Kerala activists demand ‘Personhood’ status for animals

Thiruvananthapuram:  In a powerful display of unity, animal rights activists across Kerala gathered in front of the Secretariat here on Saturday to advocate for personhood status for animals.

They highlighted the brutality committed against farm, community and work animals and for those used for testing of medicines and cosmetics.

The activists, brandishing placards and banners, sought to raise awareness about speciesism a prejudice that deems humans superior to other species.

Messages on the placards emphasised moral equivalence and one activist, Drushti, stated unequivocally, “There is no moral difference between killing a dog and killing a goat or killing a human. They all suffer equally and feel the same fear and pain.”

Another activist, Jayaseelan highlighted the lack of awareness about ghastly and inhuman “standard practices” in the animal agriculture industry, shedding light on the separation of mother and offspring in dairy farms, painful artificial insemination, confinement of cows and utter inhuman abandonment and/or slaughtering of male calves.

He drew attention to India’s significant role as a leading exporter of beef and leather, attributing this to the dairy industry. He pointed out the sheer hypocrisy in a nation that calls a cow “mother” and then treats them worse than commodities.

The primary demand voiced by the activists was the acknowledgment of animals as sentient beings and the rejection of the term and treatment of them as “livestock.”

Animal activists in Kerala and India are also against the cruel battery cages used for transporting chicken in the poultry sector and the gestation cages for sows in pig farming.

The protestors on Saturday urged the government to grant legal personhood status to animals and called for a complete ban on industries where animals are exploited.

Amjor Chandran, one of the organisers of the protest, passionately expressed the need to recognise the basic freedom of animals that is their birthright.

“There are peer reviewed researches that acknowledge that we can thrive on a plant-based diet. So there is no single valid reason to continue with using and exploiting animals,” said Chandran.

Responding to concerns about economic impact, Suma, another activist emphasised the importance of approaching the issue from the perspective of social justice.

She drew parallels with the rejection of child labour, stating, “When there is a social justice issue, we should think from the victim’s perspective.”

The rally resonated with slogans such as “Their bodies, not ours; their eggs, not ours; their milk, not ours.”

Activists called for a shift in societal priorities, asserting that animal abuse and exploitation should no longer be overlooked, especially during election discussions, policy-making and citizen action initiatives.

The event concluded when the activists urged society to confront the uncomfortable reality of animal exploitation and work towards a future where animals are recognised as sentient beings deserving of protection, care, respect and legal “personhood” status.


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