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Report No. 261

B. Representations received by the Commission

1.2.1 The Commission received a large number of representations on the issue from animal rights and animal welfare organisations from across the country. A summary of the information relating to pet shops, dog breeding and aquarium fish breeding based on information received through representations as well as news reports, is provided in the following paragraphs.

1.2.2 The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 ("WPA"), prohibits sale of certain animals1 in pet shops. However these sales are continuing.2 All kinds of animals can be found for sale in animal markets across the country, and they are kept in terribly inhumane conditions. Puppies are drugged to prevent them from crying, large birds are stuffed into small cages and fish become stressed and sometimes die because of confinement, crowding, contaminated water and unnatural temperatures.3

Other common harmful practices include de-beaking birds, docking the tails of dogs, selling unweaned pups, and de-clawing kittens.4 Animal breeding is also cruel. Many animals do not survive the trauma of being transported in small cages without adequate water or food, and estimates suggest that, overall, 40% of animals die in captivity or transportation.5 Moreover, even star tortoises and other protected animals are sold openly,6 and wild animals (including parakeets, munias and mynas) are caught and sold in complete violation of the WPA.7

1 Animals mentioned in Schedule I and II of the Wildlife (Protection) of the Act, 1972.

2 See Jose Louies, Taming the Wild: An Overview of Pet Trade in India, in WWF-INDIA, ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE IN INDIA 3 (2014), available at
http://awsassets.wwfindia.org/downloads/traffic_panda_8_oct.pdf;
HC Seeks Status of Rules on Regulating Sale of Animals, Birds, New Indian Express (Apr. 14, 2015),
http://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/hc-seeks-status-of-rules-on-regulating-sale-of-animals-birds-115041400770_1.html.

3 Animals Used for Entertainment, PETA
http://www.petaindia.com/issues/animals-in-entertainment/ (last visited Aug. 5, 2015).

4 Cruelty in Pet Shops: Plea to Law Panel for Rules, Times of India (July 3, 2015),
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Cruelty-in-pet-shops-Plea-to-law-panel-for-rules/articleshow/47918728.cms.

5 Cruelty in Pet Shops: Plea to Law Panel for Rules, Times of India (July 3, 2015),
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Cruelty-in-pet-shops-Plea-to-law-panel-for-rules/articleshow/47918728.cms.

6 Animals Used for Entertainment, PETA
http://www.petaindia.com/issues/animals-in-entertainment/ (last visited Aug. 5, 2015).

7 Cruelty in Pet Shops: Plea to Law Panel for Rules, Times of India (July 3, 2015),
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Cruelty-in-pet-shops-Plea-to-law-panel-for-rules/articleshow/47918728.cms.

1.2.3 It is estimated that for every bird sold in the market, two die en route. Fledglings are stolen from their nests and smuggled to market in cartons and tiny boxes, and some are even rolled up inside socks during transport to cities. Captive birds' wings are crudely clipped with scissors to prevent them from flying.

In Abdulkadar Mohamad Azam Sheikh v. Gujarat (2011), a similar issue was raised before the Gujarat High Court. See also Chief Forest Conservator (Wildlife) v. Nisar Khan, (2003) 4 S.C.C. 595; Sansar Chand v. Rajasthan, (2010) 10 S.C.C. 604. In these cases, the Court has looked at the illegal trade of wildlife. The birds are doomed to a lifetime in cramped cages in which they can hardly stretch their wings.

1.2.4 Despite the WPA, which bans the trade and trapping of all indigenous birds, and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora ("CITES"),9 which restricts the trade in foreign birds, a black market in birds thrives openly, involving many of the country's estimated 1,200 species.10 Laws designed to protect India's birds are well intentioned but rarely enforced.

In addition, there is a clandestine network of extremely well-organized persons, from pet-store owners to other dubious sellers, who use the internet to service their clients.11 'Wildlife pet lovers' spend exorbitant amounts to get such exotic pets, so much so that the global illegal pet trade industry is estimated to be worth millions of US dollars.12

9 The United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna And Flora (CITES) came into effect in order to protect rare and endangered species of wild fauna and flora against over-exploitation. The convention ensures that international trade does not pose a threat to the survival of species in the wild. The convention also provides strict regulation of exports of those species threatened by trade.

Even the keeping of a permissible bird must be in conformity with the provisions of Section 11 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, which stipulates that any person who keeps and confines any animal in any cage which does not measure sufficiently to permit the bird a reasonable opportunity of movement or does not provide the bird with sufficient food, drink and shelter shall be guilty of treating that bird cruelly.

10 Pallava Bagla, India's Black Market in Birds Threatening Rare Species, NAT'L GEOGRAPHIC (Oct. 2, 2002),
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/10/1002_021002_indiabirds.html.

11 See Jose Louies, Taming the Wild: An Overview of Pet Trade in India, in WWF-INDIA, ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE IN INDIA 3, 3 (2014).

12 See Jose Louies, Taming the Wild: An Overview of Pet Trade in India, in WWF-INDIA, ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE IN INDIA 3, 3 (2014).



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