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An Indian High Court has granted animals ‘legal person or entity’ status to animals, according to reports.

The ruling, by Punjab and Haryana High Court, means animals in the state of Haryana will be accorded the ‘corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person’.

It follows a 2018 landmark ruling by the Uttarakhand High Court which said animals have ‘distinct personas with corresponding rights, duties, and liabilities of a living person’. Both orders were written by Justice Rajiv Sharma, in an attempt to improve animal welfare.

‘Animals are not objects’

“The corporations, Hindu idols, holy scriptures, rivers have been declared legal entities and thus, in order to protect and promote greater welfare of animals including avian and aquatic, animals are required to be conferred with the status of legal entity/ legal person,” Justice Sharma said.

“The animals should be healthy, comfortable, well nourished, safe, able to express innate behavior without pain, fear and distress. They are entitled to justice. The animals cannot be treated as objects or property.

“All the citizens throughout the state of Haryana are hereby declared persons in loco parentis (meaning – in the place of a parent) as the human face for the welfare/protection of animals.”

The judgments need to be ratified by India’s national Supreme Court.

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.