Animals are essential in India’s ecological, cultural, and economic systems. However, they are mistreated and killed continuously. India has a comprehensive set of animal laws addressing the matters such as animal cruelty, hunting, breeding, and research to safeguard animals from abuse and exploitation. Despite the laws in the country, there is still an ongoing debate regarding the rights of animals, with both sides being the polar opposite.

The animals in India are protected mainly by legislation such as the prevention of cruelty to animals act of 1960[1] and the wildlife protection act of 1972[2]. These legislations put restrictions on hunting, breeding, and using animals for research, along with penalties for abuse and neglect. Nevertheless, despite these restrictions, there are still numerous cases each day of animal cruelty and unlawful hunting, even in the wildlife sanctuaries and zoos set aside in the populated cities of India.

Indian animal law application and enforcement have also generated debate, with some claiming that the laws are not strict enough and that implementation is inadequate. There are also issues with how animals are treated in zoos, circuses, and other types of confinement, as well as the usage of animals in customary rituals like bullfighting and buffalo racing.


  1. Using Animals For Scientific Research

Animal research has long been a contentious issue. On the one hand, animals are utilized in scientific research to learn more about the human body and to provide new medications and therapies for various diseases and disorders. However, many individuals feel that using animals for scientific research is harsh and barbaric and alternatives should be considered.

An argument in favour is that before being used in clinical trials on humans, new medications are examined for safety and efficacy in pharmacology and toxicology on animals. This way, scientists can learn more about how the human body functions, how to cure illnesses and ailments that impact millions of people, and precisely predict how a particular drug would react in the human body by using animals in research. A few examples of use of animals in scientific research has helped in saving millions of lives can be the isolation of insulin that revolutionized diabetes care, the other one being the leprosy vaccine that was developed from the armadillo, and finally, the research involving horses that developed serum therapy.

Another argument for using animals in scientific research is that alternative methods, such as in vitro and computer simulations, are often less reliable and less accurate than animal studies. Computer simulations, for instance, can only simulate what is previously known, but animal studies enable researchers to test novel ideas and hypotheses.   Furthermore, in vitro techniques, such as cell cultures, frequently fall short of accurately simulating the complex physiology of a living creature, resulting in erroneous results.

There are numerous arguments against using animals in scientific studies as well. The use of animals in scientific studies is sometimes criticized for being harsh and inhumane. Many individuals think that since animals are sentient beings that can feel pain and suffering, they should not be used as test subjects. Furthermore, study animals are frequently kept in cramped, tiny cages and subjected to invasive treatments that might cause distress and harm.  

The fact that substitute techniques are frequently more efficient and less expensive is another argument against employing animals in scientific research. For instance, computer models and in vitro techniques frequently yield more precise and trustworthy results than animal experiments. Additionally, compared to animal research, these alternatives may be less expensive, which can help conserve vital damage and disturb them.

Now, coming to the legal position of the issue, under the drug and cosmetics act of 1940[3], the use of animals for testing cosmetics is banned and is punishable; however, testing drugs on animals is allowed. Nevertheless, the animals still cannot be subjected to inhumane practices and cannot inflict any form of cruelty on animals. Therefore, the position of law in India is clear that using animals for testing drugs is legal, but for testing cosmetics, it is not legal.

  1. The Practice Of Animal Sacrifice

Animal sacrifice has a long history in India, and its roots may be seen in the early Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist religions. As a sacrifice to numerous deities, the practice included the ritual death of goats, buffaloes, and chickens. Even while animal sacrifice is still a common element of religious festivals and rituals in India, it has come under fire recently over worries about how it affects the environment and how animals are treated.

Arguments in favour of it are tradition. Animal sacrifice has been practised for centuries in many societies and is a significant part of their cultural legacy. The practice is profoundly embedded in the way of life of many people, who view it as a crucial component of their sense of religious and cultural identity.

