The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 was enacted on 26th December, 1960. The act was drafted with a purpose to prevent infliction of excessive pain and suffering to animals. It shall be duty of every person in-charge of an animal to take reasonable care of it.
Chapter II of the Act provides for establishment of Animal Welfare Board known as the Animal Welfare Board of India established by Central Government. The board is bestowed with twin responsibility of protection and promotion of animal welfare. The board shall be a body corporate having perpetual succession, common seal and shall acquire property in its name. The board shall be constituted by such members as given under section 5 of the act which shall include members representing animal husbandry, central government, persons engaged in animal welfare, veterinary practitioner etc. The Central government shall employ secretary and other such members as it deems necessary. The board shall get funds from the government along with contributions or gifts from local authorities.
Section 9 of the act enumerates in detail functions of the board. Some of its functions are to advise government on making rules under the Act, take steps ensuring safety of animals by building sheds, water troughs etc., to provide cooperation and also coordinate with work carried out for protection of animals, aiding financially animal welfare associations, advise government on matters relating to medical care and attention towards animals, impart education and awareness on prevention of animal cruelty. The board shall also have power to make regulations as it deems fit for administration of it work.
Chapter III of the act exhaustively elaborates what shall constitute animal cruelty under section 11 to section 13. Cruelty towards animals shall include beating, kicking, torturing, subjecting to unnecessary pain, employing wounded or ailing animals, causing unnecessary pain and suffering to animals, abandoning of animal, lack of food and water, mutilates an animal, using an animal as source of entertainment, keeping an animal confined for long. However the act shall not apply to certain activities against animals such as dehorning cattle, destruction of stray dogs in lethal chambers and destruction of animals dangerous to mankind. The act also prohibits non scientific methods used for lactation of milch animals such as cow, such act shall be punished with imprisonment extending to two years or with fine extending to one thousand rupees.
Chapter IV of the Act deals with experimentation of animal, and strictly prohibits experimentation on animals. The Act provides for establishment of committee for control and supervision over experiment on animals. It shall be the duty of the committee to ensure that no unnecessary pain or suffering is being inflicted on animals. The committee shall have power of entry, search, seizure and can prohibit experimentation on animals. However after insertion of sub clause (1A) to section 17 by Act 1982 is an exception whereby animals can be used for experimentation subject to causing injury minimally. Such experiments shall be carried only by qualified persons under safe environment causing minimal damage to the animal. It also provides that no experiment shall be carried over large animals’ instead smaller animals such as rabbit, rat, guinea pig, frogs etc shall be used for the purpose.
The act under Chapter V prohibits exhibition and training of animals. Person desirous of training an animal shall do so after taking clearance from necessary authority through an application addressed to such authority. The prescribing authority shall maintain a register wherein names of all persons to whom clearance is granted shall be recorded. However the act empowers the court to prohibit or restrict exhibition and training of animals in bonafide situations even when the person has certificate of exhibition or training animals. The act under section 27 authorises military or police training to animals for educational and scientific purposes.
Thus the Act is an important piece of legislation which prohibits inhuman treatment to animals and lays all safeguards required for the well being of animals.
by Vibhuti Nakta.