Mumbai: Acting on a tip from a concerned citizen, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India and officials from the Maharashtra Forest Department and the Mumbai Police sprang into action to rescue two monkeys who were being forced by two women to beg for money at the Dadar Central railway station in Mumbai. The rhesus macaques – a protected species under Section II of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 – were sent to Mumbai range forest office for rehabilitation, and their apparently unlawful custodians were arrested.
"Smart, social monkeys should be with their families in the wild, not begging for money in a crowded railway station under the command of cruel people," says PETA India Emergency Response Coordinator Deepak Chaudhary.
"This type of incident is exactly why laws protecting imperilled wild animals from exploitation exist, and PETA India encourages all kind people to keep their eyes open and report any cases of animal abuse or illegal wildlife trading to authorities,” he added.
PETA India points out that monkeys are trained to "dance" through beatings and food deprivation. Their teeth are pulled out by the madaris so that they can't defend themselves.
In 1998, the central government issued a notification under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, stating that monkeys and several other species of wild animals aren't to be exhibited or trained as performing animals.
The notification was issued based on the recommendation of a high-level expert committee which concluded that cruelty is inherent whenever wild animals are kept in captivity and that animals experience substantial pain and suffering when they're trained and forced to perform.
Wild animals belong in their natural habitats, and exploiting them for profit or keeping them in captivity as "pets" is both morally wrong and punishable by up to seven years in prison and a fine of at least Rs 10,000 under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. However, since animal-protection laws are poorly enforced, madaris can be found across India using monkeys to beg for money.