“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” –Anatole France.
Animals are one of the most important parts of the ecosystem, they are balance makers of the earth. We have all seen the videos forwarded by uncles and aunties on WhatsApp groups, of people beating, thrashing animals specifically dogs and bludgeoning them to death. Or Cats being thrown from a three storey building. We have all been heartbroken watching these videos and wishing stoic punishment to those who dared to do such deeds. But every now and then, these videos create a thrill and perish. An innocent animal is made a deliberate target, for general merriment of gruesome humans. These are the very few testimonials of the cruelty of human beings.
Not only domestic but wild animals have also faced the wrath of the terrifying cruelties of humankind. Unique poaching aims in Asia include the Asian black bear which is captured for its bear bile. Bear paw, along with tiger parts, shark fin, sea turtles, pangolins (scaly anteaters), and manta ray are poached in Asia and the South Pacific and many are viciously farmed or illicitly hunted.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960
The act aimed to punish the perpetrators of inhumane acts such as torture, beatings, killings etc. towards animals.
It states, “An Act to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals and for that purpose to amend the law relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals.”
- Section 2(a) “animal” means any living creature other than a human being”
- Section 2(c) “captive animal” means any animal (not being a domestic animal) which is in captivity or confinement, whether permanent or temporary, or which is subjected to any appliance or contrivance for the purpose of hindering or preventing its escape from captivity or confinement or which is pinioned or which is or appears to be maimed.
- Section 2(d) “domestic animal” means any animal which is tamed or which has been or is being sufficiently tamed to serve some purpose for the use of man or which, although it neither has been nor is being nor is intended to be so tamed, is or has become in fact wholly or partly tamed.
The Act is divided over 6 chapters, each containing a variety of provisions.
The Act also gave birth to the idea of The Animal Welfare board as mentioned in Section 4 and Section 10. All the guidelines in a detailed manner, from constitution and provisions of the board members, terms of office and service conditions of the board members, fund and functions of the board to regulatory powers of the board.
What actions are to be deemed as cruel acts?
(a) beats, kicks, overrides, over-drives, over-loads, tortures or otherwise treats any animal so as to subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering or causes or, being the owner permits, any animal to be so treated; or
(b) [employs in any work or labour or for any purpose any animal which, by reason of its age or any disease], infirmity, wound, sore or other cause, is unfit to be so employed or, being the owner, permits any such unfit animal to be so employed;
(c) Wilfully and unreasonably administers any injurious drug or injurious substance to [any animal] or wilfully and unreasonably causes or attempts to cause any such drug or substance to be taken by [any animal]; or
(d) Conveys or carries, whether in or upon any vehicle or not, any animal in such a manner or position as to subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering; or
(e) Keeps or confines any animal in any cage or other receptacle which does not measure sufficiently in height, length and breadth to permit the animal a reasonable opportunity for movement; or
(f) Keeps for an unreasonable time any animal chained or tethered upon an unreasonably short or unreasonably heavy chain or cord; or
(g) being the owner, neglects to exercise or cause to be exercised reasonably any dog habitually chained up or kept in close confinement; or
(h) Being the owner of 3 [any animal] fails to provide such animal with sufficient food, drink or shelter; or
(i) without reasonable cause, abandons any animal in circumstances which render it likely that it will suffer pain by reason of starvation or thirst; or
(j) wilfully permits any animal, of which he is the owner, to go at large in any street while the animal is affected with contagious or infectious disease or, without reasonable excuse permits any diseased or disabled animal, of which he is the owner, to die in any street; or
(k) offers for sale or, without reasonable cause, has in his possession any animal which is suffering pain by reason of mutilation, starvation, thirst, overcrowding or other ill-treatment; or
[(l) Mutilates any animal or kills any animal (including stray dogs) by using the method of strychnine injections in the heart or in any other unnecessarily cruel manner; or] [(m) solely with a view to providing entertainment—
(i) Confines or causes to be confined any animal (including tying of an animal as a bait in a tiger or other sanctuary) so as to make it an object of prey for any other animal; or
(ii) Incites any animal to fight or bait any other animal; or]
(n) organises, keeps, uses or acts in the management of, any place for animal fighting or for the purpose of baiting any animal or permits or offers any place to be so used or receives money for the admission of any other person to any place kept or used for any such purposes; or
(o) Promotes or takes part in any shooting match or competition wherein animals are released from captivity for the purpose of such shooting.
The Act is an important landmark in the case of care and protection toward animals. Animals being a crucial part of the environment are important for the co-existence of the life cycle.