Animal Rights in India- From Slaughter to Skin Trade, Protection Laws

Animal Rights in India- From Slaughter to Skin Trade, Protection Laws
Animal Rights in India- From Slaughter to Skin Trade, Protection Laws

Animal Rights in India- From Slaughter to Skin Trade, Protection Laws


The Union of India has laid some of the best rules in the world for safeguarding the rights of the animals. It will interest you to know that it is an offense to relocate a stray dog or to cause or organize a fight between two or more animals.

It is true that many citizens of India are unaware of the legislation and other enactments that are for the protection of the rights of the animals.

Animal rights in India are concerned with the laws and treatment that relates to animals and non-violent attitudes towards non-human animals. You should know that this is different from animal conservation laws which deals more on the preservation and protection of the endangered animal species.

As one of the major producers of animal products in the world; India has enacted several laws for the protection of animals since 1960.

This article will provide you with the needed information on the rights of animals in India.


  • Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960: This was the first welfare law for animals in India. It criminalizes any act of cruelty against an animal. However, the law makes exceptions for the animals which are used for scientific experiments and for human consumption.

The Animal Welfare Board of India was created in the Act, to ensure the enforcement of the provisions of this Act and to promote and protect the welfare of the animals.

  • The breeding of and Experiments on Animals (Control and Supervision) Rules, 1998: This law has clearly outlined the requirements and specifications for the rearing of animals and its use for research.

As amended in 2006, it states that experiments can only be carried out on animals that are at the bottom of the genetic scale and any refusal to use non-animal alternatives must be justified. In addition to this, a limited number of animals that can offer a 95% rate of statistical confidence should be used.

The use of live animals for experiments during medical lessons at school was prohibited in the 2013 amendment of the Act.

  • The use of captive dolphins as a means of entertainment to the public was prohibited by the Government of India in 2013.
  • In 2014, the Government placed a ban on the importation of all cosmetics that have been tested on animals including thus the use of such substances.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change notified the public through a Gazette in 2017 on the regulation of dog breeders, fish breeders and animal markets under the 1960 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

Other rules / Acts include:

  • The performing Animals Rules, 1973 and the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001.
  • The Prevention of Cruelty to Draught and pack Animals Rules, 1965
  • The Transport of Animals Rules, 1978
  • The Wild Life Protection Act, 1972.
  • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughter House) Rules, 2001
  • The Experiment of Animals (Control and Supervision) Rules, 1968


  • Under Article 51A(g); it is mandatory for all citizens of India to be compassionate towards living creatures.
  • Sections 428 and 429 criminalizes the killing or maiming of animals including stray animals.
  • Section 11(1)(i) and Section 11(1)(j) of the PCA, 1960 criminalizes the abandoning of animal for any reason with a three months jail term for offenders.
  • Any animal including chicken can only be slaughtered in the slaughter house and it is an offense to kill a sick or pregnant animal for consumption under Rule 3 of PCA, Slaughter House Rules 2001 and Chapter 4 of FFS Regulations 2011.
  • No authority or person is to capture or relocate any stray dog that has been operated upon for birth control under ABC Rules 2001.
  • Section 11(1) (h) of PCA criminalizes the neglect of animals by keeping it in chains for longer hours, refusing her food, exercise and shelter. Violation of this law attracts a fine or a 3 months’ imprisonment or both.
  • Monkeys cannot be used for public display or owned under the wildlife Protection Act 1972.
  • Section 22(ii), PCA Act, 1960, prohibits the use and training of lions, monkey, bears, tigers, panthers and bulls for entertainment purposes in the public glare.
  • The use of animals for sacrifice in any part of the country is prohibited under Rule 3 of Slaughter House Rules 2001.
  • Section 11(1)(m)(ii) and Section 11(1)(n) of PCA Act, 1960 criminalizes the participation, inciting and organizing of fights between animals.
  • The use and the importation of cosmetics that has been tested on animals is prohibited under Rules 148-C and 135-B of Drugs and Cosmetics rules, 1945.
  • Section 38J of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, criminalizes the feeding and teasing of animals in the zoo or the littering of the zoo environment. Offenders will pay a fine of Rs. 25000 or 3 years imprisonment or both.
  • The baiting, capturing, poisoning or trapping of an animal is prohibited and the violation of this provision attracts a fine of Rs. 25000 or 7 years imprisonment or both under Section 9 of the WP Act 1972.
  • Section 9 of the WP Act, 1972 criminalizes the destruction or disturbing of eggs or nests of birds or reptiles or cutting off trees that harbor the eggs or nests of birds or reptiles or attempting such acts. This attracts a fine of 25000 or 7 years imprisonment or both.
  • Any discomfort, suffering or pain occurring to the animal because of its posture during its conveyance by a vehicle or by any means is punishable under Section 11(1)(d) of PCA, Transport of Animals rules 2001 and MVA 1978.


