For Immediate Release:
23 April 2021
Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]
Sachin Bangera ; [email protected]
Amendments Proposed Include Prohibiting the Caging of Birds, Banning the Use of Animals in Circuses, and Recognising Animals as Living Beings, Not Things
Delhi – Today, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India submitted its proposals to be considered for the revision of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960, to the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). Among them is the recommendation to replace the pronoun “it” with “he” or “she” when referring to animals as a first step towards recognising them as living, feeling beings, not objects. PETA India wants the Act to be, at minimum less speciesist (i.e. less exploitative of animals) than it is now.
Other recommendations made by PETA India include increasing penalties for cruelty to animals to a range between Rs 25,000 to Rs 1 lakh and up to five years of imprisonment. For a cognisable offence or a second non-cognisable offence, the group also recommends seizing the person’s animal and depriving him or her of owning or working with any other animal. PETA India suggests prohibiting the caging of aerial birds, stopping the use of animals in circuses, eliminating all dissection of animals for teaching and training students, ending the use of captive elephants for performances, banning the sacrifice of animals, and expanding types of cruelty to include sexual abuse of animals, among other reforms to prevent unnecessary pain and suffering.
“This 60-year-old legislation is being considered for revision for the first time, and it must reflect modern society’s concern for animals,” says PETA India CEO Dr Manilal Valliyate. “It’s vital that efforts be made to update the Act to match today’s scientific knowledge that animals are thinking, feeling beings who do not want to be caged, chained, harmed, or killed.”
On 15 April, the AWBI organised an online stakeholder consultation meeting inviting suggestions regarding amending the PCA Act in recognition of the increasing incidences of cruelty to animals and demand from society to increase the currently meagre penalties for animal abuse, which include a maximum fine of Rs 50 for a first offence. Many members of Parliament have requested amendments in this regard, two private bills were introduced in Parliament, and the Supreme Court of India has observed the necessity of an amendment, too. As presented by the AWBI, the government’s major considerations for amendments currently include only determining penalties, cognisability of offences, and the establishment of state animal welfare boards as per the direction of the Supreme Court. The AWBI advised stakeholders to submit their comments, if any, by 25 April.