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Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    31st Mar, 2023

Context

Sixty-three years after the implementation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in 1960, the central government made reforms under the legislation.

Highlights of the development:

  • The Government has laid down the procedures for dehorning cattle and castration, branding or nose-roping of any animal.
  • The castration method involves crushing the blood vessels, nerves and vas deferns to cause the testicles to become defunct.
  • Dehorning of horned cattle is the process of removal of their horns or the process of preventing their growth.
  • The new law defined how painful procedures such as castration of bulls, horses and other animals are to be carried out. 
  • All procedures are to be carried out with the involvement of a registered veterinary practitioner, along with the mandatory use of general and local anaesthetics.
  • The rules prescribe a methodology for euthanasia for ill animals to avoid a painful death, adding the rules also require using pain-reducing methods for dehorning and nose roping.
  • The rules also demand the breeding of naturally hornless cattle over dehorning and using face halters and other humane procedures for nose roping and preventing cold and hot branding on live tissues. 

Need for reforms:

  • These procedures were earlier ‘undefined’ under Sections 11 and subsection 3 of the Act, which made it difficult to prevent cruelty against animals.
  • Section 11 defined the acts that amount to treating animals with cruelty.
  • But subsection 3 allowed exceptions for animal husbandry procedures, which involve dehorning cattle and castration, branding and nose roping of animals in a prescribed manner.

Existing methods

  • The existing methods involve pushing a bull to the ground to use a castrator sans painkillers.
  • Dehorning is done by disbudding by chemical or hot-iron destroys the horn-producing cells of the horn bud.

Animal rights and safety:

  • None of the guarantees containedin Part III of the Constitution, which deals with fundamental rights, are explicitly conferred on animals.
  • Therefore, when efforts to legislate on animal welfare were first made, it came from a more elementary ethical preceptthat it was morally wrong to inflict unnecessary pain and suffering on animals.
  • It was with this vision in mind that Parliament enacted the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA Act), in 1960.

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in 1960:

  • The legislative intent of the Act is to “prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals”.
  • The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) was established in 1962 under Section 4 of the Act.
  • This Act provides for punishment for causing unnecessary cruelty and suffering to animals. The Act defines animals and different forms of animals.
  • Discusses different forms of cruelty, exceptions, and killing of a suffering animal in case any cruelty has been committed against it, so as to relieve it from further suffering.
  • Provides the guidelines relating to experimentation on animals for scientific purposes.
  • The Act enshrines the provisions relating to the exhibition of the performing animals, and offences committed against the performing animals.
  • This Act provides for the limitation period of 3 months beyond which no prosecution shall lie for any offences under this Act.

Concerns:

  • While it criminalizes several types of actions that cause cruelty to animals, it exempts, for example, from its coverage the use of animals for experiments with a view to securing medical advancement.

Other Government Interventions:

  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM): To undertake breed improvement programme for indigenous breeds so as to improve the genetic makeup and increase the stock.
  • E-Pashu Haat Portal: This portal is for connecting breeders and farmers regarding availability of quality bovine germplasm.
  • National Animal Disease Control Programme: It has been launched for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis with a total outlay of Rs.13, 343 crore to ensure 100% vaccination of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population.
  • National Livestock Mission: IT is for intensive development of livestock, especially small livestock along with adequate availability of quality feed and fodder.
  • Livestock Health & Disease Control Scheme: Assistance is provided for prevention and control of animal diseases like Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) etc.
  • Disease Protection of Livestock: For livestock protection, the diagnostic kits against Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Bluetongue (BT) diseases and Subviral Particle based Infectious Bursal Disease Vaccine were developed.
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