Animal Welfare Laws Around the World


This post has been written by Ananya Dutta , a first-year law student of Institute of Law, Nirma University.

The recent news of the death of a pregnant elephant in Kerela’s Palakkad district after being fed a fruit filled with explosives is an accurate specimen of, just how cruel humans can be towards other creatures. It has been hard to watch and there has been widespread outrage on such cruel treatment of animals and although there are laws for animal welfare in India and the same are being used to punish the culprits for their misdoings; it is vital that we take this scenario as an opportunity to learn more about animal rights and laws regarding the same around the world ,in some of the countries which have the strictest legislation for animal welfare and what India can learn from them.

Austria –

Austria has been hailed as one of the best countries when it comes to animal welfare by the the Animal Protection Index, designed by World Animal Protection. Among 50 other nations around the world regarding their commitment towards animal protection and welfare.  The Austrian Animal Welfare Act 2004 mandates that the protection of the safety of animals ought to be held as a value equivalent to humankind. This act prohibits any kind of unnecessary suffering of animals, causing any unjustified pain and injury to animals with the exemption of occasional hunting and fishing. The act also applies to the farm animals with regulations specifically aimed at protecting them. The 2004 act also prohibits the use of wild animals in circuses and also bans fur farming. The country also subsequently prohibited the use of several animals like -orangutans, chimpanzees, and gorillas for experimentation purposes. Violators are penalized  to fines of $2,420, and in cases of severe cruelty they could be fined up to $18,160 and have their animals seized by the authorities.

United Kingdom-

Animal welfare and animal conservation are two different things in the United Kingdom . The primary animal welfare legislation in both Wales and England is the Animal Welfare Act of 2006. This act has introduced significant penalties for both cruelty and negligence which could also include a lifetime ban from pet ownership, a maximum of 51-week jail term, and fines amounting up to £20,000. This act also mandates the duty of care towards pets by their owners to provide them their necessary basic needs.


Switzerland is a fitting role model , India and other nations can learn a great deal about improving the living as well as the  working conditions of animals . It is regarded as the first country to constitutionally recognize animals, with a provision warranting the protection of ‘the dignity of the creature’. Activities that are considered to be  degrading to the dignity of animals are forbidden  by law. The Swiss government is also one of the very few ; if not the only nation which recognises some animals as social animals and hence ,mandates them to be kept in pairs. Various other ; often considered insignificant provisions like – Illegalizing the stopping a dog from barking and ordering the pet owners  to attend classes to learn to take care of their pets have also been undertaken by this country.

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New Zealand-

The animals rights in New Zealand are protected under the Animal Welfare Act of 1999 and the Animal Welfare Strategy of 2013. These acts lay emphasis on New Zealand’s position as a global leader in animal welfare and It has a progressive outlook when it comes to scientific and technological advances in regards to animal welfare .The 1999 act states that animals are sentient and this was also drafted into the 2013 legislation.


Denmark has a fairly strong stance on animal rights and welfare .The Denmark Animal Welfare Act of 2013 prohibits any kind of direct negligence and abuse and thus mandates the  animal keepers to provide basic needs to their animals, It also recently banned live slaughtering of animals and has special provisions for farm animals.


Sweden, penalizes any cruelty to animals due to negligence or with intent  according to its penal code. Such protections apply to all animals ; wild and domestic. The country’s Welfare Act 1988 also provides that animals are to be protected from diseases, unnecessary suffering and  are to be treated well. The act also  includes other basic requirements like sufficient space, food, care, and water. It  also has provisions to make sure that animals are sedated before being slaughtered .

India , has its own set of Animal laws in the form of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Despite that recent instances of the death of the pregnant elephant in Kerela , a pregnant cow being fed explosives in the form of eatables in Himachal Pradesh , the inhumane slaughter houses for cows ; show that it needs to take much needed steps towards not only reforming the legislations but also in making sure they are strictly implemented.


India Today Web Desk , March 22nd ,2017, (6 rights every animal lover from India should know )

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