Animal Law: Your Pets Have Rights Too
As far as India’s history is concerned, animals have always enjoyed a specific distinction in her society. Many of the religions that evolved in India did advocate for ahimsa, non-violence to all living beings. Devotees of religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism often relinquished meat consumption, and it was Ashoka the Great who paved the way for animal welfare. In 1960, India’s first-ever animal welfare law was enacted, i.e., the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
So, one must realize that all of this history has led to your local wildlife’s rights.
The Most Powerful Laws for Animal Welfare
It is about Article 21 that all species of animals have a right to security and life. However, the meaning of “life” does not mean mere survival or exists as an instrument solely for human benefit. Animals, just like humans, are entitled to a life of dignity and inherent worth.
This is a simplified version of the Supreme Court maintained but if you’re still wondering about its implications, let’s look at the most effective laws that are guaranteed to protect animal wellbeing.
- Section 428 & Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code, state that killing, maiming, poisoning or rendering any animal useless will result in imprisonment or fine or both.
- Section 39 of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, states that injuries to wild animals or killing them will result in imprisonment or a fine or both.
- The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 has listed several circumstances classified as animal cruelty, and you can access them here.
As of 2015, an estimated 30 million stray dogs in India! So, as one can expect, according to the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001, your neighbourhood street dogs have certain rights too. If you often find yourself under scrutiny for feeding and caring for the local dog pack, learn these laws so that you can feed your furry friends without fear:
- No law prohibits feeding stray animals.
- Sterilization is encouraged, as it pacifies the animal as well as regulates population. But remember, once you take a puppy to get sterilized, you have to take it back to its original location.
- This seems obvious, but your local residence association cannot resort to killing or dislocating dogs to curb the dog population.
- If a dog is being abused, it has every right to attack in self-defence. Every animal has the right to be free from cruelty.
Let’s rewind to 2015 when the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) released a circular stating the laws and liberties regarding pets. Yes, your cute little fuzzball is entitled to certain extra things, and you, as an owner, have an obligation to make sure that they enjoy their liberties.
- Your dog is allowed to bark as it is a natural form of expression.
- Regular medical procedures such as vaccinations/sterilizations for your pet are mandated, and it is entitled to adequate care and nutrition.
- Pets have a right to enter elevators.
- The defecation of pets cannot be controlled, so your pet is entitled to excrement and urination.
- Pets have the liberty to use parks and gardens, and cannot be banned from any such establishments unless entailed by state laws.
It is essential to know the rights your pet is entitled to as it can save a lot of time and effort consumed in legal battles. Since India is only just starting to warm up to the idea of pets slowly, it is critical to be aware of animal laws so that your pets can live safely and free from persecution.
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