Delhi High Court. (File Photo: IANS). Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, Aug 14 : The Delhi High Court on Friday directed the central government to file its response in connection with a petition seeking directions to the Centre to prohibit inhumane animal husbandry procedures and methods used to euthanise animals.

A division bench of the High Court presided by Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan issued notice to the respondents on a petition filed by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and slated the matter for further hearing on September 15.

The petition pointed to 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," the animal welfare organisation said.

PETA further said 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 added.

PETA said that the rules mandated the use of anaesthetics prior to castration, the replacement of outdated practices such as nose-roping with face halters and branding with radio-frequency identification, and the breeding of hornless cattle.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 sought immediate prohibition on such inhumane procedures, rules to define, regulate, and improve the prescribed processes, and replacement of outdated procedures with humane alternative methods.

PETA India CEO and Chief Veterinarian Dr Manilal Valliyate said: "Anyone can imagine the immense pain involved when the nerve-rich cord connected to the testicles is crushed; when a thick, blunt needle is passed through the nasal septum; or when the skin is burned with a hot iron." Dr Valliyate added: "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." Following advisories issued by the Animal Welfare Board of India and the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying regarding humane animal husbandry procedures and euthanasia, many state animal husbandry departments have directed their veterinarians to use humane methods. However, in the absence of an enforceable law that defines, improves, and regulates these methods, animals continue to be treated cruelly during such procedures.

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