Animal Protection Laws in India: All You Need to Know: Lawcirca: Pragya DIxit

Animal Protection Laws in India: All You Need to Know

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Cruelty or abuse are words which are generally related with physically hurting and harming someone but cruelty as a concept cannot be restricted to this narrow definition only. It is much wider, it also includes any form of mental torture and assault. 

Animal cruelty amounts to hitting, striking, hurting and harming an animal. It also includes scenarios where any owner do not take proper care of them, forcing them to perform certain activities, not providing them proper place to stay or any other kind of behavior which can result into mental pressure of any kind also amouns to animal cruelty or abuse. This problem is a very severe issue but highly unrecognized. And when we talk of India in this context we are far behind. We do not have proper laws and few laws which we have lack implementation. Let’s discuss it in some detail : 

What all amounts to cruelty on animals?

This starts from a basic teasing for fun or entertainment and keeps on turning atrocious. The use of animals in entertainment industry, in circuses and in various fights and making them do activities is quite a physical and mental torture inflicted on them. Use of animals as food items, in transportation and in making accessories. 

Trade of animal skin, animal flesh for money, forced breeding,  religious rituals in which animal sacrificing is done, scientific experiments etc. 

All the above mentioned activities in one way or other results into some form of exploitation or cruelty on animals. As all of these activities are against their will. The cruelty in cases of animals becomes more severe as they are creatures with no power to express themselves unlike humans and also lack of proper legislation to protect them also poses a great threat to them. 

What is the state of Cruelty on animals in India? 

Recently in a building in the Worli area, Mumbai, a case was heard where a street dog was thrashed only because it took shelter in the building compound in order to protect itself from rain. Another case emerged in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, in which three men kidnapped a neighbour’s pet dog and raped it. On Wardha – Mundhwa road in Maharashtra, some time back a leopard’s carcass was found with its head and paws cut off. 

These above mentioned are just three out of a multiple numbers of animal cruelty cases which takes place in our on a daily basis. The situation of these voiceless creatures is so grim that if we even try to quantify the data on animal cruelty, we do not even find a properly statistic. As many of these cases or we can say most of these cases remain unaccounted for. In a country where the condition of crimes on humans is so severe, to keep a record on crime against animals is not even considered important. 

Speaking of animal cruelty in India there has been many traditions of sacrifices and other practices which have perpatuated the act of atrocities on animals since the time immemorial. For instance practices like jallikattu and kambala are a major threat. 

Jallikattu 

It is a traditional event mostly practised in the state of Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal Festival celebrations. In this game a bull is released on the ground and then multiple men try to hold on to the hump which is there on the back of the bull to control it, while the bull tries to escape. As this activity is highly dangerous and over a period of time it has resulted in injuries and death of both humans and bulls, Supreme Court banned it. But people protested opposing the ban and eventually a state government’s legislation again legalized it. Thus, after being so harmful and an activity which has been criticized heavily, it is still not banned and legal stand on this issue is not clear yet. 

Kambala

Kambala is an entertainment sport majorly practised in the state of Karnataka. Under this sport buffaloes are made to run in race and they are whipped by farmers in the process. The contest generally takes place between two pairs of buffaloes. The practise of kambala is highly criticized and it is also against the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 19601 and hence animal rights activists have protested against it. And in 2014 along with Jallikattu this sport was also banned but for the same reasons that people opposed its ban, they have their sentiments attached with the game, kambala was re-legalized in by Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance, 2017. 

Legislations in India protecting Animal Rights

Constitution of India and Animal Rights

There are several provisions in our constitution which are somewhat concerned with the welfare of animals and protects the rights of the animals. These are mentioned below : 

  • Article 51 A(G)2 of the constitution of India casts a fundamental duty upon all the citizens of India to protect wildlife and have compassion for all living creatures. 
  • According to Article 483 of the constitution, the duty to organize agriculture and animal husbandry on modern, scientific lines and to take steps which are for the preservation and improvement of breeds. Prohibition on slaughter of cows and calves and other milch animals and draught cattles. 
  • Article 48A provides for the duty of the State to protect, safeguard and improve the forests and wildlife of the country. 
  • In List II (State List), Seventh SChedule4, it is provided that the state has the power and authority to preserve, protect and improve stock of animals. And also to prevent animal diseases and enforce veterinary training and practice.
  • In Concurrent list, it is provided that both the Centre and the State have the power and the authority to prevent cruelty to animals and protect wild animals and birds. 

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960 is the central legislation regarding the protection of Animals. The main objective of this act is to prevent the infliction of unnecessary atrocities or suffering on animals.

This act defines certain forms which are considered as cruelty under its provisions, some of them are discussed below :

  •   Beating, Kicking, Overriding, Over-driving, Overloading, Torturing, Causing unnecessary pain or suffering to any animals.
  •  It is cruel if any animal is employed and made to work even after it has some disease and his age makes him unfit to be employed.
  • Administration of harmful and injurious drugs and substances to them willfully and unreasonably.
  • Conveying or carrying, either in or upon any vehicle in such a manner as to subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering;
  • Confining any animal in cages which do not fit them physically in their height and weight measurements and thus not giving them sufficient place to move and thus resulting in suffocating them.
  • Tethering an animal with heavy chains for an unreasonable period of time.
  • Being the owner of any animal,  not keeping a reasonable care of food and shelter of that animal.
  • Being the owner, without reasonable cause, abandons any animal in circumstances, which render it likely that it will suffer pain by reason of starvation or thirst
  • Mutilating and killing animals for any reason
  • For entertainment purposes only: confining animals, tying them(including tying of an animal as bait in a tiger or other sanctuary) so as to make it an object of prey to other animals.

