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  • Sharon St. Joan
    Posted on the Best Friends Network. To read the original, with photos and comments, please go to http://network.bestfriends.org/golocal/india/16830/news.aspx
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 9, 2011
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      Posted on the Best Friends Network. To read the original, with photos and
      comments, please go to

      March 08, 2011, 3:0PM MT
      By Sharon St. Joan, Best Friends Network
      Fifty years after India passed one of the world's first animal protection
      laws, a new proposed law -- the Animal Welfare Act, 2011-- lays out strong
      penalties for those who mistreat animals. Your comments are needed.

      The new Animal Welfare Act ­ 2011, being proposed by India¹s Ministry of the
      Environment and Forests, Mr. Jairam Ramesh, is poised to replace the
      Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act - 1960.

      It will impose stiffer penalties, and the new Act will be easier to enforce,
      with more precise definitions of what constitutes animal abuse. This will
      mean less room for guesswork on the part of law enforcement.

      Working oxen and donkeys

      Overloading a bullock (or ox) cart will now be punishable, as will using
      force to get an animal to work.

      In a country where much work is still done by working animals, especially
      oxen and donkeys, stricter regulation of their working conditions has the
      potential for greatly alleviating the animals¹ suffering. The Donkey
      Sanctuary estimates that there are nearly two million working donkeys in
      India. They carry vegetables to market and bricks for building.

      The new Act specifies that working animals must be provided adequate rest,
      food, and water. Neglecting animals or keeping them chained may lead to
      jail time.

      The new law states that a person in charge of an animal is responsible for
      seeing that the animal does not suffer, and notes the generally-accepted
      five freedoms for an animal: freedom from thirst and hunger; freedom from
      discomfort, including access to shelter and a place to rest; freedom from
      pain, injury, and sickness, including prompt veterinary care; freedom to
      express normal behavior for that species, including adequate space for
      natural movement and the company of the animal¹s own kind; freedom from fear
      and distress, meaning that good treatment is required.

      Stricter penalties

      The new Act will prohibit transport of animals in vehicles that cause
      injury; pick-up trucks overloaded with goats or cows can often be seen on
      Indian roads. It will also prohibit the hobbling of legs or tethering on a
      short chain, or the habitual chaining of any animal. Declawing, defanging,
      tail-docking and branding are also prohibited. Any form of animal fighting
      is prohibited. Dynamiting or electrifying streams or lakes is forbidden.
      Practices designed to improve milk production that are harmful to cows are
      punishable by a large fine or from two to four years in prison. Breeding and
      selling of animals will be regulated by the Animal Welfare Board of India,
      the national Board which is charged with protecting all Indian animals.

      Section V of the draft covers Animal Experimentation, and Section VI covers
      Performing Animals. Both these sections include much stricter regulations
      to alleviate the suffering of animals, and they define penalties for

      The powers of the Animal Welfare Board of India will be expanded to include
      state Boards, as well as the already-existing national Board.

      In 1960, India was among the first countries in the world to pass a national
      Act for the protection of animals. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act
      - 1960, however, lacked strong and effective penalties. This lack is
      remedied in the new Act being put forward, which will much more easily lend
      itself to enforcement and will more readily ensure that animals in India are
      protected from suffering and ill-treatment.

      Your comments are needed

      No matter what country you live in, please send a comment to
      animalwelfareact2011@... by March 20, 2011.

      In your comment, please mention the country where you live and thank the
      Minister of the Environment and Forests, Mr. Jairam Ramesh, for his support
      of animal welfare and for introducing this important Act that will offer
      stricter penalties for the protection of animals and that will go a long way
      towards reducing the suffering of animals.

      To read the proposed law, The Animal Welfare Act, 2011, click here.

      Top photo: Intst / Dreamstime.com / Indian dogs playing on Palolem Beach,
      Second photo: Davidgerry / Dreamstime.com / A cow in Jaipur
      Third photo: Stephan Scherhag / Dreamstime.com / A monkey overlooking a
      Fourth photo: Surz01 / Dreamstime.com / A green beeeater

      Sharon St Joan
      International Consultant
      International Editor
      Best Friends Network
      Best Friends Animal Society

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