Animal Protection Laws In India

Laws related to wild animals

The chief laws relating to wildlife in India are found in the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The Act prohibits the killing, poaching, trapping, poisoning, or harming in any other way, of any wild animal or bird. It also provides for establishment of Wildlife Advisory Boards in every State.

  • According to Section 2 (37) of the act, wildlife includes any animal, aquatic or land vegetation which forms part of any habitat, thus making the definition a wide and inclusive one.

  • Section 9 of the Act prohibits the hunting of any wild animal (animals specified in Schedule 1, 2, 3 and 4) and punishes the offense with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years or with fine which may extend to Rupees. 25,000/- or with both.

  • The Act allows the Central and State Government to declare any area ‘restricted’ as a wildlife sanctuary, national park etc. Carrying out any industrial activity in these areas is prohibited under the Act.

  • 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.

  • Section 49 prohibits the purchase without license of wild animals from dealers.

Laws related to work animals

Chapter III of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act deals with “Cruelty to animals generally” According to Section 11, the following acts are punishable by fine up to Rs. 25-100 and a maximum of three months of imprisonment on repetition of the said acts.

  • Anybody who employs any unfit animal, suffering from wound, infirmity, sores or an animal of an old age, to work. -Section 11 (b) Anybody who carries any animal subjecting it to pain or suffering. –Section 11 (d)

  • Keeps an animal in a cage or any other such confinement which is not sufficiently big enough as to let the animal move freely. -Section 11 (e)

  • Any owner of an animal who allows his animal, affected with a contagious or infectious disease to die in any street. -Section 11 (j)

  • Any person who offers for sale an animal that is suffering from pain due to mutilation, starvation, thirst, overcrowding or ill-treatment. – Section 11 (k)

  • In October 2014, non-binding guidelines called National Code of Practices for Management of Dairy Animals in India were released by the government in consultation with an NGO named World Animal Protection.

Laws related to aquatic animals

The Wildlife Protection Act is applicable to aquatic animals too. Protection of marine species in India is done through creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPA).

  • Schedule 1-4 of the Wildlife Protection Act provides a list of all the protected marine species, for e.g seahorse, giant grouper, hermatypic corals, organ pipe, fire coral, sea fans, etc.

  • Schedule III protects all species of sponges and Schedule IV comprises of a wide variety of mollusks.

  • Dolphins have been recognized as the national aquatic animal of India and find themselves placed in Schedule I. India has banned use of dolphins for commercial entertainment, thereby placing a ban on establishment of any ‘dolphinarium’ in the country.

Laws related to street animals

Killing, maiming, poisoning or rendering useless of any animal is punishable by imprisonment for up to two years or with fine or with both, under Section 428 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Under Section 429 of the Code, the term is 5 years and is applicable when the cost of the animal is above 50 Rupees. Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act provides that, if any person allows, or himself beats, kicks or tortures, in any way, any animal subjecting it to unnecessary pain and suffering will be liable to pay a fine of up to 50 Rupees. In case of repetition of the offence, the fine will increase or an imprisonment for 3 months will be granted. The Animal Protection (Dogs) Rules, 2001 provide for rules relating to pet and street

Laws related to birds

Birds, too, are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 (WLPA) and in Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCAA), alongwith land and aquatic

  • Section 11 (o) of the PCAA provides for punishment of any person who promotes or himself takes part in any shooting match/competition where animals are released from captivity for shooting.

  • Under Section 16 (c) of the WLPA, it is unlawful to injure or destroy wild birds, reptiles, etc. or damaging or disturbing their eggs or nests. The person who is found guilty of any of this can be punished for upto 7 years in jail and be made to pay a fine of upto 25 Rupees

Laws related to zoo animals

Laws relating to zoo animals are also found in The Wildlife Protection Act.

  • Section 38A of the Act provides for establishment of a Central Zoo Authority by the Central Government, which has the following functions: specifying the minimum standards for keeping of animals inside the
    zoo, recognize or derecognize zoos, recognize endangered species and assign responsibilities to zoos for their
    captive breeding, etc.

  • According to Section 38 H, no zoo is allowed to function in India without recognition of the Central Zoo Authority

  •  The CZA provides the guidelines that are necessary for
    Establishment & Scientific Management of Zoos in India. These include rules like providing sufficient area, healthcare, freedom of movement, a naturalistic environment to the animals, etc.

Laws related to pets

A lot of laws relating to pets are found in Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The punishment, as mentioned above, for any of these offences is up to Rupees 100, and three months imprisonment in case of repetition of the offence.

  • Any person, who is the owner of an animal, negligently or intentionally chains a dog in close confinement, habitually.

  • Any owner who fails to provide his animal with sufficient food, drink or shelter- Section 11 (h).

  • Any person who, without any reasonable cause, abandons an animal in such a situation where the animal is bound to suffer pain due to starvation or thirst- Section 11 (i).

  • Any owner of an animal who consciously allows an infected, diseased or disabled animal to go into any street without any permit or leave the animal to die in any street- Section 11 (j).

  • Any person intimidating another person and preventing him/her, who is the owner of a pet, from keeping or taking care of his/her pet can be held liable under Section 503 of the IPC.

Laws relating to testing or experiment on animals

Millions of animals, especially white mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, monkeys, etc. are used for experimentation all over the world, and suffer and die with great pain in this process. Use of animals for experimentation in the cosmetic industry amounts to grave cruelty.

  • Through the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules (Second Amendment) 2014, animal testing for cosmetic products was prohibited all over India.

  • Any person who violates the Act is liable for punishment for a term which may extend from 3 to 10 years or shall be liable to a fine which could be Ruppes 500 to Rs.10,000, or both.

  • According to Rule 135B of the Drugs and Cosmetic (Fifth Amendment) Rules 2014, no cosmetic that has been tested on animals shall be imported into the country.

  • A committee, established under the provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act–The Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA) released the Breeding of and Experiments on Animals (Control and Supervision) Rules, 1998 (amended in 2001 and 2006) that regulate the experimentation on animals.

  • Dissecting and experimenting on animals in schools and colleges is banned in India, under the PCCA.