The purpose of this study is to examine animal protection laws concerning various types of animals, including farm animals, animals in captivity, companion animals, working animals and animals used for entertainment, animals used for scientific research, and wild animals. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1890 (hereinafter referred as to “the Act 1890”) in Pakistan provides a foundation for animal protection, recognizing that animals feel pain and suffering; however, sentence and the heavy penalty is not recognized explicitly in the legislation. The law also protects the animals from injury and suffering when used in fighting events but lacks implementation.
2. History of animal laws
The law was passed in 1890 and hasn’t been updated since 1937. The law was enacted during the Colonial period, and the lack of recent updates demonstrates that the Pakistani government has not explored this area extensively. Despite being a member of the OIE, which has animal welfare policy guidelines based on the premise that animals are living things, it appears that the government is reluctant to consider animal welfare as an important issue. However, Punjab is the only province in Pakistan where the Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is still active which was previously formed in Karachi in 1878 by a group of animal lovers. The city of Lahore has an office and shelter for society’s work on the premises of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences and the only school for vet doctors in Pakistan.
The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and its member society Bioresource Research Centre, Pakistan, (BRC) have worked together to end the cruel practice of bear-baiting. BRC also had a bear Sanctuary in Kund (near Peshawar) that was used to keep and provide shelter to rescued bears.
Various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and rescue teams collaborate to protect street and abused animals. One of them is the Pakistan Animal Welfare Society (Paws), which has actively contributed to animal protection and rights in Pakistan. It was founded in 2004 in response to the poisoning of stray dogs by the CDA in Karachi.
3. Laws of Pakistan relating to Animal Protection
Relevant laws are reproduced for ease of reference as hereinunder;
The Pakistan penal code, 1860 (PPC): Section 47 of the PPC defines an “Animal”: The word “animal” denotes any living creature other than a human being.
Section 289 of the PPC. Negligent conduct with respect to animal: Whoever, knowingly or negligently omits to take such order with any animal in his possession as is sufficient to guard against any probable danger to human life, or any probable danger of grievous hurt from such animal, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to 101[three thousand rupees] 101, or with both.
Section 377 of the PPC. Unnatural Offences. ––whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than two years nor more than ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. Explanation: Penetration is sufficient to constitute the carnal intercourse necessary to the offense described in this section.
Section 428 of the PPC. Mischief by killing or maiming animals of the value of ten rupees. ––whoever commits mischief by killing, poisoning, maiming, or rendering useless any animal of the value of ten rupees or upwards, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
Section 429 of the PPC. Mischief by killing or maiming cattle, etc., of any value or any animal of the value of fifty rupees.––Whoever commits mischief by killing, poisoning, maiming or rendering useless, any elephant, camel, horse, mule, buffalo, bull, cow or ox, whatever may be the value thereof, or any other animal of the value of fifty rupees or upwards, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both.
The prevention of cruelty to animal act 1890: It provides provisions that prevent cruelty and suffering against the animals within the territory of Pakistan.
The Pakistan Karachi cattle slaughter control act 1950: The Karachi Cattle Slaughter Control Act (1950) regulates the slaughter of cattle in the state of Karachi. Cattle are defined under the law as ‘oxen, buffaloes, goats, and sheep. The Act prohibits the slaughter of ‘useful’ animals which include pregnant animals and all oxen and buffalo between one and ten years who may be used for draught, breeding, or milk purposes. No animal is allowed to be slaughtered outside the slaughterhouse except on the day of Eid-al-Adha and the two succeeding days.
The Punjab animals slaughter control act of 1963: governs the slaughter of animals in the state of Punjab, except in the Tribal Areas. The Act applies to bulls, bullocks, buffalo, buffalo-bulls, camels, goats, ostriches, sheep, and any other animal of any age domesticated in captivity. The Act restricts the slaughter of ‘useful’ animals which include female animals (excluding sheep and goats) between one and ten years which may be used for draught purposes. Permission to slaughter these animals is required from a Veterinary Officer. Animals are also only allowed to be slaughtered in slaughterhouses except during Eid-al-Adha and the two succeeding days or in cases of illness, injury, or other cause where the animal is likely to die before it can be presented at the slaughterhouse.
The halal authority act (2015): The law provides that only Halal animals (those allowed under Islam) are allowed to be slaughtered. Animals are required to be alive at the time of slaughter; however, it is prohibited to cause torture to the animals during the slaughter process.
