The article 'Animal Protection Laws in India' by Ananya Kukreti is a profound study about the need for various laws in order to protect animals along with legislative and judicial positive steps done in this field.

The article 'Animal Protection Laws in India' by Ananya Kukreti is a profound study about the need for various laws to protect animals along with legislative and judicial positive steps done in this field. In India, several laws address animal rights. Being created as early as 1960, India's animal-related legal system is one of the most progressive ones. The Central Government has created several Allied Rules over time to carry out various aspects of the Prevention of Cruelty Act of 1960. Other laws protect animals in addition to the one mentioned above. After the 1970s, a trend emerged in which several nations throughout the world started including clauses in their respective constitutions to grant protection to animals. One of the top nations on the list is India.

To address the existing situation of animal rights abuses, this article will explore the legal laws pertaining to animal rights in India and make amendments to those provisions. Along with basic laws, there are direct and particular laws that concern animal rights. The study also contrasts the animal protection regulations of other nations with those of India.


The ecological balance of the planet is maintained by both flora and fauna. Our country has recently placed more emphasis on the safety and care of animals. Humans use billions of animals every year for their own gain, putting them in danger and causing them misery. To safeguard animal life on earth, there is a variety of legislation, including the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 and the Prevention of Cruelty Act of 1960. Our Indian Constitution also recognises the value of animal life and establishes citizens' fundamental obligations to protect and treat animals with respect. The rules and regulations for protecting wildlife will be the main topic of this article.

We go to zoos and circuses, eat meat, and dress in leather. There are many of us who purchase pets like dogs and birds and keep them caged. Humans regularly consume chicken burgers, wear wool and silk, and engage in activities related to fishing. However, we never take into account how these activities may affect animals. Animals ought to be spared pain and exploitation. Additionally, they are capable of feeling joy, grief, anxiety, frustration, loneliness, and maternal love. Animals have an inherent value, according to the majority of animal rights advocates. It is crucial to understand that animal rights are not a philosophy but rather a larger social movement that challenges the widely held belief in society that animals exist only for human consumption.

Prejudice is the only thing that can let us deny others the liberties we take for granted ourselves. Prejudice is thought to be morally reprehensible regardless of the cause, whether it be based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or species. To eat a pig, for instance, if you wouldn't eat a dog, is ridiculous. Pigs and dogs are both capable of feeling pain in the same way. We can consider one animal to be our companion and the other to be our supper because of bias based on species.

According to the ruling in Animal Welfare Board of India v. Nagaraja and Ors., (2014), animals also possess honour and dignity, and these qualities cannot be taken away from them without cause. The Court ruled that attacks that violate an animal's rights or privacy must be prevented. As a result, the right to dignity was expanded to include more than simply humans.

Animal welfare theories, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), are predicated on the idea that animals have rights and interests, but that these rights and interests may be bargained away if there are human benefits to justify the sacrifice.

On the other hand, the idea of animal rights relates to the fact that, like people, animals have interests that cannot be abandoned or bargained away only for the benefit of others. The case for animal rights is somewhat similar to that of human rights in that neither set of rights is absolute. The rights of animals should be restricted, and there may be a clash. Animals should not be used for experimentation, food, clothing, or entertainment as part of animal rights. These uses are acceptable in terms of animal welfare as long as a humane standard of care is followed.

Several Rights of Animals in India

Animal rights are Protected under the Constitution [1]

The Indian Constitution declares that it is everyone's duty to protect and maintain the nation's natural resources, including its forests, lakes, rivers, and animals. The DPSPs and Fundamental Duties, which cannot be enforced without statutory support, contain several of these provisions. According to Article 48 A, the State must work to preserve the nation's forests, wildlife as well as environment. Every Indian citizen has a responsibility to "guard and improves the natural environment, including forests, lakes, rivers, and animals, and to have compassion for living creatures," according to Article 51A(g).

The State and Concurrent List have also been given the following animal rights items. The State and Concurrent List have also been given the following animal rights items. State List Item 14 states that the States have the power to "preserve, maintain, and improve stock, prevent animal diseases, and enforce veterinary training and practise." There are laws on the Concurrent List that can be approved by both the Center and the States.

The phrase "prevention of animal cruelty," found in item 17, is used. Item 17B is titled "Protection of Wild Animals and Birds.”

