High Court Rules That Animals Have Emotions Like Humans

This landmark legal ruling sets a vital precedent for animal rights

Pathless Pilgrim

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Photo by Charl Durand on Unsplash

A high court in Bombay has ruled in an important landmark case that non-human animals have emotions, feelings and sensitivities, just like humans.

Of course, anyone who lives with a cat or a dog knows that animals have feelings and emotions. We’ve known it for a long, long time, but sadly laws around the world have often been slow to catch up with common sense.

The case involved a truck full of buffaloes, who were seized by police after the animals were found to be packed in to the overcrowded vehicle without food or water, and suffering from pain and trauma.

The appellants, from whom the buffaloes had originally been confiscated, had been petitioning the courts for the return of the animals, who they saw as their ‘property’.

However, the court refused to return them, entrusting them instead to the care of a sanctuary for their protection and stating that “animals have emotions, feelings and senses similar to a human being. The only difference is that the animals cannot speak and therefore, though their rights are recognized under the law, they cannot assert the same.”

Animals have emotions, feelings and senses similar to a human being. The only difference is that the animals cannot speak and therefore, though their rights are recognized under the law, they cannot assert the same.

This ruling, in which the court also stated that cases involving animal cruelty should be approached and handled with ‘great sensitivity’ is one of a number of positive rulings around the world involving the recognition of animals as sentient persons with rights.

Hippos, a bear, sea turtles and a chimpanzee have all received legal recognition of their rights or personhood in courts around the world, and other cases are ongoing.

Of course, legal recognition of the emotions and rights of non-human people is still in its very early stages. Even the most progressive societies are a long, long way from a…

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Pathless Pilgrim

Many things to many people... A complete enigma to myself.