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The Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying have opened a draft 'Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ( Amendment ) Bill, 2022 for public discussion.

The draft is an attempt to revise the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ( PCA ) Act, 1960, introducing 61 amendments to the law.

The Supreme Court and the animal welfare organisations asked the Parliament to amend the PCA Act to provide an effective deterrent who pose a serious threat to the fauna in the country.

Back in 2020, some petitions were written to the Animal Husbandry Minister, urging the punishment in the 1960 Act to increase.

Main Changes Proposed in the PCA Act:

a) Five freedoms to animals: Every person in charge of an animal must ensure that the animal has freedom from-

  • Thirst, hunger, and malnutrition.
  • Discomfort due to the environment.
  • Pain, injury, and diseases.
  • Fear and distress
  • Freedom to express normal behaviour for the species.

b) Defining 'gruesome cruelty': Any act involving animals that causes extreme pain and suffering will likely leave the animal disabled for life. The savage acts charged on the animals have been included as a crime under the definition of gruesome cruelty.

c) Offences have been made cognizable: Offenders can be arrested without an arrest warrant.

d) Responsibility of local governments: In such a case, the local governments are responsible for taking care of such animals in a manner developed by the State administration.

e) More Stringent Punishments: The draft proposes fines from Rs 50, 000 - 75,000 or the cost of the animal, whichever is more, it with imprisonment of 1-3 years. It suggests a maximum of 5 years imprisonment for killing an animal.

The law needs strengthening as the cases of animal cruelty are increasing day by day. Furthermore, due to poor deterrence, the offenders continue to do these savage acts.

Only by increasing the magnitude of the punishment given, the cruelty towards animals can be stopped.

The Constitution of India commands us to be compassionate to all living creatures. Animals should be treated as friends and brothers and they have the same rights as human beings. The Liberty of every living must be both recognized and respected.

"Animals have hearts that feel, eyes that see, and families to care for, just like you and me." - Anthony Douglas William.

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  • theindianexpress