The Indian Penal Code,1860 [2]

Animal-related offences are subject to legal sanctions under Indian Penal Code Sections 428 and 429. According to Section 428 of the Indian Penal Code, it is unlawful to kill or injure an animal worth 10 rupees or more. According to the law, whoever kills, maims, poisons, or renders an animal worthless for 10 rupees or more will be penalised with up to ten years in prison, a fine, or a combination of the two. While Section 429 of the Code deals with the same offence's punishment for animals valued at 50 rupees or more. The crime is penalised by any type of imprisonment for a time that may go as long as five years, a fine, or both.

Landmark Cases

State of Bihar v. Murad Ali Baig,(1989) [3]

The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 is involved in this case. It addressed the question of whether elephant hunting is permitted in accordance with the Indian Penal Code's guidelines and the essential requirements of the Wildlife Protection Act. Section 2(16) of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 defines the term "hunting." According to the Supreme Court, it is safe to presume that hunting elephants is forbidden because they are included in the range and list of creatures included in Schedule I.

Tilak Bahadur Rai v. State of Arunachal Pradesh, (1979) [4]

The defendant in this case shot and killed a tiger. The court ruled that it is crucial to comprehend the nature and risks that lurked around the accused, as well as the circumstances surrounding the animal's killing, in order to determine whether or not the accused killed the animal in good faith. After giving it careful thought, the Court concluded that the accused shot the tiger that charged at him in an effort to defend himself.

Tarun Bharat Sangh, Alwar v. Union of India, (1992) [5]

A social action group filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) under Article 32 of the Constitution in the Supreme Court, claiming that the Rajasthan State Government had issued several notifications designating the Sariska Tiger Park as a sanctuary. However, the petitioner claimed that there had been an increase in illegal mining activity in the area and that the State Government had issued licences for carrying out such mining activities. As a result of SC taking note of the circumstance, an order was issued directing that no more mining operations might be carried out inside the "protected" area.

Ivory Traders and Manufacturers Association v. Union of India, (1997) [6]

The petitioners, in this case, contested the ban that the government placed on them for possessing mammoth ivory and related items, as well as changes made to the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 that forbade the trade in imported ivory artefacts on the grounds that they violated their right to engage in any occupation, trade, or business as guaranteed by Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. The court ruled that a law of this nature could not be said to violate the rights protected by Article 19(1)(g) of the Indian Constitution.

Animal Welfare of India v. A Nagaraja and Ors. (2014), [7]

The Madras High Court examined the Jalikattu traditional sport, which is performed annually as part of a ceremony during the Pongal festival in the State of Tamil Nadu (and includes a series of bullfights). The legitimacy of the traditional sport was questioned. These strong bulls were let loose during this event, and the audience of competitors tried to hold onto the ferocious bulls. The numerous festival sponsors provided rewards for anyone who managed to battle the bulls and cross the finish line.

The state statute passed by the State of Tamil Nadu was ruled to be unconstitutional and irrational by the Supreme Court in 2014. It set forth recommendations declaring that "bulls" shall be included under the purview of the Prevention of Cruelty Act (PCA), 1960, and urged the Union Government to revise the PCA's provisions. In 2016, the Ministry of Environment and Forests again gave the Jallikattu event's organisers the go-ahead to conduct the traditional sport, defying the Supreme Court's decision in the process. The Animal Welfare Board and PETA India agreed to pay attention to the matter, nevertheless. The Jallikattu event is now extravagantly arranged, and the organisers are exorbitantly spending enormous sums of money, despite the ban issued by the Supreme Court of India, according to many petitions they filed with the Apex Court on January 14, 2016.

People for Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Union of India, (2004) [8]

The Bombay High Court received a writ petition from PETA protesting the Cinematography Act of 1952's censoring of the movie "Taj Mahal." PETA stands for people's ethical treatment of animals. Its major claim was that the producers of the movie "Taj Mahal" committed flagrant violations of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and the Performing Animals Registration Rules, 2001, while the movie was being filmed. The High Court found in favour of PETA and stated that the following requirements must be met for any film that seeks to employ or intends to utilise animals:

  • To receive a certificate outlining the many rules of the 2001 Performing Animals Registration Rules from the Animal Welfare Board of India.
  • The Welfare Board would determine whether the movie, which plans to use an animal throughout its filming, does not cruelly treat the animal.
  • The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001, are then closely examined by the Animal Welfare Board to determine whether the creators of the specific film are abiding by these laws.

