Enhanced penalties mooted for cruelty against animals

Thursday, February 17, 2011

NEW DELHI - In order to check animal abuse in the country, the environment ministry has called for higher penalties for cruelty against animals in its proposed draft Animal Welfare Act, 2011.

The ministry Thursday came out with a draft of the legislation and invited comments by March 20. The Animal Welfare Act, 2011, when passed, will replace the existing Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and will provide for clearer definitions of animal abuse and enhanced penalties.

The salient features also include augmenting animal welfare and well-being and strengthening animal welfare organisations.

“This law intends to modify the approach of our authorities in dealing with animal protection by moving from a defensive position to a positive, welfare and well-being oriented approach through the draft Animal Welfare Act, 2011,” a ministry statement said.

According to the ministry, India was one of the first countries to enact a law on the subject of animal cruelty through the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

“However, over the last few decades, there has been increasing concern that the legislation has not been as successful as its authors intended. This apparent lack of success can be attributed to the provision of relatively weak penalties for violation in addition to an absence of proactive and preemptive measures for the prevention of animal cruelty,” it said.

India has one of the most comprehensive laws on the subject of wildlife protection but unfortunately domesticated animals do not enjoy specific protections under it, it said.

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