  • PART IV (PRINCIPLES OF STATE POLICY 48 & 48A): The States are required to ensure that animal breeds are preserved and improved and that the slaughter of cows, calves, draught cattle and milch is prohibited.

The constitution per 48A directs the states to ensure that the environments are protected and improved to safeguard the survival of wildlife and their habitat.

In addition to this, the parliaments can make laws for the protection of animals and the prevention of any form of cruelty against them. Equally, the legislature can make laws to curb the spread of diseases affecting animals, men or plants.

  • PART IVA (FUNDAMENTAL DUTIES, 51 A(g): This part directs the citizens to protect and improve the environments and to be compassionate on the animals.
  • ARTICLE 246 (SEVENTH SCHEDULE): Both the legislature and the parliament are empowered to make laws that is for the protection and improvement of animal conditions including diseases control and veterinary practices.
  • ARTICLE 243G (ELEVENTH SCHDULE): The Constitution empowers the local government authorities to make laws that regulates fisheries, poultry, animal husbandry and dairying production.
  • ARTICLE 243W (TWELFTH SCHEDULE): It is the responsibility of the municipalities to take steps towards the regulation of various tanneries and slaughter houses.


  1. THE REARING AND CONSUMPTION OF ANIMALS: According to a 2007 report by the FOA, Indians are the lowest country in the world in terms of meat consumption. This is because one-third of Indians are categorized as vegetarians and the country has the highest concentration of vegetarians in the world. However, the rate of consumption of egg, chicken, dairy and meat are increasing rapidly in India.

In 2012, India was listed among the largest exporter of meat from cattle despite government’s restrictions on the eating of cows. In an FOA report in 2012, India was listed as the only country in the world with the largest number of dairy cows and the second-largest in terms of milk production; about 43.6 million and 50.3 million tons per year respectively.

Presently, India is ranked as the second largest in the world in terms of fish production and the third largest in the production of egg. With much room for growth, in 2011, the country was the sixth largest in the world in terms of the production of chicken meat.

The removal of the body parts of farm animals without the use of anesthesia is prohibited while one can only confine pigs in crates, calves in veal crates and hens in cages.

  1. THE REARING OF ANIMALS FOR CLOTHING: Animals used for clothing are divided into two:
  2. Fur: Indian are among the largest in the world in terms of the use and purchase of fur products. In 2012, Indians spent Rs 8.6 billion on the purchase of fur products and the amount is to surpass Rs 13 billion before the end of 2018. These products are mostly supplied by local producers and in 2017, the government placed a ban on the use and importation of products of certain animal skins and furs, including reptiles, fox, chinchilla and mink.
  3. Leather: The leather industry in India has been increasingly booming because of poor enforcement of animal protection laws in the states. According to a 2014 report on the Indian leather industry, it was described as the second largest in the world in terms of leather footwear and garments production and the ninth largest in the world among leather and leather works exporting countries. The government has been very supportive concerning the growth of the industry as it allows a 100% FDI and other industrial development schemes.
  4. ANIMALS USED IN RESEARCH: The committee for the Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals was created in the 1960 animal protection law to regulate the use of animals in research. Following an inspection which was conducted on 467 laboratories in India by the CPCSEA and the UK National Anti-Vivisection Society; it was discovered that many of the facilities are below acceptable standards for animal care. The report cited a neglect, abuse of the animals and the refusal to use alternatives to animals.
  5. MOVEMENTS FOR THE PROTECTION OF ANIMAL RIGHTS: There are several organizations in India with the aim to protect and promote the rights of animals. One of them is People for Animals which was initiated by Maneka Gandhi and has other subsidiaries such as People for Animals Uttarakhand which has Gauri Maulekh as the overseer. Other organizations are People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, In Defense of Animals and Humane Society International. Most of this organizations are funded by international animal rights institutions.


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