News-CRUX-10     2nd May 2024        

Context: In recent times, countries worldwide have enhanced animal cruelty laws and punishments. The recent cruelty against community dogs in India has prompted discussions on the deficiencies within the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act (1960) and need of amendment in this Act.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, (Amendment) Bill-2022

  • About: The Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has prepared the draft Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act (Amendment) Bill-2022.
  • Imprisonment: The draft proposes a maximum of 5 years imprisonment, along with a fine, for killing an animal, introducing a new clause for this purpose.
  • Definition of Gruesome Cruelty: The Act defines gruesome cruelty as acts causing extreme pain and suffering to animals, punishable by a minimum fine of Rs 50,000 or imprisonment up to three years.
  • Care for Community Animals: Local governments will be responsible for the care of community animals, defined as those born in a community with no claimed ownership, excluding wild animals under the Wildlife Protection Act.
  • Introduction of Five Freedoms: A new Section 3A is proposed, outlining 'five freedoms' for animals, which include freedom from thirst, hunger, discomfort, pain, injury, and disease, the ability to express normal behavior, and freedom from fear and distress.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act (1960)

  • About: It is the foundational law aimed at safeguarding animal rights and preventing cruelty inflicted by humans.
  • Definition of Animals: The Act provides a comprehensive definition of animals, encompassing all living creatures except humans.
  • Offenses & Punishments: The Act delineates various forms of animal cruelty and imposes punishments on offenders to deter such acts.
  • Guidelines for Animal Experimentation: The Act sets guidelines for ethical experimentation on animals for scientific purposes and regulates the exhibition of performing animals.
  • Establishment of AWBI: The Act mandates the establishment of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) to oversee and enforce its provisions.