Feb 25, 2022

Did You Know: There is a law to protect animal rights?

The Delhi High Court has ordered the Animal Welfare Board of India to find a specific spot for feeding and taking care of street dogs in a residential colony in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. 


How does Indian law protect animal rights?

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 aims to prevent unnecessary pain or suffering of animals. The law says that anyone in charge of an animal should take all reasonable steps to ensure its well-being.


What is animal cruelty?

Animal cruelty includes:

  • Beating, kicking, overloading, or torturing an animal, causing it unnecessary pain or suffering, or permitting this as an owner.
  • Employing an unfit (aged or diseased) animal in any labour, or permitting this as an owner.
  • Intentionally and unreasonably injecting any injurious drug or substance in an animal.
  • Confining an animal in a cage which is not spacious enough to allow movement or keeping an animal chained for a long time with a short or heavy cord.
  • A dog owner not exercising a dog which is usually chained up or confined in a close space.
  • An owner not giving their animal sufficient food, drink or shelter.


Does the law allow experimentation on animals?

Yes, people can legally perform experiments (including operations) on animals for the purpose of: 

  • Advancing physiological knowledge; or 
  • Knowledge useful for saving or prolonging life; or
  • Knowledge useful for reducing suffering or combating any disease.


The Government can control and supervise such experiments to ensure that proper legal rules are followed.   


What is the punishment for animal cruelty?

The punishment for animal cruelty is:

  • For a first offence – Fine of ten to fifty rupees. 
  • Subsequent offences within three years of the previous offence – Fine of twenty-five to hundred rupees and/or jail time for up to three months.


If a person is guilty of animal cruelty, can the Government take away their animal?

Yes, if a court finds any animal owner guilty of an offence under this law, it can order them to hand over the concerned animal to the Government.


What is the Animal Welfare Board?

The Government has set up the Animal Welfare Board of India for promoting general animal welfare and protecting animals from unnecessary pain or suffering. The Board advises the Government on matters of animal welfare. The Board can grant financial assistance to support the establishment of rescue homes, animal shelters, sanctuaries, etc., and can also assist local animal welfare organisations.