India is the top performer under the VACI (Voiceless Animal Cruelty Index), receiving a good performance rating
Voiceless is an independent, non-profit animal protection charity based in Sydney, Australia. According to its mission statement, Voiceless’s vision is for a world in which animals are treated with respect and compassion. They just had another fantastic idea. They invented an index, the VACI index. Voiceless Animal Cruelty Index (VACI) now tracks the animal welfare performance of 50 countries selected among the largest producers of farmed animal products in the world.
The VACI focuses on the countries which are among the largest producers of farmed animal products in the world. It seeks to assess the suffering caused by producers and consumers of farmed animal products, as well as the countervailing effects of the animal protection legislative and regulatory environment:
- Producing Cruelty assesses country performance based on the number of farmed animals slaughtered for food every year (on a per capita basis), whilst taking explicit account of the fact that animals are treated and protected differently in each country.
- Consuming Cruelty assesses country performance based on the consumption of farmed animals, captured by the ratio of plant-based protein to farmed-animal protein consumed and the number of animals consumed in each country (on a per capita basis).
- Sanctioning Cruelty assesses country performance based on the societal and cultural attitudes to farmed animals, as reflected in the quality of the regulatory frameworks that protect, or fail to protect, farmed animals – the exclusive focus of the API.
Why does India rank number one in this Index?
India is the top performer under the VACI, receiving a good performance rating (“B”). Although the country has a low dependence on farmed animals and low animal product consumption, its farmed animal protection laws require improvement.
India slaughters only around 2 land-based animals per person per year, less than a fifth of the global average of 10.1. The country’s dependence on farmed animals is the lowest amongst the VACI countries, with less than 1 farmed animal per person, compared to the global average of 4.1.
The Indian diet contains a relatively low proportion of animal products, with around 20% of the average Indian’s diet made up of land-based animal protein, versus a global average of 35.2%. Each Indian citizen consumes around 12.7g of land-based animal protein per day, compared with a global average of 26.7g. Around 23-37% of Indians are estimated to be vegetarian, which may be partly explained by the value placed on vegetarianism by various religious traditions followed in the country. This is reflected in the low proportion of animal protein derived from meat (11.7%), compared with dairy products (80%).
India is rated as an adequate performer (“C”) under the Animal Protection Index (API), and its farmed animal protection legislation achieved a poor performance rating (“E”) under the same index. The country has broadly adequate animal protection laws, with a particular focus on protecting cows on religious grounds. But the legislation falls short of international standards, due to the legalization of husbandry practices that cause pain and suffering, such as dehorning and nose roping cattle. Like many countries, the sentience of animals is also not fully enshrined into law. There is also a lack of detailed regulation regarding the rearing of farmed animals and urban dairy production.
Link to the India Report