Cat and Animal Protection Laws in India


Contents – Cat and animal protection laws in India

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960

The Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 (as amended)


 – This page sets out selected terms of

….that are relevant to cats only, my area of concern. In other words these are selected extracts, the most central and pertinent especially in relation to cats.

The Acts mentioned above are long and comprehensive and drafted in a very readable manner. This is refreshing. There a substantial body of animal law legislation in India. Cat and animal protection laws in India are good. The indications are that the will to enforce them is poor in my opinion.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960  –  Cat and animal protection laws in India

This Act was amended by the Central Act 26 of 1982 (indicated by a *). The purpose of this Act is to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals. It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. An “animal” is defined as “any living creature other than a human being”.

The Act sets up The Animal Welfare Board of India. Here are some selected clauses.

Clause 3

“It shall be the duty of every person having the care or charge of any animal to take all reasonable measures to ensure the well-being of such animal and to prevent the infliction upon such animal of unnecessary pain or suffering.”

Clause 11 this is not verbatim but a summary

A person commits an offence if he:

  • beats, kicks, overrides..tortures, or treats any animal such that it causes unnecessary pain or suffering (or causes such treatment)  
  • willfully and unreasonably administers an injurious drug or substance to an animal or causes it to happen
  • as an owner fails to provide proper sustenance and shelter
  • abandons an animal causing starvation or thirst
  • willfully allows an animal that is suffering from a contagious or infectious disease and in his charge to go at large
  • offers for sale an animal that is suffering pain due to ill treatment
  • mutilates or kills an animal in a unnecessarily cruel manner

On the first offence the punishment is a fine between 10-50 rupees and/or imprisonment of a maximum of 3 months. On a second offence within 3 years of the former offence the fine is extended to 25-100 rupees.

Comment: At Nov. 2008 100 Indian Rupees = £1.20 (GPD) or about $2 (USD). A skilled factory worker in India at Nov. 2008, earns an average £964 per annum (arc: BBC website). The maximum fine is about 1.2% of annual salary. While in the UK the maximum fine is £20,000, about the equivalent of one years wage or getting on for a fine 100 times greater. These figures come from a book published in 2006, Animal Laws of India by Maneka Gandhi, Ozair Husain and Raj Panjwani.

Update: the figures above are confirmed on the Animal Welfare Board of India website (as at Nov.2008).

It would seem to me that the fines need to be more severe. So although Cat and animal protection laws in India are good enforcement is weak.


Clauses 14-20

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1972 also controls and manages animal experimentation under Chapter IV, Sections 14-20. This is an important part of cat and animal protection laws in India. Animal experimentation is allowed:

Section 14: Nothing contained in this Act shall render unlawful the performance of experiments (including) experiments involving operations) on animals for the purpose of advancement by new discovery of physiological knowledge or of knowledge which will be useful for saving or for prolonging life or alleviating suffering or for combating any disease, whether of human beings, animals or plants”

Section 15 (1) states: “If at any time, on the advice of the Board, the Central Government is of opinion that it is necessary so to do for the purpose of controlling and supervising experiments on animals, it may be notification in the Official Gazette Constitute a Committee consisting of such number of officials and non-officials, as it may think fit to appoint thereto.”

I have not seen an indication that such a committee exists but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

Cruelty to animals – full text as amended on s.11  – Cat and animal protection laws in India

Here is the full text of s.11, this important section:

Section 11(1) if any person

(a) beats, kicks, over-rides, over-drives, over-loads, tortures or otherwise treats any animal so as to subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering or causes, or being the owner permits, any animal to be so treated or

(b) *(employs in any work or labour or for any purpose any animal which, by reason of its age or any disease) infirmity, wound, sore or other cause, is unfit to be so employed or, being the owner, permits any such unfit animal to be employed; or

(c) willfully and unreasonably administers any injurious drug or injurious substance to **(any animal) or willfully and unreasonably causes or attempts to cause any such drug or substance to be taken by ***(any animal;) or

* Subs. by Act 26 of 1982, S. 10 (a) (i) for the words “employ in any work or labour any animal which, by reason of any disease”;
** Subs. ibid S.10 (a) (ii) for the words “any domestic or captive animal”.
*** Subs. ibid S. 10 (a) (ii) for the words “any captive animal”.

