Breaking! High Court Rules That All Animals In India Are Individuals With Rights
Yesterday, the Uttarakhand High Court in India granted the status of “legal person or entity” to all animals that are sentient beings, including avian and aquatic.
As per The Hindu, the decision was made because the animals “have a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person.”
The court also declared that Uttarakhand natives are the guardians of animals with the duty to ensure their welfare and protection.
The order was issued as a result of a public interest lawsuit seeking restrictions on the movement of horse-drawn carts between Indian and Nepal through Banbasa.
Sadly, the ruling does not call for the end of horse-drawn carriages, which would be best, but it does include specific directives to better protect the animals such as banning the use of spike or other sharp tackle or equipment on them and that they should not be harnessed to pull carts if the temperature exceeds 37°C or drops below 5°C.
The court also ruled that animal-drawn carriages have to be given Right of Way over other vehicles.
Other requirements include mandating shelter of suitable size for horses, bullocks, and stray cattle and an order that veterinary doctors of Uttarakhand must treat any stray animals that are brought to them.
With the new ruling, India joins France, New Zealand and the province of Quebec, Canada in legally recognizing animals as sentient beings.
Unfortunately, other countries such as the United States continue the battle to have animals recognized as individuals.
Perhaps India’s decision will influence others to ensure that animals worldwide receive the respect and justice that they are entitled to as sentient beings.