Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act


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Animals, just like humans, have the aptitude of comprehending physical and mental pain. Therefore, they’ll understand the severity of any physical or mental harm that’s inflicted on them. This earth belongs to them also in the same way it belongs to us. Thus, it’s imperative that other living creatures are allowed to live and thrive a bit like us.

With this view, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 was passed; claim to punish the persons indulging in cruelty against the animals.


  • This act provides for punishment for causing cruelty and suffering to animals.
  • This Act defines animals and different styles of animals.
  • This Act gives the provisions for the establishment of an animal welfare board, its constitution, powers, and functions.
  • This act discusses different kinds of cruelty, exceptions, and killing of a suffering animal just in case any cruelty has been committed against it, so on relieve it from further suffering.
  • This act provides the rules referring to experimentation on animals for scientific purposes.
  • This act also gives the provisions regarding to the unnecessary exhibition of the animals, and offences committed against the performing animals.
  • This Act provides for the limitation period of three months beyond which no prosecution shall lie for any offences under this Act.



According to Section 2(a) of this Act; animal refers to any living creature excluding a personality’s being. Therefore, this definition is comprehensive and exhaustive. Under this definition of animals, it doesn’t solely refers to mammals, but also includes birds, reptiles, etc.

Domestic Animal

This enactment also speaks about farm animals. Accordance with Section 2(d) of this Act; any trained or sufficiently domesticated animal purporting to serve some useful purpose of man is taken into account as an animal. Also, it includes partly or wholly domesticated although it is or has not been intended to be domesticated.

Captive Animal

According to Section 2(c) of this Act; any animal (except a domestic animal), which is under any confinement, either temporary or permanent, or is subjected to any appliance or machine preventing its break loose such captivity or confinement, or which is pinioned or incorporates a maimed appearance.

Thus this provision has the subsequent essentials for deeming an animal as a captive animal:

  • Such animal shouldn’t be a domestic animal;
  • Such captivity or confinement can be either temporary or permanent in nature;
  • For preventing or restricting the animal to flee from captivity/confinement, it’s been subjected to any style of appliance or contrivance; or
  • Such an animal has been pinned down by someone or something or has been deliberately injured for preventing its shake the captivity/confinement.


According to Sec. 4 of the PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ACT, Central Govt. may establish a board for the welfare of the animals and saving them from unnecessary pain or sufferings. This board shall be considered as an incorporated body having a common seal and authority to acquire, hold and dispose of property and to sue and to be sued in the name of the board just like any other incorporated body.

The functions of this welfare board are[i]:

  • Advice central govt. regarding the amendments,
  • Advice central govt. regarding rules and regulation to prevent unnecessary pain while transporting, performing experiments and captivity.
  • Take steps for amelioration of animals by shed, water etc. along with veterinary assistance.
  • Encourage financial assistance, formation of rescue home and animal shelters for old animals.
  • To advice govt. regarding the medical care provided in animal specialized hospitals.
  • Impart education relating to human treatment to animals by various means.


Acts which are considered to be cruel in nature according to the PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ACT, prescribed in Sec. 11 are:

  • Beating, torturing and drive over, loads over such animal causing pain or suffering to animal, or being the owner permitting such acts for employment.
  • Employing any animal in a work or labour which will be dangerous for the animal because of his health condition.
  • Causing willful or unreasonable administration of drug to any domestic or captive animal or attempts to inflict an intake of any such drug or substance by any domestic or captive animal.
  • Being the owner of the animal, failed to provide adequate food, shelter and medical facilities to the animal.
  • Abandoning the animal, which may cause pain or suffering due to starvation or thirst.
  •  Mutilation of any animal without any cause or killing any animal with unnecessary cruelty.
  • Confining any animal in a cage inconsistent with the height, length and breadth of size and need of the animal, causing pain and trouble in movement of such animal.
  • Promoting any shooting match or competition of the captive animals and any animal fighting competition or using animal as bait.


According to Sec. 15, Central govt. may constitute a committee for controlling and supervising experiments on animals, with the advice of the animal welfare board. This Act permits the experimentation on animals for the following purposes:

  1. Advancement through the new discovery of physiological knowledge; or
  2. Knowledge which will be useful for decreasing the mortality rate; or
  3. Suffering alleviation; or
  4. for combating any disease.


This was a brief overview of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. The act was made decades ago but still fulfills the needs and requirements of present circumstances. During this corona pandemic, India faces two shocking incidents relating to the animal cruelty i.e. killing of a pregnant elephant in Kerala and pregnant cow in Himachal Pradesh. These two animals become the victims of human negligence and cruelty. By watching these incidents we think that we need strict provisions and high gravity punishments for the offenders to provide justice to the animal being the victim of the cruelty and giving animals a healthy and safe life.

[i] Section 9


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