Constitutional and Quasi-judicial Bodies (Part-8)

Animal Welfare Related Bodies

Animal Welfare Board of India

Animal Welfare Board of India, a statutory body, the first of its kind in the world, was established in 1962 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Acts, 1960, with its headquarters at Chennai.

The board consists of twenty eight members: a chairman; a vice-chairman; an inspector-general of forest; a commissioner, animal husbandry; a representative each of the union of home ministry and union human resource development ministry; four members of Lok Sabha; four members of Rajya Sabha; three humanitarians; and others.

The functions of the board are to

(i) keep the law in force in India for the prevention of cruelty to animals under constant study and to advise the government on the amendments to be undertaken in any such law from time to time;

(ii) advise the central government on the making of rules with a view to preventing unnecessary pain or suffering to animals generally, and more particularly when they are being transported from one place to another or when they are used as performing animals or when they are kept in captivity or confinement;

(iii) advise the government or any local authority or other person on improvements in the design of vehicles so as to lessen the burden on draught animals;

(iv) advise the government or any local authority or other person in the design of slaughter houses or the maintenance of slaughter houses or in connection with slaughter of animals so that unnecessary pain or suffering, whether physicrd or mental, is eliminated in the pre- slaughter stages as far as possible, and animals are killed, wherever necessary, in as humane a manner as possible;

(v) take all such steps to ensure that unwanted animals are destroyed by local authorities, whenever it is necessary to do so, either instantaneously or after being rendered insensible to pain or suffering;

(vi) encourage by the grant of financial assistance or otherwise, the formation or establishment of pinjarapoles, rescue homes, animals shelters, sanctuaries and the like, where animals and birds may find a shelter when they have become old and useless or when they need protection;

(vii) advise the government on matters relating to the medical care and attention which may be provided in animal hospitals, and to give financial and other assistance to animal hospitals whenever the board think it is necessary to do so;

(viii) impart education in relation to the humanetreatment of animals and to encourage the formation of public opinion against the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering to animals and for the promotion of animal welfare by means of lectures books, posters, cinematographic exhibitions and the like; and

(ix) advise the government on any matter connected with animal welfare or the Prevention of infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals.

Central Zoo Authority

In India, functioning of zoos is regulated by an autonomous statutory body called Central Zoo Authority constituted under the Wild Life (Protection) Act. The authority consists of a chairman, ten members and a member secretary. The main objective of the authority is to complement the national effort in conservation of wild life.

The authority’s role is more of a facilitator than a regulator. It, therefore, provides technical and financial assistance to such zoos which have the potential to attain the desired standard in animal management.

The functions of the authority are to—specify the minimum standards for housing, upkeep and veterinary care of the animals kept in a zoo; evaluate and assess the functioning of zoos with respect to the standards or the norms as may be prescribed; recognise or derecognise zoos; identify endangered species of wild animals for purposes of captive breeding and assigning responsibility in this regard to a zoo; co-ordinate the acquisition, exchange and loaning of animals for breeding purposes; ensure maintenance of stud books of endangered species of wild animals bred in captivity; identify priorities and themes with regard to display of captive animals in a zoo; co-ordinate training of zoo personnel in India and outside India; co-ordinate research in captive breeding and educational programmes for the purposes of zoos; provide technical and other assistance to zoos for their proper management and development on scientific; and perform such other functions as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of the act with regard to zoos.

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