Animal Protection Laws In India- An Overview

India is a land of biodiversity and a melting pot of religions. In a country where animals are worshipped, we may assume that the laws protecting animals must be stringent. However, in the past few years there has been increase in animal cruelty cases.(1) Here I have shed light on the important Animal Protection laws.

The Constitution of India provides in Article 51A(g) that it is the duty of every citizen to protect and show compassion towards living creatures. Article 48 prohibits slaughter of cows, calves and draught cattle. Furthermore, Article 48A imposes a duty on the State to preserve and safeguard wildlife and forests.

The basis of animal protection laws in India is the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. Section 11 of this Act enumerates the various activities which are considered to be “cruelty”. These include beating, kicking, confinement, torture, depriving animals of sufficient food, water and shelter, abandoning animals, mutilating or killing of animals in a painful way. Using an animal as bait for another animal solely for entertainment is also considered to be cruelty. Organizing of or participating in or inciting any animal fight is a cognizable offence However, the fines imposed are minimum (Rs.25-1000) for such activities.

The laws relating to wildlife in India are listed in the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Under this Act, “animal” includes amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles, and their young, and also includes, in the cases of birds and reptiles, their eggs. This Act prohibits hunting of wild animals. The offence is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years or with fine which may extend to Rs. 25,000/- or both. In a second offence, the term of imprisonment will be 7 years with fine up to Rs. 10,000/- . Section 48A of the Act prohibits transportation of any wild animal, bird or plants except with the permission of the Chief Wildlife Warden or any other official authorized by the State Government.

The Drugs and Cosmetics Rules (Second Amendment) 2014 prohibits animal testing for cosmetic products all over India. Any violator is liable for punishment for a term which may extend from 3 up to 10 years or shall be liable to a fine which could be Rs.500 to Rs.10,000, or both.

Section 428 of Indian Penal Code provides that : Whoever commits mischief by killing, poisoning, maiming or rendering useless any animal or animals shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both. Section 429 provides that mischief by killing or maiming cattle, etc., shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. Any illegal killing or cruelty towards an animal can be reported to the local police station and a F.I.R. can be filed against the offender.

Conclusion:

The laws protecting animals are not stringent enough to deter  crimes against animals. There is an immediate need for stricter laws which will promote co-existence and help serve the true purpose for which these acts were brought into action. Practices such as heavy fines, imprisonment are necessary. Apart from this children must be taught how to show compassion towards animals.

(1) https://theprint.in/judiciary/instances-of-animal-cruelty-frighteningly-frequent-what-hc-said-on-dog-bruno-killed-in-kerala/688943/

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