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Report No. 261

Chapter II

Legal Framework Governing Pet Shops, Dog Breeding and Aquarium Fish Breeding in India

2.1 The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had published draft pet shop rules prepared by Animal Welfare Board of India13 in 2010. According to the Preamble to the Draft Pet Shop Rules, 2010, as available on the website of MoEF (a slightly different version of which is also available on the website of AWBI14):

"[L]ive animals are often showcased, exhibited and traded like commodities in pet shops or other shops selling animals alive. The ways in which many animals and birds are handled or managed are not always ideal. Many pet shops are established next to butcher shops where, carcasses of slaughtered animals/ birds are hung for sale in full vision of the live animals waiting to be sold. Cages are often crammed with animals or birds and exhibited out side the shops along with hoardings or in front of shops in open sun light.

There is presently no deterrent law specific to ensure humane handling and comfort to animals in pet shops. The power to close shops lies with local bodies who grant permission to open shops (license). These rules are made to ensure that live animals sold as pets or as commodity, receive proper care and stress free humane treatment so long as they are in the possession of shop keepers."15

13 Section 9 of the Prevention of Cruelty against Animals Act, 1960 states that the functions of the Board shall be to advise the Central Government on the making of rules under this Act with a view to preventing unnecessary pain or suffering to animals generally, and more particularly when they are being transported from one place to another or when they are used as performing animals or when they are kept in captivity or confinement. Section 10 states that the Board may, subject to the previous approval of the Central Government, make such regulations as it may think fit for the administration of its affairs and for carrying out its functions.

14 Animal Welfare Board of India, Draft Pet Shop Rules, 2010, available at
http://www.awbi.org/awbi-pdf/draftpetshoprules.pdf.

15 Ministry of Environment and Forests, Draft Pet Shop Rules 2010, available at
http://www.moef.nic.in/downloads/public-information/Pet%20Shop%20Rules%202010.pdf
(last accessed on August 12, 2015, 3.30 pm)

2.2 These rules, once notified, would be enforced in all pet shops in India. Similarly, the rules relating to dog breeding and aquarium fish breeding would be enforced on respective breeders. However, the Ministry of Law and Justice found that Centre did not have the authority to enact these rules under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

2.3 As a result of the same, the following legal questions have been raised:

1. Has Parliament delegated power to the Central Government under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 to frame rules to regulate pet shops, dog breeding and aquarium fish breeding, and other wildlife not governed by the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972?

2. How has the rule making power of the Centre been construed by the courts?



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