India is becoming Westernised. This is demonstrated in many ways including developments in respect of the relationship between citizens and companion animals. Recently, there was a first in the cat world: a cat show in India. There are purebred cats in India but they are yet to get a pedigree (a family history). They will in time when they might create a proper cat fancy.
The latest, extremely pleasing development in India is the banning of animal testing for cosmetics. It sounds obvious that animal testing by cosmetic companies should not happen but it was only totally banned recently in Europe. By “totally” I mean including banning the importation of cosmetics made with animal testing from outside the European Union as well as animal testing of cosmetics within Europe.
We should thank the Humane Society International (HSI) for their work in campaigning for the change in legislation in India.
…After more than a year of intensive campaigning and policy negotiations by HSI/India, the Drug Controller General has approved the complete removal of any mention of animal tests from India’s cosmetics standard. India now joins the ranks of Europe and Israel as subjecting rabbits, rats, and mice to painful or lethal testing becomes illegal and is replaced with modern non-animal alternatives…
The next stage is to ban the importation of cosmetics into India made on the back of animal testing. This will be a big step.
On the understanding that the relationship between India’s citizens and their cats will evolve and become more Westernised, what are the aspects of the Western cat world that should be avoided if possible?
- If and when India do create a cat fancy they should take the best from the cat fancy in the West. I am not against the cat fancy as long as it respects the cat. Overbreeding of purebred cats is not good. India has a chance to look and learn to avoid this pitfall.
- Declawing cats. I cannot believe that India will start to declaw cats.
- Shooting stray and feral cats. India accepts community cats. However, I am sure many live poor lives. I don’t see shooting of feral cats being a problem in India. Gun ownership is far below the US for a start and there appears to be an acceptance of community cats.
- Ignoring the benefits of trap-neuter-return programmes. A lot of people in the West don’t believe in TNR. It can work and it is something that India’s local authorities can start to implement.
- Doing what a part of American society does, namely, letting female cats breed and produce one litter before being spayed. This is a misconceived policy. India should improve sterilisation policies and practice.
- The mass culture of keeping cats indoors full-time. This is a North American idea. It is meant to be a refinement on the human to cat relationship. I don’t believe it is. Where possible, a refinement would be building large cat enclosures. Many Americans with large yards (gardens) still confine their cats to the inside of their homes. For me, this is wrong. However, I respect the views and opinions of others.
- Setting up cat shelters where cats are not sheltered but killed en masse. I realise there is a problem with cat overpopulation in the West but the solution of mass killing of cats is a short term, ineffective response.