This law also makes it illegal to kill homeless animals. If any person is found violating the provisions of the act is subject to certain fine which can be extended to 100 rs and a punishment extended to three months. 

Wildlife Protection Act, 19725

This act was introduced in 1972 by the parliament of India for the protection of animals and plant species. It set down a few provisions for animal preservation. 

Under Article 39 of the act, there is restriction on the sacrifice of animals. There is a strict forbiddance on creating any damage to any creature and its punishment is mentioned in segment 51 of the act. There is a prohibition on keeping any bird under this act, if anyone wants to keep a permissible feathered creature, there is a need for that person to consent entirely with the Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Section 50 of this act provides police with a power to arrest anyone without any warrant.

The basic function of this act is to create a framework to protect wildlife species in our Country. 

Other than these two principal legislations there are few other rules and regulations too, which are also formulated for the purpose of animal protection.

  • Dog Breeding and Marketing Rules, 2017
  •  Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017
  • Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017
  •  Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2017
  • Animal Birth Control (Dog) Rules 2001, etc.

Also Under Section 4286 and Section 4297 of the Indian Penal Code Killing, poisoning, maiming or torturing an animal is a cognizable offence.  The punishment for this is rigorous imprisonment which may extend for up to 2 years or a fine or both.

What are Animal Protection Organisations?

These are the organisations which are concerned with the welfare, protection and safety of animal interests. Their main objective is to provide shelter and help them and make sure that the voice of these voiceless creatures is somehow heard. They are like both governmental and non governmental groups fighting for their rights and forcing the government to enact legislation and take measures for animal welfare. There are a number of such organisations in our country. Let’s read about a few of them. 

Government Organisations

  1. Animal welfare board of India (AWBI) : It is a body which was established in the year 1960, under Section 4 of the ‘Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act-1960. AWBI is a statutory body which performs an advisory function by advising the Government of India on laws for animal welfare. It also ensures that the laws which are made are followed. The AWBI is also authorized to grant recognition to animal welfare organizations in India. 
  1. National Institute of Animal Welfare (NIAW) : It was established in the year 1990. It is a division of the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests. It is situated in Ballabgarh, Haryana. NIAW has been entrusted with the work of implementing the education and training programs at NIAW to “Educational Consultants India Ltd”. NIAW is an apex body in the field of animal welfare. Its aim  is to create awareness and create an environment which holds animal welfare at utmost importance. As a part of its objectives, it has to create an environment which enables the fulfillment of the requirements laid down in the ‘Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act,1960. 

Non Government Organisations

  1. ‘People for Ethical Treatment of Animals’ – India :- It was founded in 2000. It was formed with a basic simple principle in mind that “animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on or use for entertainment’. Since then, it has been working for the protection and welfare of animal rights.
  1. ‘Blue Cross of India’ (Chennai) :- It is one of the largest non-governmental animal welfare organisations of India. It was founded in the year 1959 and it was registered as a society in the year 1964 and it was recognized by AWBI in the year 1966. It has been conducting various programmes to promote animal welfare. 
  1. ‘Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre’ (WRRC) :-  It has been set up by the trustees of the ‘Compassion Unlimited Plus Action’. Its objective is to provide relief to wild animals, reptiles and birds and also handling cases of cruelty to wild animals and tackling their injuries etc. the WRCC got registered in the year 1999 in the form of a ‘Public Charitable Trust’ in Bangalore, Karnataka.

There are many other organisations too namely 

  • Animal Aid Unlimited
  • Buddha Society for Animal Welfare Trust
  • Group of Animal Lovers
  • Help in Suffering and many more. 

Conclusion 

By the analysis of prevalent situation and laws related to Animal cruelty we can totally say that the state of animals is very poor in our countries. They face all kinds of assaults like inhumane treatment, physical torture, rape,   agony and what not. In cases when humans face such assaults, there are chances of redressal because they can voice their opinion but animals cannot even do that. Also, if somehow their side is considered by animal rights activists, the condition of laws and regulations is highly deteriorated. The fines and imposed and the imprisonment provided is not enough. The aim of every punishment is to act as a deterrent but animal laws of our country are very weak. The increasing number of atrocities and crimes on animals indicate their vulnerable position in  society. 

We need to understand that they form a very important part of our ecosystem and human survival is also prone to vulnerability in their absence. So we need to come along and work for the cause of animals and should demand harsher laws protecting their interests. And because of these combined efforts somehow we will gradually lead us towards our goal and animals will eventually find peace and tranquility in this environment. 

Endnotes

1.  https://indiacode.nic.in/bitstream/123456789/1547/1/196059.pdf

2.  https://indiankanoon.org/doc/867010/

3.  https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1452355/

4.  https://www.mea.gov.in/Images/pdf1/S7.pdf

5.  http://legislative.gov.in/sites/default/files/A1972-53_0.pdf

6.  https://indiankanoon.org/doc/260462/7.  https://indiankanoon.org/doc/3563/


Pragya Dixit

Pragya Dixit

Author

Pragya has incredible writing and research skills and you will never miss a flow in her writings. Her favourite leisure activity is singing and theatrics. She is also a poetess and a very humble person. In other words, she is as bright as a new penny. For any clarifications, feedback, and advice, you can reach us at editor@lawcirca.com

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