Major Laws Against Animal Cruelty In India
Protection of animals is enshrined as a fundamental duty in the Indian Constitution and there exist several animal welfare legislations in India such as the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 and the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 at the Central level and cattle protection and cow slaughter prohibition legislations at the State levels.
Section 428 and 429 of the IPC provides for punishment of all acts of cruelty such as killing, poisoning, maiming or rendering useless of animals.
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960
The basic cruelty law of India is contained in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. The objective of the Act is to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals and to amend the laws relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals. The Act defines “animal” as any living creature other than a human being.
In accordance with Chapter II of the Act, the Government of India established the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) with some of the following functions:
- Advising the central government regarding amendments and rules to prevent unnecessary pain while transporting animals, performing experiments on animals or storing animals in captivity.
- Encouragement of financial assistance, rescue homes and animal shelters for old animals.
- Advising the government on medical care and regulations for animal hospitals.
- Imparting education and awareness on humane treatment of animals.
- Advising the central government regarding general matters of animal welfare.
The Act enumerates different variants of cruelty to animals under Section 11 as the following actions:
a) Beating, kicking, overriding, overloading, torturing and causing unnecessary pain to any animal.
b) Using an old or injured or unfit animal for work (the punishment applies to the owner as well as the user).
c) Administering an injurious drug/medicine to any animal.
d) Carrying an animal in any vehicle in a way that causes it pain and discomfort.
e) Keeping any animal in a cage where it doesn’t have reasonable opportunity of movement.
f) Keeping an animal on an unreasonably heavy or short chain for an unreasonable period of time.
g) Keeping an animal in total and habitual confinement with no reasonable opportunity to exercise.
h) Being an owner failing to provide the animal with sufficient food, drink or shelter.
i) Abandoning an animal without reasonable cause.
j) Willfully permitting an owned animal to roam on streets or leaving it on the streets to die of disease, old age or disability.
k) Offering for sale an animal which is suffering pain due to mutilation, starvation, thirst, overcrowding or other ill-treatment.
l) Mutilating or killing animals through cruel manners such as using strychnine injections.
m) Using an animal as bait for another animal solely for entertainment.
n) Organizing, keeping, using or managing any place for animal fighting.
o) Shooting an animal when it is released from captivity for such purpose.
Part IV of the Act covers Experimentation of animals. The Act does not render unlawful experimentation on animals for the purpose of advancement by new discovery of physiological knowledge or knowledge to combat disease, whether of human beings, animals or plants. It envisages the creation of a Committee for control and supervision of experiments on animals by the central government which even has the power to prohibit experimentation if so required.
Chapter V covers the area of performing animals. Section 22 prohibits exhibiting or training an animal without registration with the AWBI. The Section prohibits animals such as monkeys, bears, lions, tigers, panthers and bulls from being utilized as performing animals.
Anyone injuring or killing animals may no longer get away by paying a penalty of Rs 50. The government has prepared a draft to amend the 60-year-old
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960
, proposing penalty up to Rs 75,000 or three times the cost of the animal with jail term up to five years or both if an act of an individual or an organisation leads to an animal's death.
The draft has proposed offences in three categories - minor injury, major injury leading to permanent disability, and death to an animal due to cruel practice - and prescribed different penalties ranging from Rs 750 to Rs 75,000 and jail term up to five years for different crimes.
The existing law stipulates a penalty between Rs 10 and Rs 50 for any act of cruelty such as beating, kicking, torturing, starving, overloading, overriding and mutilating an animal. It doesn't have different categories of offences for cruelty. Animal in the Act is defined as any living creature other than a human being.
Information Sources -
- Times Of India
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