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Report No. 269

Chapter -IV

Review of Punishments in PCA Act

4.1 Animal welfare and food safety are intricately linked. The consumers across the globe are gradually becoming aware of the fact that how poultry and livestock are treated. Animal welfare can be assessed by examining two criteria, namely, design criteria and animal-based criteria. The design criteria describes the quality of the environment or the way in which animals kept. This includes battery cages, floor space, housing and stocking density etc. Animal-based criteria evaluate the behaviour and physiology of the animals, including health levels.37

4.2 These standards have been globally recognised and India too needs to adhere to these standards in the interest of animal welfare. Absence of regulations on housing and stocking density of poultry, ineffective implementation of the existing rules, and ignorance on the part of those involved in this profession towards recognised standards of housekeeping indicate that appropriate changes need to made in the law as well as implementation system.

4.3 Penalties for animal cruelty offences vary in each jurisdiction, but in most of the countries provisions provide for imprisonment and fines. Further, the penalties apply to both deliberate and negligent acts of animal cruelty.

4.4 In the United Kingdom, cruelty to animals is a criminal offence for which one may be imprisoned for up to 6 months. In France, cruelty to animals is punishable by imprisonment of two years and a financial penalty (30,000 €). In Bangladesh, the Animal Welfare Law, 2016 provides that anyone involved in the offences like killing an animal or injuring it intentionally will serve a sentence of imprisonment up to a period of two years or will be fined Taka 50,000 or both.

4.5 In Japan, Welfare and Management of Animals Act 1973 (amended in 1999 and 2005) stipulates that "no person shall kill, injure, or inflict cruelty to animals ...", and in particular, criminalises cruelty to all mammals, birds, and reptiles possessed by persons; as well as cattle, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, dogs, cats, pigeons, domestic rabbits, chickens, and domestic ducks regardless of whether they are in captivity.

  • Killing or injuring without due reason: up to one year's imprisonment with labour or a fine of up to one million yen;
  • Cruelty such as causing debilitation by discontinuing feeding or watering without due reason: a fine of up to five hundred thousand yen;
  • Abandonment: a fine of up to five hundred thousand yen;

4.6 The rules under the PCA Act 1960, largely suffers from weak penal provisions. While the penal provisions pertaining to fine in the Act may have been a sufficient deterrent in 1960, those provisions have lost their significance due to inflation. As monetary penalties under legislations of various jurisdictions change regularly, it is averred that the penal provisions in the said Act are required to be revised suitably. While keeping in view both the health and welfare of the people and the avoidance of pain and suffering of animals, punishment for all offences under the Act need to be appropriately revised.

Transportation and House-keeping of Egg-laying hens (layers) and Broiler Chickens Back

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