PETA calls for animal sexual abuse to be ‘cognisable offence’

Reiterating the demand of including sexual assault on animals as cognisable offence in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1990, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has again appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Giriraj Singh to pay attention to their appeal made in February.

This comes in the backdrop of arrest of a man for allegedly raping a dog in Mumbai earlier this month, the animal rights organisation said. The Group also emphasised on the need for stronger penalties for cruelty to animals.

PETA India has been campaigning to strengthen the PCA Act, 1960 and demanding to including sexual assault as cognisable offence under which a police officer has the authority to make an arrest without a warrant and to start an investigation with or without the permission of a court. It includes heinous crimes.

It had first made this appeal in 2018 to the Environment Ministry in the wake of reports that eight men allegedly gang-raped and killed a pregnant goat in the town of Mewat in Nuh district in Haryana, leading to arrests.

In 2019, following complaints filed with local police by a local animal rights activist and PETA India, a First Information Report (FIR) was registered against a man for allegedly raping a female stray dog in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai.

The year before, a complaint by PETA India and another local animal rights activist led to an FIR being filed against a man for allegedly raping a female stray dog in Jaipur.

In 2016, PETA India called for the arrest of Vellore medical students who, according to eyewitnesses, used a blanket to catch a female bonnet macaque and tied her by the hands, legs, and neck.

They also thrashed her with sticks and belts, impaled her with a sharp object, broke her legs and jaw, raped her with a rod, and killed her. These are just a few examples.

“Violent people often start by abusing animals and then move on to targeting human victims. Therefore, these cases of sexual abuse of animals should worry everyone,” said PETA India Associate Manager of Emergency Response Team Meet Ashar.

“PETA India calls for anyone found harming animals to be punished to the fullest extent of the law and requests that penalties for abusing animals be strengthened – for the entire community’s safety.”

Acts of cruelty to animals indicate a deep mental disturbance. Research in psychology and criminology shows that people who commit acts of cruelty to animals often don’t stop there – many move on to hurting humans.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has found that a history of cruelty to animals is one of the traits that regularly appear in its records of serial rapists and murderers.

Examples of such individuals include Ameerul Islam, who used to rape and kill dogs and goats before he was sentenced to death for raping and murdering law student Jisha in Kerala, PETA said.

Convicted criminal Joseph Bateson of Northern Ireland – who allegedly sexually assaulted farmed animals – was found guilty of 17 counts of gross indecency with a child and of indecent assault after he sexually abused a 6-year-old boy.

American criminal Jerry Cook was convicted of cruelty to animals and assault and battery following an incident in which he raped a dog – fatally injuring her in the process – and attacked the owner of a home he was burgling.

Cook’s history of violence began nearly two decades earlier, when he was convicted of the first-degree rape of a human.

Previously, PETA India had requested that the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Law and Justice retain the criminalisation of bestiality – the sexual assault of an animal by a human being – under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code while amending the wording to decriminalise sexual acts between same-sex human partners and between other consenting adults. That wording has been retained.