A man driving an auto has been booked by police for transporting 14 sheep and goats under inhumane conditions. The animals, which were being taken to a butchery for slaughter, had their legs tied and were stacked on top of each other in the auto, a witness said. Four men were also travelling in the same auto.
Bengaluru-based activist Ritika Goel spotted the auto carrying the animals and stopped the vehicle. She filed a complaint with the Shivajinagar police station. The accused, the man driving the auto, has been booked under sections 11 (animal cruelty) and 26 (offences under the Act) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960; section 56 (guidelines for transporting cattle) of the Transportation of Animals Act 1978; and IPC sections 428 and 429 (mischief by killing or maiming animal of the value of ten rupees).
“There were 4-5 animals in the place where you keep your feet in the auto, and even in the tiny dicky of the auto,” alleges Ritika, who is an honorary animal welfare officer associated with the Animal Welfare Board of India.
Ritika also alleged that the animals were less than three months old. “They were not old enough to be slaughtered, as per regulations,” she claims.
Lack of awareness among cops
The culprits allegedly tried to escape on the pretext of untying the animals and tethering them to a pole at the nearby shop. But Ritika, the auto driver and the animals eventually arrived at the Shivajinagar police station around 7 pm. However, Ritika says the police did not know which sections and laws to use, and were unsure if it was a serious offence.
“I told them the relevant laws and sections; it still took over two hours,” Ritika says. Finally, a complaint was filed and police registered the FIR.
Activists say that transporting animals like this is common, even though it is illegal. Ritika alleged that some of the sheep had even suffered leg fractures and little thought is given to their pain.
“People often use cost cutting measures like hiring an auto. They stuff the animals inside so that they don’t have to make another trip.”
The animals are now being treated at a shelter, Ritika says.