(d) conveys or carries whether in or upon any vehicle or not, any animal in such a manner or position as to subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering; or

(e) keeps or confines any animal in any cage or other receptacle which does not measure sufficiently in height, length and breadth to permit the animal a reasonable opportunity for movement; or

(f) keeps for an unreasonable time any animal chained or tethered upon an unreasonably short or unreasonably heavy chain or cord; or

(g) being the owner, neglects to exercise or cause to be exercised reasonably any dog habitually chained up or kept in close confinement; or

(h) being the owner of (any animal) fails to provide such animal with sufficient food, drink or shelter; or

(i) without reasonable cause, abandons any animal in circumstances which tender it likely that it will suffer pain by reason of starvation thirst; or

(j) willfully permits any animal, of which he is the owner, to go at large in any street, while the animal is affected with contagious or infectious disease or, without reasonable excuse permits any diseased or disabled animal, of which he is the owner, to die in any street; or

(k) offers for sale or without reasonable cause, has in his possession any animal which is suffering pain by reasons of mutilation, starvation, thirst, overcrowding or other ill-treatment; or

*(l) mutilates any animal or kills any animal (including stray dogs) by using the method of strychnine injections in the heart or in any other unnecessarily cruel manner or;)

**(m) solely with a view to providing entertainment;

* Subs. by Act 26 of 1982. S. 10 (a) (iv) for the original clause.
** Subs. ibid S. 10 (a) for the original clause.

(i) confines or causes to be confined any animal (including tying of an animal as a bait in a tiger or other sanctuary) so as to make it an object or prey for any other animal; or

(n) *** (XXXX) organizes, keeps uses or acts in the management or, any place for animal fighting or for the purpose of baiting any animal or permits or offers any place to be so used or receives money for the admission of any other person to any place kept or used for any such purposes; or

(o) promotes or takes part in any shooting match or competition wherein animals are released from captivity for the purpose of such shooting;

He shall be punishable **** (in the case of a first offence, with fine which shall not be less than ten rupees but which may extend to fifty rupees and in the case of a second or subsequent offence committed within three years of the previous offence, with fine which shall not be less than twenty five rupees but which may extend, to one hundred rupees or with imprisonment for a term which may extend, to three months, or with both.)
*** The words ”
for the purposes of his business” omitted by Act 26 of 1982,S. 10 (a) (iv)
**** Subs. ibid S. 10 (a) (vii) for the portion beginning with the words “in the case of a first offence” and ending with words “or with both”.
2. For the purposes of section (1) an owner shall be deemed to have committed an offence if he has failed to exercise reasonable care and supervision with a view to the prevention of such offence;Provided that where an owner is convicted permitting cruelty by reason only of having failed to exercise such care and supervision, he shall not be liable to imprisonment without the option of a fine
3. Nothing in this section shall apply to :-

(a) the dehorning of cattle, or the castration or branding or noseroping of any animal in the prescribed manner, or

(b) the destruction of stray dogs in lethal chambers * (by such other methods as may be prescribed) or

(c) the extermination or destruction of any animal under the authority of any law for the time being in force; or

(d) any matter dealt with in Chapter IV; or

(e) the commission or omission of any act in the course of the destruction or the preparation for destruction of any animal as food for mankind unless such destruction or preparation was accompanied by the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering.

* Subs. by Act 26 of 1982, S. 10 (b), for the words “by the other methods with a minimum of suffering”.

The Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972  – Cat and animal protection laws in India

Preliminary – clause 2 – definitions

An animal includes mammals, bird, reptiles, amphibians, fish, other chordates and invertebrates and includes their young and eggs.

Section 7

UNder sections 6 and 7 of the The Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 central government had a duty to set up the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) and created the obligation for it to meet twice yearly. It seems it did not meet twice yearly all the time. See is the Indian National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) in breach of statutory duty?. If I am correct is this a sign that there is a lack of commitment to protect wild life in India?

 Section 9

This section states that no person shall hunt any wild animal specified in the schedules or as specified by the Chief Wild Life Warden except in self defence of oneself or another (s.11).

As regards wild cats the schedules include the following cats:

Section 11(2)

“The killing or wounding in good faith of any wild animal in defence of oneself or of any other person shall not be an offence.”

Cat and animal protection laws in India Comment: On the Indian tiger website ( initiatives are set out for the preservation of the tiger. A summary of the initiatives starts by saying conservation endeavours have been primarily focused on the tiger. That implies the other wildcats listed above are and will continue to be relatively neglected in terms of preservation.

The summary of initiative concludes that there has been “relative neglect” in respect of wildlife conservation. It says the board should meet more often and deal with the issue of wildlife conservation more seriously.

This does not fill me with hope for the future I am afraid to say. I sense a lack of commitment. The laws are there. They need to be enforced far more rigorously. Fines are too light in respect of offences under animal welfare laws. The financial rewards to poachers are high because, for example, a tiger’s penis is worth $6,000 (USD) for Asian medicinal purpose. The risk is worth taking.

About killing a tiger in self-defense, I have this to say: is it fair and right? Are we reponsible for the attacks at least in part? See Killing a tiger in self-defense in India.


Cat and animal protection laws in India

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