Om Puri Calls On Government To Put Some Teeth Into New Animal Welfare Act

For Immediate Release: 

26 July 2011


Benazir Suraiya; [email protected]

Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

International Actor Teams Up With PETA to Stop Animal Protection Laws From Being Weakened and Stalled 

Mumbai – On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India, Om Puri, an acclaimed actor who has appeared in films produced on three continents, has sent a letter to Jayanthi Natarajan, the new Union Minister for Environment and Forests, imploring her to do everything in her power to hasten the enactment of the new Animal Welfare Act, 2011. In the letter, Puri points out that the current laws – which provide for fines and other penalties for cruelty to animals – were written more than five decades ago and that now they are so weak that they have little deterrent effect.

“Considering that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, was enacted 50 years ago, it is high time for India’s animal welfare laws to get a much-needed 21st-century makeover”, writes Puri. “I hope the government will put politics aside and give our animals the basic protections that they deserve by passing the Animal Welfare Act, 2011.”

Puri has acted in numerous Indian films and also in many films produced in the UK and the US. His British films include My Son the Fanatic (1997), East Is East (1999) and The Parole Officer (2001), and his work in Hollywood includes such films as City of Joy (1992), Wolf (1994) and Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), which starred Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. His most recent movie is West Is West by Andy De Emmony, and he has three films scheduled to open this year.

Currently, the penalty for cruelty to animals is between 10 to 50 rupees for the first offence, which may go up to 100 rupees for a subsequent offence or up to three months in prison. The new proposed Animal Welfare Act, 2011, if passed, would result in the penalty for cruelty to animals being at least between 10,000 and 25,000 rupees or imprisonment for up to two years – or both – for a first offence. For a subsequent offence, the penalty would be between 50,000 rupees and one lakh rupees and imprisonment for one to three years. Recent news reports indicate, however, that the penalty could be made even higher by the passing of the proposed legislation.

Om Puri’s letter to the Ministry of Environment and Forests is available upon request. For more information, please visit