and Penal code of Nigeria. These are summarized thus: Rights are a means of protecting disadvantaged individuals from the tyranny of the more advantaged one. Animal Rights refers to the moral right of animals to be treated with respect and without exploitation.
In Nigeria, The right of animals under domestic or captivity has been defined by both the Criminal code and Penal code of Nigeria. These are summarized thus:
1. The right to be free from hunger.
2. The right to be free from discomfort.
3. The right to be free from fear and distress and
4. Freedom to express normal behaviour.
Section 495 of the Nigerian Criminal Code and Cap. 196 of the Penal code specifically list offences of cruelty to animals to include:
(a) Beating, kicks, ill-treatment, over riding, over driving, overloading, torture, terrifying or cause or process or permit any animal to be so treated,
(b) Cause or permit unnecessary suffering,
(c) Conveys or carries or permits to be conveyed or carried in such a manner or position to cause unnecessary suffering,
(d) Administration of poisons or injurious drugs,
(e) Operations without due and humane consideration,
(f) Fighting and baiting including management of such a place.
The essence of Animal Right has been summarized in the Universal Declaration of the Right of Animals Viz.:
This declaration hereby proclaims that:
All animals are born with equal due to life and the same rights to existence.
1. All animals are entitled to respect.
2. Man as an animal shall not arrogate to himself the right to exterminate or inhumanely exploit other animals.
3. All animals have a right to the attention, care and protection of man.
1. No animal shall be ill treated or subjected to "animal acts".
2. If an animal must be Killed, this should be instantaneous and without distress.
1. All wild animals have a right to liberty in their environment where they should be allowed to procreate.
2. Deprivation of freedom even for educational purpose is an infringement of this right.
1. Animals living traditionally in a human environment have a right to live and grow in the rhythm and under the conditions of life and freedom peculiar to their species.
2. Any interference by man with this rhythm or conditions for purpose of gain is an infringement of this right.
1. All companion animals have the right to complete their natural life span.
2. Abandonment of an animal is a cruel and degrading act.
All working animals are entitled to a reasonable limitation of the duration and intensity of work to the necessary nourishment and rest.
1. Animal experimentation, involving physical or psychological suffering is incompatible with the right of animals, whether it be for scientific, medical or commercial or any other form of research.
2. Replacement methods must be used and developed.
Where animals are used in the food industry, they shall be reared, transported, lairaged and killed without the infliction of suffering.
1. No animal shall be exploited to the amusement of man.
2. Exhibitions and spectacles involving animals are incompatible with their dignity.
Any act involving the wanton killing of an animal is biocide, which is a crime against life.
1. Any act involving mass killing of wild animals is genocide, which is a crime against the species.
2. Pollution or destruction of the natural environment leads to genocide.
1. Dead animals shall be treated with respect.
2. Scenes of violence involving animals shall be banned from cinemas and television except if for humane education.
1. Representatives of movements that defend animal rights should have an effective voice at all levels of government.
2. The rights of animals like human rights should enjoy the protection of law.