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

126 comments

Chad A
Chad A29 days ago

Thank you.

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara1 months ago

well done India

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara1 months ago

great

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hELEN h
hELEN h1 months ago

tyfs

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Karen N
Karen N2 months ago

This is excellent news for animals in that particular part of India and should be extended across the whole country and worldwide! . . .
"The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different." ~ Hippocrates ~

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Karen N
Karen N2 months ago

Regardless of whether they are tame, wild, born naturally, purposely farmed or produced in a lab, ALL animals are 'sentient living beings' on the same level as humans (in many cases more so), with a soul, character, emotions, intelligence & awareness of their own & are fully aware of how they are being treated; they feel pain, fear, anxiety, stress, suffer depression, grieve & cry tears too. Unfortunately most people are too busy abusing, consuming & wearing them to care! Like humans animals bond with each other & have a voice & communication of their own, just because it isn't a language of the human species is no excuse to ignore their pleas, cries & screams for life & to live in peace free from exploitation & harm. Animals are people in different bodies (& are by far better people than those who exploit & harm them), it's only the physical abilities between species that sets us apart, humans can do things animals can't & animals can do things humans can't. Unfortunately humans possess 'egos' causing many to discriminate & arrogantly think they are more important, special & superior to other species, even to their own kind & immorally think their deluded belief of superiority gives them the right to exploit others. They refuse to acknowledge animals are 'sentient beings' making it easier to treat them as 'objects' to exploit. Very sad!

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Julia R
Julia R2 months ago

Good for Uttarkhand, India! Thank you judges for your ruling which recognizes that animals should have the same rights of people when it comes to protecting them against all forms of abuse and providing them with quality care! I hope that this ruling will spread to all parts of India and I hope that the US will soon pass a law that gives personhood status to animals too!

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Kathy G
Kathy G2 months ago

Thank you

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Marija M
Marija M2 months ago

Thank you Indian court.

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Leo C
Leo C2 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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