New Delhi, Sep 16 : The Delhi government has told the Delhi High Court that no cruelty is involved in animal husbandry procedures in the state as measures like castration, euthanasia, etc are carried out in a scientific and humane manner under direct supervision of government veterinary officers.
The government’s affidavit was filed before a division bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan in response to a petition filed by animal welfare organisation PETA seeking a prohibition on inhumane animal husbandry procedures.
The government also stated that in compliance of the advisories of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), it is also in the process of further framing its own standard operating procedures to carry out the mandate of AWBI and the Veterinary Council of India and they will be soon circulated among veterinary officers.
After taking a note of the affidavit, filed by the Delhi government through its counsel Rishikesh Kumar on Monday, the bench posted the matter for further hearing on October 23.
PETA’s petition claimed the use of hot irons, knives, or wires for dehorning animals, physical and chemical methods for castration, hot iron-branding for identification, and piercing of cattle septum by using iron rods, which caused tremendous pain to the animals.
“Euthanasia is carried out inhumanely. Injection of chemical agents to arrest the functioning of the heart without a preceding anaesthetic overdose results in an extremely painful death and is often done by veterinarians and veterinary technicians in India,” it said.
PETA said that the rules mandated the use of anaesthetics prior to castration, the replacement of outdated practices such as nose-roping with face halters and branding with radio-frequency identification, and the breeding of hornless cattle.
It also noted that certain animal husbandry procedures are exempted under Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, but sub-section 3 offers an exception and deems dehorning of cattle, castration, branding, and nose-roping not to be cruel provided that they are done in a “prescribed manner”.
“Despite the rampant prevalence of inhumane husbandry and euthanasia procedures, the ministries concerned have failed to enact rules under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to regulate, improve and define the prescribed manner for performing the procedures and also the procedures for euthanising animals in order to prevent pain and suffering,” it said, seeking immediate prohibition on such inhumane procedures, rules to define, regulate, and improve on the prescribed processes, and replacement of outdated procedures with humane alternative methods.
PETA India CEO and Chief Veterinarian Dr Manilal Valliyate said: “Without a detailed direction from the government, veterinary service providers often resort to barbaric, painful, and downright cruel methods during common husbandry procedures, which subjects countless animals to fear, distress, and suffering. If such painful procedures are not allowed to be carried out without anaesthetics for humans, the same should be true for other animals also.”