Randeep Hooda on pregnant elephant's death in Kerala: Laws exist on paper, hardly implemented

Updated: Jun 06, 2020, 07:32 IST | Mohar Basu | Mumbai

As the first arrest is made in elephant killing case, Randeep Hooda wants stricter rules against animal cruelty.

Randeep Hoda
Randeep Hoda

The brutal killing of a pregnant elephant in Kerala sparked massive outrage across the country. Even as the Kerala forest department made the first arrest in the case yesterday, actor Randeep Hooda — a fierce advocate of animal rights — emphasised the need for harsher laws to protect wildlife.

"Such [killings] can't be done away with by meting out severe punishments. The Centre, state government, local authorities, forest department and the police, along with the judiciary, need to deal with these issues holistically. Sensitisation and education of the masses, along with socio-economic help to those in direct contact with wildlife, will change things gradually," states Hooda.

Since the incident came to light last week, the equestrian has been contemplating appealing to the central government to review the laws against animal cruelty. "Laws exist on paper, but they are hardly implemented. In India, killing a tiger can land one in jail for seven years, but the conviction rate is low. Bails are given easily. Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have a higher incidence of man-animal conflict. The ministry of environment, [forest and climate change] should focus on these areas. Locals should be encouraged to safeguard the environment because they are the on-ground conservationists."

The horrific nature of the killing sent shockwaves across the country, with several celebrities expressing grief. "The outrage expedited action on the case. Celebrities can help spread awareness, but only consistent work at the ground level will have a long-term impact. Development can't stop, but we need to do it wisely. Maybe the government needs to put a blanket ban on cutting down of forests."

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