Existing laws don’t deal with animal protection, suffering in captivity: LHC

Published May 8, 2021
The Lahore High Court has observed that the existing laws do not deal with cruelty to animals regarding their protection, integrity, diversity, well-being and, most importantly, unjust suffering due to captivity. — Wikimedia Commons/File
The Lahore High Court has observed that the existing laws do not deal with cruelty to animals regarding their protection, integrity, diversity, well-being and, most importantly, unjust suffering due to captivity. — Wikimedia Commons/File

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court has observed that the existing laws do not deal with cruelty to animals regarding their protection, integrity, diversity, well-being and, most importantly, unjust suffering due to captivity.

Hearing a public interest petition for the enforcement of animal rights, Justice Jawad Hassan further observed that the issue of cruelty to animals was firstly raised in the UK in 1876 by introducing the Cruelty to Animals Act, 1876 and subsequently, to further develop the concept of welfare of wild animals, the Animals Welfare Act, 2006 was enacted.

Subsequently, he noted, the laws relating to welfare of wild animals have been taught in various renowned universities and law schools across the world.

The petition filed by Sanita Gulzar Ahmad, daughter of Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmad, also challenged the legality of Section 12 of Punjab Wild Life Act 1974, which authorises individuals to keep and raise wild animals in private capacity.

Advocate Abuzar Salman Khan Niazi, on behalf of the petitioner, argued that due to insertion of Section 12 in the Act, most of the wild animals had been kept by people for entertainment purposes without proper supervision and welfare.

He said there had been various instances where horrific videos have circulated of wild animals in private possession of people who were being tortured, kept in worst possible conditions and even beaten by people/“caregivers” while being tied with chains.

He said these instances proved that the right place and home for wild animals was their respective natural habitat and not the four walls or the boundaries of a zoo.

He further explained that the animals were sentient, therefore, they could not be subjected to pain and suffering due to captivity in any manner, unless it was necessary to do so for their welfare.

Justice Hassan directed a provincial law officer to seek instructions from the authorities concerned and submit reports on behalf of the respondents explaining whether rules had been made as per the provisions of Section 46 of the Wild Life Act and what steps had been taken for the welfare of the wild animals in Punjab.

The judge adjourned hearing till June 8 and also appointed Barrister Sameer Khosa and Barrister Ahmad Pansota amicus curiae (friends of courts) to assist the court in the matter. Advocate Hira Jalil, who has an LLM degree in animal welfare laws from the US, will also assist the amicus curiae.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2021

Opinion

Climate & youth

Climate & youth

Disillusionment and anxiety are on the rise among youth as they confront the diminishing prospects of a better tomorrow.
Our exclusivity syndrome
Updated 17 Oct 2021

Our exclusivity syndrome

Pakistan needs at least a minimum level of inclusivity that can keep alive democratic values.
Shafqat Kakakhel
Updated 16 Oct 2021

Shafqat Kakakhel

COP26 has to achieve consensus on several issues.

Editorial

Carnage in Kandahar
Updated 17 Oct 2021

Carnage in Kandahar

Pakistan’s anti-extremism policy is in many ways half-baked and inconsistent.
17 Oct 2021

Sanctity of contracts

PAKISTAN is facing yet another international dispute before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment...
17 Oct 2021

New sports policy

THIS week, the Pakistan Football Federation Normalisation Committee chief Haroon Malik was in Zurich to hold ...
Diminishing freedom
Updated 16 Oct 2021

Diminishing freedom

DESPITE the serious reservations of digital rights activists and tech companies, the federal government has...
16 Oct 2021

Dirty politics

IN her outburst against Prime Minister Imran Khan this week, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz may not have taken names but...
16 Oct 2021

Decreasing emissions

THE announcement by SAPM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam that carbon emissions in the country came down by 9pc...