PETA India Sounds Alarm Against Failure of Revised BNS Bill to Criminalise Sexual Abuse of Animals

Posted on by Shreya Manocha

In letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah, and the Animal Welfare Board of India, PETA India has expressed grave concern over the exclusion of a crucial provision criminalising acts of sexual abuse against animals in the Bharatiya Nyaya (Second) Sanhita (BNS), 2023. PETA India has also sent urgent appeals to all members of parliament urging them to demand continued protection of animals against sexual violence by ensuring a relevant provision is included in BNS, as has been recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs (PSCOHA).

Based on representations made by PETA India and following a meeting with PSCOHA Chair Shri Brij Lal, the committee recommended that the BNS include provisions to penalise acts of sexual abuse against animals. The BNS is set to replace the Indian Penal Code, 1860, (IPC) and was reintroduced in the Lok Sabha on 12 December 2023.

Section 377 of the IPC currently punishes sexual violence against animals, but there is no provision in the BNS Bill that affords animals the same protection. Section 377 of the IPC regards rape of an animal a non-bailable offence and carries a punishment of “[imprisonment for life], or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine”.

In 2021, the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations released a report revealing that in the decade prior, nearly 500,000 animals – including cows and dogs – were victims of crimes and many had been subjected to sexual violence. Previously, a Voice of Stray Dogs report calculated that the sexual abuse of animals was often underreported but likely committed at a similar rate to human rape cases.

Many violent criminals have a documented history of cruelty to animals. A study published in the Journal of Emotional Abuse found that 71% of women with companion animals who sought shelter from abuse at a safe home confirmed that their partner had threatened, injured, or killed the animals. Meanwhile, a study published in Forensic Research and Criminology International Journal warns, “Those who engage in animal cruelty were 3 times more likely to commit other crimes, including murder, rape, robbery, assault, harassment, threats, and drug/substance abuse. The major motivations for engaging in animal cruelty include anger, fun, control, fear, dislike, revenge, imitation, and sexual pleasure.” In India, Ameerul Islam, who was convicted of raping and murdering Kerala law student Jisha, had a history of raping and killing dogs and goats.

Help Stop Sexual Abuse of Animals