Indian Court Rules that All Animals Have Legal Personhood

The high court in India’s Punjab and Haryana region of India ruled that all animals have the “rights, duties, and liabilities of a living person’ under the law.

The ruling also stated that humans have a legal responsibility to protect the welfare of animals similar to that of a relationship between a parent and their minor children.

The case came before the court after individuals convicted of unlawfully exporting cows from Haryana filed an appeal.

“All animals have honor and dignity,” the judge who issued the ruling said. “Every species has an inherent right to live and is required to be protected by law… and the rights of animals are to be respected and protected from unlawful attacks.”

The judge cited a precedent set by the Indian Supreme Court in Animal Welfare Board of India vs. Nagaraja that stated that the right to dignity and fair treatment in India’s Constitution is  “not confined to human beings alone, but animals as well”.

The court issued a large amount of guiding principles for the treatment of animals in India including carrying loads, the number of people who can ride in a vehicle pulled by animals, a prohibition on the use of sharp objects in animal coercion, among many other things.

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