Activists call for ban on use of animals in polls

Animal rights activists in Odisha have made an appeal to the State Election Commission to impose a ban on the use of animals by candidates and political parties during the ensuing panchayat and zilla parishad elections in the state.

The state unit of the animal rights group, People for Animals (PFA), has already submitted a petition in this regard to the commission. Elections to the three-tier rural bodies will be held in five phases from February 11.

According to the activists,  use of animals for election campaigns is a punishable offence under various animal protection acts currently in force in the country. Use of animals like donkeys, bulls and cows, even in many occasions elephants, during election campaigns have been a common sight  across the country.

The activists have also urged the commission to direct political parties and candidates to display restraint in abusing each other taking animal names. “In the past, politicians have called each other donkeys and dogs during their campaign,” the PFA said in its petition.

If the commission accedes to PFA’s demand, it would be the first instance of such a ban in the state.

 Activists are of the view that it should not be a difficult task for the commission to accept their demand as a few other states have already implemented such a ban.
The Maharashtra State Election Commission was reportedly the first to issue such an order.

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