On Sunday afternoon, around 3.30 pm, more than 500 Puneites had gathered near the Alka Talkies Chowk to be a part of nationwide campaign ‘India Unites For Animals — A movement against animal abuse’, that demands stricter rules and more fines for crimes committed against animals. A silent march took place from Alka Talkies to Fergusson College.
People were seen carrying various placards that read — ‘Don’t just be sorry, do something’, ‘Be a voice for the voiceless’ and ‘Make India a Land of Ahimsa Again’. The movement, that aims to get the Animal Welfare Bill passed in the Parliament, was also carried out by animal lovers in 58 other cities in India and 24 cities outside the country.
Anson Joseph, one of the participants in the march, said, “In the recent past, we have been witnessing a sharp rise in the crimes committed against animals. One of the main reasons for this rise is the weak PCA Act, according to which the person who commits any crime against an animal is required to pay a fine of Rs 10 that can go upto Rs 50. This Act was made in 1960, when Rs 50 was a high amount. We need stricter laws and a higher fine amount. The movement is launched today but will go on till the Animal Welfare Bill is passed in the Parliament.”
Other than individual animal lovers, the march also saw participation from a number of people who are associated with various animal rights NGOs in the city.
This year in March, a man in Delhi attacked four dogs with a knife, leaving one dead and others injured. In June, an offence was registered in Pune against two unidentified persons for throwing acid on two stray dogs, causing severe burn injuries.
In July, two medical students of Chennai posted a video that shows one of them throwing a dog from the terrace of a two-storey building. The same month also saw a case reported in Hyderabad in which a group of minor boys recorded and circulated a video showing them setting three living puppies on fire.
Phiroze Pundol, another participant in the march, said, “Animals are more loving and faithful then human beings. We need to protect them and fight for them, as they themselves cannot fight. They have the right to live. There’s a serious need for a change in the rules in our country, which should be amended and made so strict that any person before harming any animal will think ten times. In some of the countries, for instance the US, animal cruelty is equivalent to a crime against society.”