The Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued orders restraining use of animals by political parties in election campaigns. The directions follow complaints from individuals and voluntary organizations alleging cruelty towards animals during election campaigns. In the complaints made to ECI it has been alleged that animals like horses, ponies, donkeys, elephants, camels, bulls etc are subjected to cruelty in different ways in election campaigns. It is further alleged that the animals are often made to carry loads beyond permissible limits, made to work for long hours, and some candidates even paint slogans and election symbols on the bodies of animals using harmful chemicals.
Taking note of these complaints, the ECI has directed that the cadres and workers of political parties and candidates, in their enthusiasm, should not lose sight of the legal provisions dealing with cruelty to animals. “Article 51 A (g) of the Constitution of India calls for compassion for living creatures and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 and Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 prohibit over drives, over loads and torture of animals. Further the use of animals for work is regulated by the Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and pack Animals Rules, 1965,” the Commission states.