PETA calls for highest punishment for Shaktimaan’s attackers

New Delhi: Following the arrest of Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Ganesh Joshi for allegedly assaulting police horse Shaktimaan, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India on Friday lauded the move, while calling for the highest punishment possible under Section 429 to everyone who was involved in hitting and injuring the animal.

In a statement, PETA India CEO Poorva Joshipura said that Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code makes it illegal to maim or render useless any animal above the value of Rs. 50 and carries a penalty of imprisonment up to five years, or fine, or both.

Asserting that to act as a genuine deterrent against cruelty to animals, and to show the public this crime has been taken seriously, she added that the highest punishment possible under Section 429 must be applied to everyone who was involved in hitting and harassing Shaktimaan, or causing his fall.

“PETA will be appealing to the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change once again to strengthen the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 which has outdated, weak, almost meaningless penalties for crimes against animals,” Joshipura said over the mere Rs. 10 or 50 fine for a first offense in the matter.

On the issue of Shaktimaan’s leg having to be amputated, PETA India’s Director of Veterinary Affairs, an equine specialist, says, “Please do not be fooled: Shaktimaan is not out of danger. In fact, he is far from it. Treating an injury like this is extremely difficult and complicated and artificial limbs are tricky and uncommon for large animals.”

Stating that Shaktimaan may not accept the artificial limb, and the equipment itself could end up being a source of discomfort and pain for the horse, the specialist added that the horse is still at risk of suffering and dying of infection and that the veterinarians treating Shaktimaan have a tough job.

“They have to professionally and ethically weigh the cost and benefit of choosing decisions in the best interest of Shaktiman. A life ahead of just pain and suffering is not really a life at all,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jamie Won of Maya Foundation, who owns a non-profitable animal rescue centre in the United States, told ANI that she has contacted one of her friend who would donate a prosthetic leg for Shaktimaan.

“They had the leg amputated as it was completely damaged. We have fitted it with a temporary prosthesis to help get him up and stabilize the wound. In the coming weeks, we will have a permanent prosthesis made for him.

“I have found a friend in US and they are going to donate a leg. We would make a mould for the leg and send it there,” she added.

Dr. Firoz Khambata, who was one of the doctors involved in the surgery, told ANI that the operation was successful but it was too early to say about the long term success as there was a lot of tissue loss. (ANI)