Gauri Maulekhi v. Union of India, Writ Petition (PIL) No.77 of 2010

In this case, the issue of cattle and buffaloes being exported illegally from India to Nepal for a religious celebration is at hand. Every five years, Nepal celebrates the Gandhimi Festival, during which people traditionally sacrifice animals (such as buffaloes, rats, pigs, goats, and bats) in order to receive their wishes. The sacrifices made during this celebration are thought to be among the biggest ever.

An enormous number of animals were typically exported from India during this Gandhimi Festival. In the aforementioned case, the Supreme Court held that no non-human living thing may be subjected to needless pain or suffering for the purpose of gratifying human interests. The court further ruled that offering an animal as a sacrifice cannot under any circumstances be seen as a way to please the gods. The Court further ordered the Central Government of India to prevent any illicit cow and buffalo exports to Nepal. Moreover, to alter the import and export regulations.

Protection of Animal Rights in other countries

  • Animal welfare and animal conservation are two different things in the UK. The Animal Welfare Act of 2006 is the most recent piece of animal welfare legislation in both Wales and England. The Act also requires pet owners to fulfil their duty of care to their animals by providing for their basic necessities. This Act imposes severe penalties for animal cruelty and neglect, including a maximum 51-week prison sentence and fines of £20,000.
  • In Switzerland is a pioneer in improving the conditions under which animals are housed and worked. In order to support the protection of "the dignity of the creature," it became the first nation to recognise animals in its constitution. The Animal Welfare Act forbids actions that diminish an animal's dignity. Other measures adopted by this nation, which are deemed insufficient, include making it illegal to stop dogs from barking and requiring pet owners to attend classes to learn how to care for their animals.
  • The Animal Welfare Act (1999) and the Animal Welfare Strategy protect animals' rights (2013). According to the Acts, animals are sentient. This legislation places a strong emphasis on New Zealand's standing in the world and seeks to uphold progressive attitudes in terms of scientific and technological advancements pertaining to animal welfare.
  • One of the top nations for animal welfare is Austria. According to the Austrian Animal Welfare Act of 2004, the protection of animals should be accorded a value comparable to that of humanity. Except for while hunting or fishing, the Act forbids undue suffering, exposure to great fear, and harm to animals.


We can categorically claim that the condition of animals is very poor in our countries based on a review of the current scenario and regulations relating to animal cruelty. They experience a variety of assaults, including rape, torture, indignity, and other forms of indignity. Humans have the ability to speak up in such situations and seek restitution, whereas animals are not even capable of doing so. Additionally, the state of rules and regulations has significantly deteriorated if animal rights advocates in any way take their side into account. The penalties for incarceration and fines are insufficient. Animals are becoming the victims of atrocities and crimes, which highlights their precarious status in humanity.

We must recognise that they are a crucial component of our ecosystem and that, without them, human survival is likewise vulnerable. Therefore, we must join the cause of animals and demand stricter legislation to safeguard their rights. And as a result of our collective efforts, we will finally arrive at our destination, and the animals will eventually find peace and tranquillity here.


[1] Constitution of India, 1950, Available Here

[2] Indian Penal Code, 1860, Available Here

[3] State Of Bihar v. Murad Ali Khan, Farukh Salauddin & ... , 1 1988 SCR Supl. (3) 455

[4] Tilok Bahadur Rai v. State of Arunachal Pradesh, 1979 CriLJ 1404

[5] Tarun Bharat Sangh, Alwar v. Union of India And Others, 1993 SCC Supl. (3) 115

[6] Ivory Traders and Manufacturers Association v. Union of India, AIR 1997 DEL 267

[7] Animal Welfare Board Of India v. A. Nagaraja & Ors, Civil Appeal No. 5387 of 2014

[8] People For Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Union of India & Others, W.P(C) No. 23480/2005.

Important Links

Law Library: Notes and Study Material for LLB, LLM, Judiciary, and Entrance Exams

Law Aspirants: Ultimate Test Prep Destination

Updated On
Ananya Kukreti

Ananya Kukreti

Ananya is currently pursuing law from Amity University, Noida. She has a strong inclination towards policy research and business laws.

Next Story