Enhanced penalties in draft Animal Welfare Act

New Delhi, Feb 18 (PTI) Beating, kicking, tortureincluding over-drives and over-loads and unnecessary killingofany animal will be dealt with stringent punishment and heavyfines, according to the Environment Ministry''s proposed draftAnimal Welfare Act, 2011.

Apart from this, the draft of the legislation to providefor the welfare and well-being of animals also recommendssetting up of Animal Welfare Boards both at central and statelevels for the prevention of cruelty to animals.

"This legislation, which will replace the existingPrevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, will provide forenhanced penalties and clearer definitions of animal abuse,"the Ministry said in its note.

The Ministry, which posted the draft legislation on itswebsite, has invited comments by March 20.

If any person employs in any work any animal withoutadequate rest, food or water and indulges in other crueltieslike keeping any animal chained, abandoning them to starvationand thirst will have to face punishments includingimprisonment, if the Act is passed.

"It shall be the duty of every person having the care orcharge of any animal, whether as owner or otherwise, to ensurethe welfare and well-being of such animal and to prevent theinfliction of trauma, pain or suffering upon such animals,"says the proposed draft legislation.

It clearly states that every such person should ensurethat an animal in his care has freedom from thirst, hunger andmalnutrition, freedom from discomfort due to environment,freedom from pain, injury and disease, freedom to expressnormal behaviour for the species and freedom from fear anddistress.

The proposed draft legislation prevents persons orinstitutions from performing experiments on animals "unlesspermitted by the Committee for the Purpose of Control andSupervision of Experiments on Animals, established under thisAct."

"The Animal Welfare Act, 2011 is an Act to provide forthe welfare and well-being of animals, and to prevent theinfliction of trauma, pain or suffering on them, and toprevent unnecessary killing of animals, and for that purposeto consolidate the law relating to prevention of cruelty toanimals and providing for their welfare generally," theMinistry said.

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