Most Indians feel animals, people have equal rights: study

Last Updated: Tue, Nov 27, 2012 07:10 hrs

New Delhi, Nov 27 (IANS) More than 85 percent Indians believe that animals have as many rights as people, says recent research on animal welfare.

According to surveys conducted by the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA),

87 percent people in India think that animals have as many rights as people and 83 percent Indians believe protecting animals from the effect of natural disasters is important. Besides, 73 percent believe the treatment of animals is a serious challenge and that they should be protected from the effect of natural disasters.

"Animals matter to the planet. Protecting them is vital to any successful response to the biggest issues of our time, from disasters and climate change, to stable food supplies and good health. The welfare of animals affects us all, and protecting them cannot wait," Mike Baker, CEO of WSPA, said while launching its campaign for animal welfare in India Monday.

Underlining the reason for WSPA launching its campaign in India, he said: "India is a global power today and a unique country with a passion for animals that is embedded in its culture. It can give a perspective to the link between human and animal welfare."

In his presentation, Baker gave three different examples − one from the island of Bali in Indonesia and two from India. In all three cases, the WSPA had helped protect animals from being culled at the same time rehabilitating humans dependent on them.

Other speakers who spoke on the occasion included R.M. Kharb, chairman of Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI), Chinny Krishna, vice president of the AWBI and Emily Reeves, director of programmes, WSPA (Asia Pacific).

"This campaign is necessary as human−animal conflicts are increasing and animals usually lose in these. Also, enforcement of animal protection laws in India is a big grey area," said Kharb.

Krishna echoed Kharb. "India has the finest animal protection laws in the world. But their implementation is woefully poor."

"Indians believe that every life is sacred. And yet, what we do to animals should shame us," he added.

Reeves said: "Collaboration is essential for success. Wide−scale change that is sustainable can only be brought about by collaboration."

The launch of WSPA's campaign came on the same day when union minister of Environment and Forests, Jayanthi Natarajan launched the National Bear Action Plan in the capital.

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