4. Judgments determining the protection of animals
A recent judgment of Lahore High Court provides that as per Article 4 of the Constitution every citizen has the inalienable right to be treated in accordance with law and no action detrimental to life, liberty, body, reputation, or property can be taken except in accordance with the law. Under Article 24 of the Constitution, no person is to be deprived of his property except in accordance with the law. Equality before the law and equal protection of the law is guaranteed to every citizen under Article 25. The question was raised if the Constitution is guaranteeing such wide protection to the citizens why not the same protection to the cattle and animals of the country?
However, in Islamabad High Court has held in a recent judgment that the animals have natural rights and are entitled to protection under the constitution of Pakistan. By nature, each species has its own natural habitat. It is unnatural for a lion to be kept in captivity in a restricted area. To separate an elephant from the herd and kept it in isolation is not what has been contemplated by nature. It is a right of each animal, a living being, to live in an environment that meets the latter’s behavioral, social and physiological needs.
5. Legal Analysis
Analysis of wildlife and zoo in Pakistan
In Pakistan Sections 3 to 5 of the Animals Act, 1890 apply to this category of animals. Wildlife, both wild and captive, is, however, considered the responsibility of provincial governments. Each province is required to have its own wildlife department. Under the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation, and Management Act (2014) cruelty to animals is defined as ‘an act towards and animal, which is against the natural instinct and behavior of the animals and has a negative effect on the health of an animal including overdriving, beating, mutilation, starvation, thirst, and overcrowding or otherwise ill-treatment to the animal.’ Under the Act, all wildlife – whether wild or captive-bred, tamed or untamed are considered the property of the state government.
Under the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation, and Management Act (2014), it is the responsibility of the Wildlife and Fisheries Department to establish and maintain wildlife/safari parks, wildlife farms, and zoos. The Wildlife Management Advisory Board is established by the Act, and its role includes advising the Government on wildlife protection and reviewing progress in this area.
However, there is no national policy or regulation governing zoos. Most provincial wildlife protection ordinances do not apply to zoos.
Private keeping of wild animals
In Pakistan, we can see that the elite has made it a status symbol to keep wild animals in their private homes. As seen on television, people have kept tigers, lions, and crocodiles in their private residences. The Northern Areas Wildlife Preservation Act (1975) provides that it is prohibited to keep as a pet or be in possession of wild animals without permission from the Chief Wildlife Warden for a recognized zoo or scientific purposes. To obtain a Game Capture License, an applicant must demonstrate that they have sufficient experience to capture and care for wild animals and that the captive animal is needed for a legitimate purpose.
Anyone in possession of a wild animal must have a valid Certificate of Lawful Possession issued by the State Government under the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation, and Management Act (2014). This includes those who operate wildlife farming operations.
Special consideration must be given to the welfare of zoo animals in the country. Meeting the physiological and ethological needs of animals kept in captivity is difficult, and the implementation of minimum standards in accordance with international recommendations would be beneficial.
The responsibility for all wild animals is delegated to provincial governments, which, while prohibiting the capture and keeping of some wildlife, have only intermittently included registration provisions for zoos and similar facilities. Given the age of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890), this leaves very few safeguards for captive wild animals. In a recent case, one of the animal rights activists brought this to the attention of the High Court of Sindh that monkeys in children’s parks are kept in small cages without water, food, and ventilation facilities. The government of Pakistan should pay special attention to the conditions of zoos and parks where animals are kept for the general public.
There is no policy or legislation regarding fur farming in Pakistan.
Protection for domestic and stray animals
Care for domestic animals
The current legislation does not address companion animals specifically, but it does include general protection provisions. The majority of the provisions are intended to protect the working relationship between man and animal. There is no specific policy or legislation governing the care of companion animals.
There is no specific policy or legislation regarding stray animals; however, reports indicate that the culling of stray dogs, particularly through inhumane means, is common in Pakistan. In an effort to control rabies in the country, some states have agreed to implement capture-neuter-release and mass vaccinations in line with international standards.
Rearing – broiler chickens
The is no national policy or legislation related specifically to the rearing of broiler chickens. Under the Punjab Poultry Production Rules (2017) poultry production facilities are required to register with the Government each year. Beyond requirements for egg storage rooms not to exceed 36 degrees Celsius, there are no animal welfare provisions in the Act.
Rearing – egg-laying chickens
There is no national policy or legislation related specifically to the rearing of egg-laying hens. Under the Punjab Poultry Production Rules (2017) poultry production facilities are required to register with the Government each year. Beyond requirements for egg storage rooms not to exceed 36 degrees Celsius, there are no animal welfare provisions in the Act.
Rearing – dairy cattle and calves
The is no national policy or legislation related specifically to the rearing of dairy cattle and calves. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890) specifically prohibits the practice of phooka or doom dev on cows.
