April 26, 2016
MPs Across Party Lines Urge Environment Minister to Increase Animal Cruelty Penalties
The letters from Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda and Satyapal Singh come as the new parliament session begins
With the recent increase in cases of animal abuse and cruelty, members of parliament Dr. Satyapal Singh (BJP), Shri Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda (BJD) and Dr Shashi Tharoor (INC) have written to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to increase the penalties for animal cruelty by amending the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The minimum penalty for PCA Act is Rs 10 and the maximum is Rs 50 and has not been amended since 1960 from when it was first passed.
The letters from the MPs cutting across party lines come in response to the campaign to increase animal cruelty penalties in India started by leading animal welfare organizations Humane Society International/India and People for Animals. This follows the filing of a new private member bill by MP Smt. Poonam Mahajan (BJP) at the beginning of the new parliament session.
Dr. Tharoor stated in the letter, “The penalties for cruel treatment of animals under section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act – which range from INR 10 to INR 50 is grossly inadequate, especially in today’s day and age. Despite the increased rate of inflation and other socio-cultural changes, the quantum of penalty has not been reviewed in the last four decades. I hope that this issue is given urgent consideration and immediate steps are taken to address it, through a simple amendment of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.”
Shri Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, who had earlier supported HSI/India’s Be Cruelty–Free campaign to end animal testing for cosmetics, in his letter stated, “Animal abuse should not be seen in isolation and be treated as a petty offence. Indeed, a number of studies have drawn links between the abuse of animals and violence against people. It is, therefore imperative that we undertake measures to review and update the penalties under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to effectively curb animal abuse.”
Dr. Singh stated in his letter, “The penalties provided in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act have not been revised since the time the act was enacted and do not act as a deterrent crippling it from serving its purpose, which is to prevent pain and suffering of animals. There is an urgent need to amend the penal provisions of the act in compliance with the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court -Animal Welfare Board of India Vs. A. Nagaraj dated 7 May, 2014 and to prevent the unnecessary pain and suffering of animals and to ensure that the act is a deterrent to animal abusers.”
N G Jayasimha, managing director of HSI/India, said, “We are extremely thankful to these MPs for highlighting the need for robust animal laws in India. Support from such progressive leaders will only bolster our ask in making the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act an effective deterrent for animal abusers. The current PCA Act is crippled by its archaic provisions and until it is revised, we will never be able to protect this vulnerable section of society.”
The increase in the number of animal abuse incidents in the recent past, which includes the assault on the police horse Shaktiman that ultimately resulted in her death, the brutal killing of puppies in Delhi and Bengaluru as well as the acid attack on a pony in Hyderabad, has put the spotlight on the pressing need to strengthen animal laws in the country.
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