Feb 27, 2022

Protecting animal rights in India

The Madras High Court has requested the relevant authorities to ensure that they treat captive temple elephants in a humane and dignified manner, and provide them with sufficient food, water and shelter.


What is a captive animal?

A captive animal is a non-domestic/wild animal (like the Indian elephant) which is held by a person in captivity or confinement. These captive animals are captured and kept in environments under human control. 


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.
  • An owner not giving their animal sufficient food, drink, or shelter.


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.