Pakistan has announced its first modern animal welfare law in the country, which includes banning live animal procedures in veterinary schools and the shooting of some animals. Salman Sufi, head of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s strategic reforms unit, said that the law will be currently enacted in Islamabad and the federal government would encourage the provinces to implement it. A comprehensive law would be tabled in the next session of parliament for implementation at the national level.
According to Sufi, animal welfare is “another neglected sector in Pakistan” on which “no studies or work has been done to date”. He also said that the bill will be “Pakistan’s first comprehensive animal welfare law.” There current animal welfare law is from 1800, so it definitively needs updating. Sufi had previously assured that the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is also “an animal lover and has taken stern notice of animal welfare issues.”
Surgeries on live animals as education methods will be banned at veterinary schools in Islamabad (although animal tests for research and product testing will continue in other places). The reforms came after videos showing animals in states of extreme distress after allegedly being operated upon by veterinary students were made public in May 2022. Animal rights activists called out the barbaric practice of animal experimentation at Pir Mehr Ali Shah (PMAS) Arid Agriculture University in Rawalpindi, exposed through videos and tweets.
The shooting and poisoning of some animals will also be banned. Companion animals’ markets will also be regulated for the first time in the country. The Government announced fines of up to Rs15,000 ($73) and jail terms for convicted animal cruelty offenders. Once the reforms are enacted citizens will be able to report any acts of animal cruelty through a hotline.