Animals can breathe easy with Environment minister Jairam Ramesh coming up with a new draft law, which imposes a punishment of up to two years and a fine ranging between Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000 for being cruel to them.
Ramesh’s new initiative may also appease his detractors in BJP and right wing parties as certain activities believed to be cruel to cows like Phooka or Dhoom Dev will invite higher penalty of Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 and a jail term of up one year for first offence and Rs 75,000 to Rs one lakh and imprisonment up to two years for second and subsequent offices.
Introduction of air or any other substance into the female organ of a cow to draw more milk is called Phooka or doom dev.
For other forms of cruelty, a person can be fined for Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000 with a jail term of up to two years and for subsequent offences, a fine of Rs 50,000 to Rs one lakh with imprisonment between one to three years.
A person can be charged with cruelty to animal if found to be harassing animal in any form or employs an animal for labour without adequate rest and chains the animal for a long periods.
Failing to treat a sick animal or trying to abandon it or sell it is also an offence under the proposed law. Chaining an animal with heavy chain or putting hobbles around the legs is also an offence and continuous chaining would be an offence under the law. The way to carry animals in vehicle has also been defined and slaughter of animals at unregistered places has been listed as an offence.
The proposed law will replace Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, which has become ineffective because of meager penalties and no administrative mechanism to implement it has been there.
The ministry has suggested that the Animal Welfare Board at the national level will provide broad policy directions and State Animal Welfare Boards will implement the provisions of the proposed law. Every slaughterhouse will have to be registered with the state board.