Abraham Lincoln stated it well when he said, “I support both human and animal rights. That is how a complete human being behaves. Many Indians, however, do not share this opinion. What steps are being taken to stop cases of animal cruelty and inhumanity that are on the rise? In India, there are many laws designed to protect animals and prevent cruelty to them, but very few people are aware of what they are or how they operate.
Bulls that have undergone crude castration are frequently seen in India pulling hefty carts and receiving whippings if they stop moving. Even cats and dogs have been the targets of amusing stone throwing. In addition, there are occasions where animals like bulls, cows, and hens are treated like mere playthings, such as ‘taming’ contests, fights, and cart races. People seem to be gradually abandoning their morals and values in this age of progress and advancement, not only in how they interact with one another but also in how they treat these helpless animals.
The “Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960” is one of many laws that the central government has passed to combat animal cruelty.
The Prevention of Cruelty Animals Act, 1960
The following has been defined as the forms of cruelty towards animals under the Prevention of Cruelty Animals Act, 1960. Sect11(1)(a) Beating, Kicking, Over-riding, Over-driving, Over-loading, Torturing, Causing unnecessary pain or suffering to any animals;
(b) Employing any animal which, by reason of its age or any disease, unfit to be so employed, and still making it work or labour or for any purpose;
(c) Willfully and unreasonably administering any injurious drug or injurious substance;
(d) Conveying or carrying, either in or upon any vehicle in such a manner as to subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering;
(e) Keeping or confining any animal in any cage or any receptacle, which does not measure sufficiently in height, length and breadth to permit the animal a reasonable opportunity for movement;
(f) Keeping for an unreasonable time any animal chained or tethered upon an unreasonably heavy chain or chord;
(g) Being the owner, neglects to exercise or cause to be exercised reasonably any dog habitually chained up or kept in close confinement;
(h) Being the owner of any animal fails to provide such animal with sufficient food, drink or shelter;
(i) 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;
(j) Willfully permits any animal, of which he is the owner to go at large in any street while the animal is affected with a contagious or infectious disease, or without reasonable excuse permits any diseased or disabled animal, of which he is the owner, to die in any street;
(k) Offers for sale or without reasonable cause, has in his possession any animal which is suffering pain by reason of mutilation, starvation, thirst, overcrowding or other ill-treatment
(l) Mutilates any animal or kills any animal (including stray dogs) by using the method of strychnine injections in the heart or in any other unnecessarily cruel manner;
(m) Solely with a view to providing entertainment – Confines or causes to be confined any animals (including tying of an animal as bait in a tiger or other sanctuary) so as to make it an object of prey for any other animal; Incites any animal to fight or bait any other animal.
(n) Organizes, keeps, uses or acts in the management of any place for animal fighting or for the purpose of baiting any animal or permits or offers any place to be so used or receives money for the admission of any other person to any place kept or used for any such purposes;
(o) takes part in any shooting match or competition wherein animals are released from captivity for the purpose of such shooting
Treating animals with cruelty is a punishable offence:
A fine of up to Rs 50 may be imposed on the perpetrator of an act of torture or cruelty against an animal as defined by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. If this is deemed to be a subsequent offence or a second offence that happens within three years of the prior offence, the offender will be subject to a fine of at least Rs 25, but possibly as much as Rs 100, or they may be imprisoned for up to three months, or both.
If the offender owns a car, the car is seized in the event of a second offence, and the person is also prohibited from owning any animals for the rest of the sentence.
Wildlife Protection Act, 1972
This demonstration is intended to ensure the safety of wildlife and birds, and it contains provisions that safeguard their interests. · The act explicitly forbids the killing of animals; Section 39 of the Wildlife Protection Act strictly prohibits any harm to animals, and the penalties for such actions are outlined in Section 51 of the act. · Additionally, the act imposes a ban on the possession of any bird native to India. If anyone desires to possess a permissible bird, they must fully adhere to the conditions set forth in Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1956. · Regarding police powers: Section 50 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 grants law enforcement the authority to apprehend any individual without requiring a warrant. · Monkeys cannot be exhibited or owned, and they are also safeguarded under the Wildlife Protection Act.
Various issues concerning the mistreatment of animals exist in India, encompassing the following areas:
Cosmetic Testing: A recurring issue revolves around the inhumane treatment of countless animals in the process of testing consumer products and their components for potential harmful effects. For instance, numerous creatures like mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, and others are subjected to inhaling large quantities of test substances to assess their toxicity. Despite the established fact that animal tests fail to accurately predict human reactions and the availability of alternative testing methods that don’t involve animals, the practice of such cruelty persists. In a positive step towards animal welfare, the government has enforced regulations that impose a nationwide ban on cosmetics testing on animals. This ban was instituted following revisions to the Bureau of Indian Standard guidelines. Nonetheless, the existing legislation contains several gaps, such as the allowance for the import of animal-tested products, highlighting the need for a comprehensive law that also prohibits the sale and import of such items.
Animals Confined in Battery Cages: India ranks as the third-largest producer of eggs, with approximately 70% of eggs originating from commercial poultry farms. Section 11 (e) of the law pertains to the space animals should be provided, yet the conditions in battery cages are severely overcrowded, depriving animals of their right to proper movement. This situation clearly contradicts the provisions of the act.
The government holds a pivotal role in this regard, particularly in terms of potentially intensifying penalties for such offenses. By doing so, individuals would be motivated to exercise care and refrain from brutally harming innocent animals. In 2011, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act underwent revision and was rebranded as the Indian Animal Welfare Act, responding to the need for an updated legal framework.
However, the effectiveness of these laws largely depends on the collaboration between individuals and animal rights organizations, along with concerted efforts to ameliorate the dire circumstances animals face. Besides, both governmental and non-governmental entities can take measures to rectify the system. An additional proposal for system enhancement involves the establishment and reinforcement of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, an independent NGO operating in each state without state interference. Furthermore, ensuring the proper functioning of State Animal Welfare Boards is essential. Presently, numerous states lack such boards, and in cases where they do exist, they may not have convened for extended periods.