1. What amounts to cruelty on animals? Is treating animal cruelly punishableby law?
Under Section 11 (1) (a) to (o) of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, an Act of the Parliament of India, beating, over-riding, keeping or confining any animal in any cage, mutilating or killing any animal, among many others, amounts to cruelty on animals and is punishable by law.
This act was passed in 1960 to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals and to amend the laws relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals. Hence, any person or individual under whose presence any offence under the Act is committed can immediately lodge a written complaint with the nearest Police Station for taking action.
2. Is it legal to sacrifice animals?
Under the Indian law, it is illegal to sacrifice animals other than goat and sheep on Bakr-Eid.Also, no slaughter is allowed other than at slaughter houses, with an exception on Bakr-Eid. Sadly, animal sacrifice has now become a means of showcasing the status of the person making the sacrifice. Animals like camels and horses are commonly slaughtered in this status parade. Overall, barring two states including, Assam and Bengal, slaughter of animals is illegal in rest of India.
3. Are animal fairs where animals are traded, legal?
Trading certain animals such as cows at fairs is currently legal in India. However, according to the 1986 Amendment Act, no one is allowed to carry trade in wild animals which are specified in Schedules I and II of the act. Thereby, no wild animals or birds or any other wild species can be sold at or bought at such fairs.
Earlier, animal fairs used to serve as a platform for trade of animals between farmers. But, now more than anything, these fairs involves trading of animal to butchers for the purpose of slaughtering. In accordance to the Prevention of Cruelty towards Animal Act, 1960, killing or mutilating any healthy animal is illegal, thus such a sale can be termed as illegal.
4. What laws protect wildlife in India?
The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 protects wildlife in India. This Act was passed to provide protection to birds, plants and wild animals. Currently, it is applicable to all of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir which has its own Wildlife Act.
Under Section 9 of this Act, hunting is prohibited throughout the country and punishment for first time offenders is imprisonment up to seven years maximum and a fine up to Rs 10,000. The fine is up to Rs 25,000 for second time offenders along with the imprisonment remaining the same
Domestic animals like cats, dogs, horses, donkeys etc. do not come under this act.
The law that protects them is stated under the Prevention of Animals to Cruelty Act, 1962 and the punishment there has been stated at 1 or 2 months of imprisonment.
5. What are some of the most important laws for animal protection in India?
Two of the most important laws for animal protection in India are:
• Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960
This Act of the Parliament of India was in enacted in order to prevent cruelty towards animals. It was an attempt to end the unnecessary pain and sufferings that the animals go through. Animal Welfare Board of India was formed by the government of India as per the provisions of this law. Under Section 11 (1) (a) to (o) of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, , beating, over-riding, keeping or confining any animal in any cage, mutilating or killing any animal, among many others, amounts to cruelty on animals and is punishable by law.
• The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972
The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 protects wildlife in India. The Act was passed to provide protection to birds, plants and wild animals; it is applicable to the whole of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir which has its own wildlife act..
6. My building society wants to remove all the dogs from the premises andrelease them in another area- is that legal?
It is illegal and punishable under the Indian law to drive away dogs from their locations by unrecognized associations or unauthorized people. Only the staff of Municipal Corporation or people authorized by them can move the street dogs for the purpose of animal birth control, also known as the ABC programme. Designated agencies in the government as well as non-governmental organizations can be approached for help against issues related to street dogs such as local municipal corporations and the like.
7. What are the powers that a policeman can exercise when he sees cruelty towards animals?
The Indian law provides a policeman with great power and responsibility with respect to animal cruelty. Section 34 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals allows any police officer above the rank of a constable to seize the animal and produce the same for examination by the nearest magistrate if he has a reason to believe that violation of the Act has been or is being committed, in respect of any animal by its owner or person in charge. The police officer may, when seizing the animal, require the person in charge thereof to accompany it to the place of examination. So, whether it is a case of over-riding, beating, confining an animal in any cage, killing or mutilating, owner not providing sufficient food, drink or shelters, or any other problem, a policeman above the rank of a constable can seize the animal and send them to infirmaries for the treatment and care of animals.
This is provided under Section 35 of the same act.
8. What are the general conditions for transport of animal?
Some of the general conditions for transport of animal are:
• A certificate from a veterinary doctor in respect of each animal to be transported should be carried along by the owner which should also clearly state that such animal is in a fit condition for such transportation and is not suffering from any disease.
