Thanks for sharing

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michela c
michela c17 hours ago

Thanks

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Janet B
Janet B17 hours ago

Thanks

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Deborah W
Deborah W19 hours ago

Some hoped this ruling would prevent humans from using horses to pull carriages altogether but the judges didn’t go that far. They did, however, demand NICER(?) CARE for HORSES, extra safety equipment, new weight limits on the amount of people/cargo horses can be made to pull, not permitted to work when the temperature gets too hot or cold. WHO will oversee requirements are adhered to ... and enforce appropriate penalties for non-compliance? As for the wild and/or stray animals, they will be guaranteed free veterinary care and decent shelter as needed. WHO is the force charged with finding and transporting to decent shelters? And are there enough staffed shelters to accommodate them once found? Of course there is no guarantee ALL people in the state will take that call seriously, and with most people in today's society being only for self, not likely. Still, at the very least, animal welfare advocates will now have legal backing when trying to intervene in situations on an animal’s behalf. Aside from court-clog and weak if any enforcement , I personally d not see many, if any, changes of value soon. For now, the ruling applies ONLY to Uttarakhand ... a very small but important and hopeful first step. ANIMALS ARE NOT PEOPLE, BUT they are more intelligent, self-sufficient, with the ability to recoil when human-made invasion distorts nature's ways. A

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