Laws Relating to Protection of Animal Rights in India

5 Jul 2021  Read 8865 Views

Human beings often forget that the pain and feelings that the animals have are the same feelings that humans face when they are subjected to the same level of cruelty, abuse and torture. In India, animals are treated as a commodity. Every day, countless dogs, monkeys and other animals are burned, buried, cut open, poisoned, starved and drugged all over the country for economic reasons, convenience and other old habits. It is high time we ask ourselves- Do we have any right to imprison and harm other sentient beings?

What are the Laws that Protect the Animals?

The Constitution of India

The Directive Principles of State Policy- Part IV- Article 48 and 48A- The state shall take steps for preserving and improving the breeds and prohibition of slaughter of animals and to protect and improve the environment and wildlife of the country.

Fundamental Duties- Part IVA- Article 51A(g)- It is the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to improve the natural environment which includes wildlife and have compassion towards all living creatures.

The Indian Penal Code 1860

Section 428- Mischief by killing, poisoning, maiming or rendering any animal or animals of the value of ten rupees or higher shall be punished with imprisonment up to two years, or with fine, or with both.

Section 429- Mischief by killing, poisoning, maiming or rendering any animal or animals of the value of fifty rupees or higher shall be punished with imprisonment up to five years, or with fine, or with both.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960

The main objective of this Act is to prevent any form of infliction of suffering or torture on the animals and to make necessary changes in the laws related to the protection of animals in the country.

The Wild Life (Protection) Act,1972

A comprehensive piece of legislation regulating sanctuaries, zoos aimed at protecting the animals and their natural habitats. The Act focuses on curbing the illegal trade in wildlife and other derivative parts.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960

The following have been laid down as forms of cruelty under Section 11 of the Act:

  1. Beating, kicking, over-riding, over-loading, torturing or treating any animal to inflict unnecessary pain or suffering.

  2. Employing an animal who is injured or unfit for the work.

  3. Administering any injurious drug or substance to any animal.

  4. Carrying of any animal, in vehicles, in such a manner or position that causes unnecessary pain or suffering.

  5. Keeping an animal confined in a cage where it does not have sufficient place to move around.

  6. Keeping an animal chained for an unreasonable period of time.

  7. Being the owner, keeping the animal in confinement with no opportunity of exercise.

  8. Being the owner, failing to provide the animal with sufficient food, drink or shelter.

  9. Without any reasonable cause, abandoning any animal in any circumstance is likely to inflict pain due to starvation and thirst.

  10. Wilfully permitting the owned animal to go to the streets or abandoning it to die of diseases, old age or disability.

  11. Offering for sale an animal that is suffering pain by reason of mutilation, starvation, thirst, overcrowding or other ill-treatment.

  12. Mutilating or killing any animal, including stray animals) by using the method of strychnine injections in the heart, or in any other unnecessarily cruel method.

  13. Confining any animal to make it prey for other animals or inciting an animal to fight, solely for the purpose of entertainment.

  14. Organising, keeping and using any place for animal fighting or for the purpose of baiting any animal or offering such a place so as to receive money.

  15. Promoting or taking part in any shooting match or competition where animals are released from captivity for the purpose of being shot down.

Other Laws Protecting Animals in India

  • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughter House) Rules, 2001, prohibits slaughtering of animals in the country except in recognised or licensed houses-

  1. No person has the right to slaughter any animal in a municipal area other than in a slaughterhouse that is recognised or licensed by the authority in power under the law.

  2. No animal shall be slaughtered that

  • Is Pregnant

  • Has an offspring of fewer than three months olds.

  • Is under the age of three months.

  • Is not certified by a veterinary doctor as fit to be slaughtered.

  1. The municipal or other local authority specified by the Central Government shall determine the maximum limit of animals that can be slaughtered in a day based on the local population of the area in which the slaughterhouse is situated.

  • Under The Drugs and Cosmetics Rules 1945, Rule 148-C prohibits the testing of cosmetics on any animals- No person has the right to use animals for the testing of cosmetics.

  • Under Section 38J of Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, teasing, feeding or disturbing the animals in a zoo or littering the premises is a punishable offence with imprisonment of up to three years or with a fine of Rs 25000 or with both.

  • The Wild Life (Protection) Act 1972 prohibits hunting of any animals specified in Schedules I, II, III and IV. Killing of animals under Schedule I will bring upon imprisonment for a term of 7 years and a fine of Rs 25000.

Conditions of the Laboratories

When we talk about the conditions of the labs in the country, we understand why a self-policing system does not work. For example- a few years ago the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA) ordered the confiscation of 37 monkeys who were horribly abused for years from the National Virology in Pune. Other instances where animals have been confiscated include- All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi University, Jai Research Foundation (Ahmedabad), Bengal Chemicals (Kolkata). In all these cases the universities and research labs violated the CPCSEA’s rules and the animals were found to be living in horrible conditions without proper food and water. Most of the animals were not even able to stand and some suffered injuries like missing body parts.

A Recent Development in the Law

The government has prepared a draft that will amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, where any person inflicting pain or killing an animal can no longer get away by paying a fine of Rs 50. The recent amendment states that a fine of up to Rs 75000 or three times the cost of the animal or imprisonment for a term of five years or both with be imposed on a person or organisation that causes the death of any animal.

While the existing law imposes a fine between Rs 10- Rs 50 without any categories for the different types of cruelty, the new draft has been categorised into three- minor injury, major injury and death of the animal with fines ranging between Rs 750- Rs 75000 and imprisonment for a term up to five years depending on the offence.

Places where the Application of Animal Laws is needed the most

  • Experimentation on animals

  • Zoos

  • Circuses

  • Slaughterhouse

  • Illegal Transportation of Animals


Even though amendments are being brought about in order to protect the animals in India, we hear about new cases of animal cruelty every day. This is due to the lack of efficacy to recognise the rights of animals and the inability to prescribe an effective measure to protect the basic rights of these animals. In order to protect the animals, strict laws should be enforced which lays down severe punishments and does not provide a leeway through which the offender can escape.

Do you think we need to have strict rules for the protection of animals?

About the Author: Antalina Guha | 29 Post(s)

Antalina Guha, is in the  5th year of B.A. LL.B course in Ajeenkya DY Patil University, with a core interest in Intellectual Property Rights and Criminal law.

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