Need for Increased Statutory Provisions on Animal Welfare

Govind Abhijith
National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi

This article addresses the need for separate conventions to examine animal rights leading to ethical treatment of animals. Animals are primarily regarded as property and have little or no legal rights of their own. Because of this, generally there is a presumption—provided no law is violated—in favour of the owner’s control over the best interests of the animal. The primary laws dealing with the issue presently such as The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, (1960) and Wildlife Protection Act, (1972) are not adequate with the ever expanding concept of animal welfare. While discussing the scope of present legislation, the paper seeks to address necessary aspects of increased statutory provision on Animal Welfare. In an age of politicisation of cow-vigilantism, the article also explores where to draw the line on such a contemplative legislation on animal welfare with special reference to India.  Animal law generally encompasses compassion towards animals, wildlife, animals used in entertainment and animals raised for food and research. At present, such a separate convention for animal rights does not exist in the country, although there are various case laws and provisions enacted by the Government to ensure the promulgation of animal rights in the country. Animal law is often analogized to the environmental law movement because animal law faces many of the same legal and strategic challenges which can be resolved by adoption of an all-encompassing Act similar to the Environment Protection Act (1986). The article also examines the comparative legislation in USA and Europe and the practicality of its application in India.

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Posted by Suvid Chaturvedi

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