There are several justifications for opposing animal sacrifice in India. The handling of animals is one of the primary issues. Numerous slaughtered animals get brutal treatment and are frequently exposed to inhumane conditions before and after the sacrifice. Furthermore, the practice is viewed as damaging to the environment since the enormous number of animals killed might result in pollution and waste.

The act that prevents unnecessary pain and cruelty in India is The Prevention of cruelty to animals act of 1960[4]. However, the law excludes animal sacrifice from the list of offences that can result in punishment for animal cruelty. The act states that Animal cruelty does not apply when an animal is sacrificed in a ceremonial way prescribed by a religion or a society.

In conclusion, India’s tradition of offering animals as sacrifices has its roots in long-ago religious and cultural beliefs. However, ethical questions have also been raised about the impact on the environment and the suffering of animals. Alternative approaches that are more compassionate and ecological while keeping the ritual’s religious and cultural significance include utilizing fruits, vegetables, and flowers or making symbolic sacrifices.

  1. Animal Birth Control Rules In India

Animals are essential to preserving the ecological harmony of the ecosystem. However, there are more stray animals now than ever, especially in India, due to urbanization and the growing human population. Several strategies, including birth control, have been used to control the population of stray animals to solve this problem.

In India, the use of birth control measures for animals is governed by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960[5]. The act lays down the guidelines for sterilization, vaccination, and other measures to be adopted for the population control of animals.

The Indian government has been making various efforts to reduce the number of stray animals. Dogs are one of the primary rabies carriers in India. Hence the Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001[6] were created to regulate dog sterilization and rabies immunization. The government also contributes financially to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other groups to immunize and sterilize stray animals.

Despite these steps, applying animal birth control laws in India is still tricky. Some of the most significant barriers to successfully applying animal birth control procedures include inadequate infrastructure and skilled workers, and opposition from some groups in society.

In conclusion, controlling the population of stray animals in India through birth control procedures is crucial in preserving the ecological balance and guaranteeing animal welfare. Humanitarian and essential action must be adopted, and the government must adequately carry it out. The future of both people and animals in India might be brighter with the correct planning and assistance.

  1. Feeding Of Stray Dogs

A recent controversy erupted over the clashing judgments of the Delhi high court and the Bombay high court, and a big question was raised about whether the citizens have the right to feed stray dogs. While hearing the 2006 PIL filed by Vijay Talewar, the Bombay high court stated that the citizens who want to feed the stray dogs should do so only after “formally adopting” them, and the people found causing nuisance would be held liable. However, the Delhi high court stated that according to the legislation, it is required to treat animals with kindness, love, and humanity, and it is everyone’s moral duty to protect them, including governmental and non-governmental organizations[7]. The supreme court at first stayed both orders, then upheld the order passed by the Delhi high court. So, it has been settled that feeding stray dogs is legal in India.


In conclusion, there has been a great deal of debate in India lately over animal regulations. These debates cover a wide range of topics, including how animals are handled in confinement, during transit, and when they are used for entertainment and study.

India has historically valued, and protected animals but has had difficulty properly enforcing its animal regulations. This is primarily because of a lack of funding, qualified staff, and general public ignorance of the problem.

The well-being of animals in India is being improved by various groups and individuals, which is vital to mention. Several effective campaigns and legal conflicts have also improved how animals are treated.

The Indian government must continue putting animal welfare first, uphold current regulations, and try to improve them. The public may be made aware of the value of animal welfare, resources and training can be provided to those responsible for enforcing the legislation, and specific concerns can be addressed by collaborating with animal welfare groups.

Additionally, there should be increased civic advocacy for animal welfare and effective legal enforcement on the side of the populace. We can only expect to build a more equitable and compassionate society in India by cooperating and adopting a comprehensive viewpoint.

Author(s) Name: Mayank (National Law University, Delhi)


[1] the prevention of cruelty to animals act, 1960

[2] the wildlife protection act, 1972

[3] drug and cosmetics act, 1940

[4] Ibid 1

[5] Ibid 1

[6] Animal Birth Control (Dogs) Rules, 2001

[7] 2021 SCC OnLine Del 3599

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