Animal laws India
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.
However, the Act does not consider as cruelty the dehorning/castration of cattle in the prescribed manner, destruction of stray dogs in lethal chambers in prescribed manner and extermination of any animal under the authority of law. This Section provides somewhat of a leeway.
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.
An additional leeway provided by the Act is that under Section 28, nothing contained in the Act shall render it an offence to kill any animal in a manner required by the religion of any community.