• New born animals of which the navel has not completely healed, diseased animals, blind animals, pregnant animals that are due to deliver during the transport are not supposed to be transported on foot.
• Watering arrangement has to be made by the owner of the animals for the entire journey.
• Sufficient feed and fodder arrangement has to be taken care of by the owner for the journey and adequate reserve has to be maintained.
• The owner should carry veterinary first aid equipment on the travel to be used in need.
• If the transport of animals is not being carried off by the owner itself and by someone else, then he/she should possess a certificate for the same.
•The owner is not allowed to use a whip or any other thing of the same sorts to hit the animal or to hasten their speed.
• If at all the animal has to tied, a rope with suitable cushioning has to be used and the rope should be tied around its neck and not around any other body part.
• The owner should take care of the distance, time, rest interval and temperature specified for an animal while transporting it on foot. The temperature should not be less than 12 deg. C, and the animal should not travel more than 6-8 hours each day.
Any police officer above the rank of constable or any other person authorised in this behalf by the Central or state government or by the Animal Welfare Board of India by the general or special order can take the animal to the magistrate if he finds that the above stated rules have been violated or the owner/ person in charge of the animals refuses to comply with the demands of the officer.
9. What law governs slaughterhouses?
A ‘slaughterhouse’ is defined as a place in which 10 or more than 10 animals are slaughtered per day and is duly licensed or recognized under a Central, State or Provincial Act or any rules or regulations made there under. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 enlists certain rules provided under the category, namely Slaughter House Rules, 2001. Certain important provisions of the same include:-
Section 3(1) of the law says that animals cannot be slaughtered except in a recognized and licensed slaughter house.
Section 3(2), prohibits slaughtering of any animal
• Which is pregnant or
• has an offspring less than three months old, or
• The animal which is under the age of three months or
• Which has not been certified by a Veterinary Doctor that it is in a fit condition to be slaughtered.
Sometimes, animals are purposefully harmed to get rid of them and show them as grievously injured. This practice should be regulated.
10. Can I legally take my dog for a walk without a leash?
Currently, there are no leash laws in India. Keeping a pet tethered at all points of time can lead to the dog becoming aggressive and the dog should always be unchained while within the house premises. A leash then becomes a positive experience for a dog, who looks forward to going out for his regular walk .
It is important to take your dog for a walk with a leash for the safety of the dog as well as other people around. If unleashed, the dog may :-
• Get involved in a brawl with the street dogs around and get serious injuries
• Might get injured in a road accident.
• Garbage scavenging may lead to food poisoning
• A dog without a leash may run around and possibly injure other animals or people.
Hence, it is best if the dog is leashed while out on public roads. However, the opposite is true when the dog is at home.
11. Are there any regulations regarding transporting animals by foot?
There are certain rules and regulations which need to be taken care of while transporting an animal by foot. Some of the rules are as follows:
• Every animal to be transported on foot shall be healthy and in good condition for such transport.
• Certain animals are not to be transported by foot. These animals include new born animals of which the navel has not completely healed, disease animals, blind animals, pregnant animals that are due to deliver during the transport.
• The owner is not allowed to use a whip or any other thing of the same sorts to hit the animal or to hasten their speed.
• If at all the animal has to tied, a rope with suitable cushioning has to be used and the rope should be tied around its neck and not around any other body part.
• If at all 2 animals are to be tied with a single rope then there should be 2 feet distance in between them and should be of similar physical conditions and strength. Also no more than two animals can be tied together with the same rope, adjacent to each other.
• The owner isn’t allowed to transport the animals on foot before sunrise and after sunset.
• The owner should take care of the distance, time, rest interval and temperature specified for an animal while transporting it on foot.
Any police officer above the rank of constable or any other person authorized in this behalf by the Central or state government or by the Animal Welfare Board of India by the general or special order can take the animal to the magistrate if he finds that the rules have been violated or the owner/ person in charge of the animals refuses to comply with the demands of the officer.
12. I saw someone keeping a marmoset monkey as a pet, is that legal?
According to the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, it is illegal to keep any wild animal/bird as pets. But while Indian species are protected under such acts in India, there is no such law for the species that are imported. Hence, it is not illegal for a person to keep marmoset monkey as a pet. However, not all animal are able to adjust to the Indian climate. One must therefore actively discourage the practice of keeping exotic species such as marmoset monkeys.
