DU researcher puts animal rights activism on paper

Brandishing placards and holding demonstrations for animal rights is a common enough form of professing one's love for them, but Manju Chellani, of Delhi University's Law Faculty has gone a step further. She is the first to conduct academic research on animals' rights in Delhi and how law can be made animal-friendly.

Manju did her Ph.D on animal rights from the Law Faculty in 2007.

"In India, laws tend to club all animals together, instead of realising that each species require a different set of laws," says Manju.

The research scholar maintains that while animal rights activism has gained more focus in the country, not many have taken to actually studying the laws as an area of academic interest. "People usually bond with animals at a personal level," she says.

Manju says she got the idea for her research paper— titled 'International Legal Regime for the Protection of Animals - A Jurisprudential Perspective'— from the fact that fields of animal rights, environment and cultural property are interlinked.

"Since changes in the animal kingdom leads to changes in the entire food chain, it is important to understand laws on animal rights all over the world. That way it would become easier to safeguard our animals and our environment," she says.

In her paper, Manju has dealt with areas ranging from the use of PILs to safeguard animal rights to the longstanding debate on animal cloning. One of the most important areas is the use of animals in scientific research in order to develop life-saving drugs and therapies. "In this area, there is a lot of conflict when one weighs the interests of humans and animals or birds," she writes.

Manju, however, feels that a lot more needs to be done in the field. "There should be widespread awareness on the advantages of vegetarianism. This will be in the interest of both animals and humans," says the researcher.

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