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  • What is Animal law?
  • Is there any law specifically for animal rights in India?
  • Are there any recent Rules on animal protection?
  • Are there any judgements of courts of India on animal rights?

What is Animal law?

There are certain laws which are made keeping the welfare of animals in mind. The idea of prevention of animal cruelty has been around since a very long time, with Ashoka himself declaring protection of animals in the edicts he made on his pillars.

Intent behind enactment of policies related to animal welfare:

They are made with the intent to prevent infliction of unnecessary pain and/or suffering to animals and for that purpose any type of unwarranted and unreasonable agony caused to an animal is discouraged.

Some of the applicable laws to the topic of ‘Animal Laws’?

  • Article 51A(g) makes it a fundamental duty of every citizen to have compassion for all living creatures, however, this is not enforceable in court.
  • IPC sections 428 & 429 make killing or maiming any animal (stray animals included) a punishable offence.
  • Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 criminalizes cruelty to animals with exceptions made for food & scientific purposes.
  • Breeding of and Experiments on Animals (Control and Supervision) Rules, 1998 sets general requirements for breeding and using animals for research, for example maintaining a register providing the reasons necessitating the performance of the experiment on the animal (as per Section 5 of the Act).
  • As per Section 9, Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 - Disturbing or destroying eggs or nests of birds and reptiles or chopping a tree having nests of such birds and reptiles or even attempting to do so constitutes to hunting and attracts a punishment of a fine of up to Rs. 25000, or imprisonment of up to seven years or both.
  • As per Rule 3, Slaughterhouse Rules, 2001 animal sacrifice is illegal in every part of the country with the exception of leaving out acts done with a religious motive.
  • As per the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972; “no aquarium can keep, house or display marine turtles, otters, any species listed in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (53 0f 1972).
  • Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960:
    • Rule 3 states that no animal can be slaughtered in any place except a slaughterhouse.
    • Organising of or participating in or inciting any animal fight is a cognizable offence as per Section 11(1)(m)(ii) and Section 11(1)(n).
    • Abandoning any animal, without reasonable causes, is a punishable offence as per Section 11(1)(i) and Section 11(1)(j).
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has released four new Gazette notifications under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 to regulate dog breeders, animal markets, aquarium and “pet” fish shop owners. PETA India was involved in the public consultation process for these rules and had provided useful comment to strengthen protections. The rules are the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are:
    • Dog Breeding and Marketing Rules, 2017
    • Regulation of Livestock Markets Rules, 2017
    • Aquarium and Fish Tank Animals Shop Rules, 2017
    • Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals Rules, 2017
  • According to these new rules, dog breeders, aquarium and fish ‘pet’ shop owners must register themselves with the state Animal Welfare Board of the respective states.

Important Judgements w.r.t Animal Laws

  • People for Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Union of India: Any film (intended for public viewing) applying usage of an animal needs to obtain the permission of the Animal Welfare Board of India in the form of an NOC
  • Shri Ajay Madhusudan Marathe v. New Sarvodaya CHS Ltd: A society cannot prohibit it’s resident from utilizing the facilities available to him/her for their pets. This case was lodged in the context of pets being allowed to make use of lifts.
  • Ozair Hussain v. Union of India: the non-vegetarian and vegetarian origin of food is to be indicated through the medium of a red or green dot respectively.
  • Animal Welfare Board of India v. A Nagaraja and Others: The practice of “Jallikattu”, was declared illegal and it was observed that Bulls cannot be performing animals.

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