13. There is a ‘madari’/’snake charmer’ in my locality, is that legal?
It is illegal to use animals like langurs or snakes for one’s profession as buying/selling/possessing monkeys/langurs and snakes violates the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
Keeping snakes in captivity and their display in public is prohibited under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 and is an illegal activity. Both python and cobra are listed under endangered species of wildlife. According to this act, wild Animals specified in schedule I, II, III and IV cannot be hunted. Even though snake charming is an inherited profession in India, it has been banned since 1991.
14. What is the legal action to be taken on a complaint of stealing of a dog orany other animal?
Owning a dog or any other animal makes the animal the owner’s personal property and stealing the animal will amount to theft under the Indian law. Section 378 of the Indian Penal Code states that whoever, intending to take dishonestly any moveable property out of the possession of any person without that person’s consent, moves that property in order to such taking, is said to commit theft.
Section 379 penalizes such a person with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or both. Thus, this case will be dealt like any other case of theft.
15. Somebody killed a peacock near my house, are peacocks protected underthe law?
According to the Indian law, Peacock is a Schedule I species in Wildlife Protection Act 1972, and thus cannot be killed. Section 51 of the Act prescribes a maximum imprisonment of six years, Rs 25,000 as fine or both for hunting animals and birds specified in Schedule I. However, the Act provides certain exemptions under Sections 43, 44 (4) and 49 (a) for transport, transfer and trade in the peacock tail feathers within the country to meet the requirements for various religious, cultural and traditional purposes.
While the trade of felled peacock feathers is legal in India, killing them is not. In general, the use of animal products or by products should be not condoned.
16. Do the police have the power to inspect the premises in which anyperforming animals are being trained or exhibited?
Yes, any police officer above the rank of a sub-inspector has the power to inspect the premises in which any performing animals are being trained or exhibited.
According to the law, they have the power to:-
(a) Enter and inspect the premises in which any performing animals are being trained or exhibited or kept for the same and
(b) Ask any person who, he has reason to believe is a trainer or exhibitor of the animals to produce his certificate of registration.
17. What is the legal procedure for disposal of dead animal?
According to section 301 (1) within 24 hours of the death of the animal, the owner should either, -
(a) Convey the body of the animal to a place provided or appointed under this Act for the its final disposal, or
(b) Notify the Chief Municipal Officer of the death whereupon he shall cause the body to be disposed of. A fee may be charged for this purpose that will be determined by the Municipality regulations.
(3) The Chief Municipal Officer shall act immediately for causing the carcass to be disposed of in case the animal belongs to no one.
18. I know people who own a tiger’s claw or ivory jewelry. Is that legal?
It is illegal to own a tiger’s claw or ivory jewelry. The Indian Tiger is an endangered animal and is listed in the Schedule I of the Wildlife Act, 1972. This act gives it protection against hunting/poaching and trade for skins, bones and body parts. According to the law, any person who commits such an offence is punishable with an imprisonment of three years extending up to seven years along with a fine starting from fifty thousand rupees which may extend up to two lakh rupees. In the event of a second or subsequent conviction he can receive imprisonment for seven years and a fine of five lakh rupees that can vary up to a maximum of fifty lakh rupees.
As for the ivory jewelry, trading in ivory items was banned in 1991. But the Central amendment to the Environment Protection Act, 1972 permits persons with ‘prohibited’ wildlife items to apply for a possession certificate from the chief wildlife warden after giving in the required details.
19. I’ve heard of camels being slaughtered as rituals at festivals, is that legal?
Killing of camels is not legal in India. Because of mass killing of camels in India, the species today face a possible threat of extinction. They are slaughtered in thousands on the occasion of the religious festival of Bakr’Id. However, this practice also indisputably violates the Prevention of Animal Sacrifices Act of 1959; and KPAS (Karnataka Prevention of Animal Sacrifices) rules 1963 to prevent illegal sacrifices. The KPAS rule prohibits the killing of any animal in the name of religious sacrifice. The killing of animal on Bakr-Eid has official but it is limited to goats and sheep and they too can be killed only at designated places. Any animal other than the two cannot be killed. Killing a camel for its meat is also illegal in India as it isn’t considered an edible food item.