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New Government urged to table animal welfare bill in upcoming Parliament Monsoon session

Delhi, India: With the newly formed Government assuming office this month, Humane Society International/India (HSI/India) and People for Animals (PFA) urge the Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a letter to expedite passage of the long-awaited Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (Amendment) Bill 2022 in the upcoming Monsoon session of the Parliament.
The draft bill introduces amendments to the current animal law including stringent penalties for animal cruelty, newer cognizable offenses, and establishes five fundamental freedoms for every animal—freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury, and disease; and freedom to express normal and natural behaviour.
Despite India having some of the strongest animal laws in the world, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 has remained unchanged since its adoption, giving scope to animal offenders to go scot-free after committing serious crimes against animals. Currently, the maximum fine for even the most heinous crime against animals—including beating, poisoning, raping or burning an animal—is a mere Rs. 50 (and Rs. 100 for repeat offenders).
The pressure to update this law has been increasing since 2016, with over 400,000 signatures submitted on petitions to amend the animal welfare laws. In 2022, over 180 parliamentarians demanded such an amendment, echoed by the 50,000 emails and letters sent in 2023 by animal advocates and the general public to PM Narendra Modi to amend the 1960 Act.
Alokparna Sengupta, managing director of Humane Society International/India, said: “There is an urgent need for bringing the new act. In the long run, the lack of a better law poses a great threat to society at large. In the pursuit of compassion, justice and a more humane society, the time to act is now and we need urgent reforms from the newly elected Government that will act as a deterrent against animal cruelty and be applicable to both individuals and institutions.”
Gauri Maulekhi, trustee of People for Animals, said: “Amending the PCA Act is imperative and long overdue. It is well known that violence against animals is a precursor to violence against other vulnerable members of our society, be it women, children, or our elders. Strengthening this law protects animals and serves as a pivotal step towards cultivating empathy and respect, fostering a society where compassion thrives, and brutality finds no haven.”
Some recent cruelty cases of a highly disturbing nature include that of Jai, the community dog in Mumbai being brutally killed; a pet golden retriever in Gurgaon thrashed in an elevator by a dog walker; and a street dog being beaten brutally in Jagatpuri, Delhi.
The passage of this law is expected to set a strong precedent by raising fines and punishment for cruelty offenses against animals and helping to build a society that treats domesticated and wild animals with care and compassion.
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