Indian Supreme Court Breaks Ground on Animal Rights

In recent years, the Supreme Court has upheld the rights of animals and birds to lead a life of “intrinsic worth, honour and dignity,” even at the cost of popular faith and practices of human beings.

The starting point of the trend dates back to May 7, 2014 — the day of pronouncement of the judgment banning jallikattu, a bull taming sport practised in Tamil Nadu.

In Animal Welfare Board of India versus A. Nagaraja, the Supreme Court historically extended the fundamental right to life to animals. It held that bulls have the fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution to live in a healthy and clean atmosphere, not to be beaten, kicked, bitten, tortured, plied with alcohol by humans or made to stand in narrow enclosures amidst bellows and jeers from crowds. In short, the Supreme Court declared that animals have a right to protect their life and dignity from human excesses.

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