There is no policy or legislation specifically related to the transport of farm animals.
Animals used for entertainment
It is illegal to incite any animal to fight or to bait another animal unless the fighting is unlikely to cause injury or suffering to such animals and all reasonable precautions are taken to avoid injury or suffering. Furthermore, we could see that wild animals such as monkeys and bears are used for public entertainment in Pakistan, and people pay for this abuse to the animals. Because wild animals are not actors or dancers, performing tricks is not something that comes naturally to them. It is also a form of abuse, and they must be protected.
Protection for animals used for research labs.
There is no policy or legislation specifically related to animals used for scientific research including bans or limitations on testing cosmetics and their ingredients on animals
6. The recent development on Animal rights and Analysis
The Animals Act of 1890 establishes a solid foundation for animal protection by acknowledging that animals experience pain and suffering. The law was recently amended in January 2018, increasing the fines and punishments to be meted out to offenders but without taking a holistic approach to animal welfare. This act, however, must be replaced by new legislation that recognizes animals as sentient beings with intrinsic values that require protection and care.
Furthermore, the government must develop a national policy on animal protection and welfare in consultation with farmers, transporters, professionals from the departments of agriculture, environment protection, and wildlife, as well as veterinary hospitals and universities, in order to identify, address, and integrate specific issues into cross-sectoral policies for health, environment, livestock management and animal husbandry, poverty reduction and livelihoods.
New institutional structures, such as an animal welfare advisory council, a scientific experiment oversight council, and an animal health standards authority, are required for effective policy and law implementation. A licensing system for pets, breeding farms, and aquatic animals is required, as are pounds and infirmaries, and animal transportation should be made comfortable.
Appointment of trained officers, including animal health inspectors, is required. The OIE could assist the government in collecting and disseminating best practices by providing expertise and capacity-building support. Being Member states have to ensure five basic freedoms for animals: freedom from hunger, thirst, and malnutrition, freedom from fear and distress, freedom from physical and thermal discomfort, freedom from pain, injury, and disease, and freedom to express normal patterns of behavior relevant to the animal’s own kind. Criteria for animal welfare are also laid down, including sufficient diet, water, comfort, space, hygiene, medical treatment, painless surgical procedures, and mental and emotional security.
Animal rights transcend ethical, social, cultural, and religious boundaries. Animal legislation must therefore be integrated into an ethical framework in order to not only reduce the proclivity for cruelty in violent and aggressive societies, but also to promote civilized society values such as kindness, care, and respect for animals.
• The Government of Pakistan is urged to enact a new law to replace the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890) in order to protect all animals in Pakistan and to align anti-cruelty measures with current animal welfare science.
• It is suggested that responsibility for improving animal welfare in the country be assigned to a specific Government Ministry at the national level, and that an Animal Welfare Committee comprised of members of animal welfare organizations be formed to advise the Government on various issues.
• It is recommended that an Animal Rights Authority be established in order to improve the enforcement and accountability mechanisms.
• To eradicate anti-cruelty practices by humans, the new law must include heavy penalties and severe punishments.
• The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)’s animal welfare standards need to be incorporated and law, policy, and regulations need to be updated against the animal protection laws in relation to various categories of animals, namely: farm animals, animals in captivity, companion animals, working animals and animals used for entertainment, animals used for scientific research and wild animals.
• Instead of poisoning, stray animals should be protected through capture-neuter-release and mass vaccinations.
• There is no provision that provides protection to companion animals, and there are no provisions for the control of the stray population.
• The Pakistani government is strongly encouraged to promote humane stray animal population management, which includes promoting responsible ownership, mass vaccinations, and reproduction control programs. Culling has been scientifically proven to be ineffective and, as such, should be prohibited.
• Strict penalties and enforcement action against people who keep caged birds, chained monkeys, and bears on the streets for public entertainment.
• Awareness session for prevention of cruelty to animals in schools, colleges, and universities.
• Banners across the cities avoid paying for entertainment animals and report to the enforcement agencies.
• The Government of Pakistan is urged to forbid the organization of and attendance to entertainment events causing animal suffering. Such a prohibition should cover circuses, rodeos, animal fights, animal races, rides on wild animals, and all other forms of entertainment. Notably, the Government is strongly encouraged to ban the use of all animals in circuses. Phasing out animals for entertainment purposes could start with a ban on the use of wild animals for such performances.
• The government and civil society should focus on animal welfare including the police about animal rights, encourage media exposure, and celebrate International Animal Rights Day, World Animal Day, and World Wildlife Day to create awareness. There are several NGOs working for animal protection in Pakistan that would be willing to implement any policies and programs on animal welfare.
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