A draft Bill proposing amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act 1960 of India has been receiving comments from the public until 7th December 2022, the deadline for submissions. The draft Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act, (Amendment) Bill 2022 has been prepared by the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying of India, and it already contains 61 amendments that aim at strengthening the outdated current animal protection legislation in the country.
The amendments cover a wide range of issues. For instance, one amendment suggests up to five-year imprisonment or a minimum fine of ₹50,000 for committing “gruesome” cruelty, which includes acts of “bestiality”. It says that cause permanent damage to any body part of an animal or any injury which is likely to cause death or lifelong physical deformity to the animal or inciting any animal to fight amounts to cruelty.
Animal fighting should also be prohibited according to one of the amendments, which includes organising, keeping, using, or managing any place for animal fighting or for the purpose of baiting any animal or offering any place to be used for fighting. The proposed Section 3A says it shall be the duty of people in charge of an animal to ensure that the animal in their care or under their charge has the freedom from thirst, hunger, malnutrition, pain, injury, diseases, fear, and distress (what are known as the Five Animal Welfare Freedoms, which are the basis of many animal protection laws around the world). An official source told The Indian Express, “The draft once finalised is expected to be introduced in the ensuing Winter Session or the Budget Session of Parliament.”
In the case of community animals like stray dogs, a subject of great controversy in India, an amendment proposes that the local government should be responsible for their care. The draft proposals introduce the community animal as “any animal born in a community for which no ownership has been claimed… excluding wild animals as defined under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.”