Explainer: What is PCA Act and why is it trending on Twitter

Explainer: What is PCA Act and why is it trending on Twitter

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act dates back to 1960.

On Saturday, Twitter was abuzz with tweets about PCA Act, with numerous netizens from the Indian subcontinent tweeting with the hashtag #NoMore50.

With more than 9,100 tweets the keywords PCA Act remained on the trending list. Reportedly this Twitter storm was generated by animal activists of India with a singular motive.

The social media storm was pushing for an amendment to the decades-old Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in the upcoming monsoon session of parliament.

Among the Indian celebrities who offered their support to this cause were John Abraham, Kiara Advani, Jacqueline Fernandes and Disha Patani.

PCA Act

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act dates back to 1960. The law which commenced in the year 1974 stipulates punishment and/or fine for a multitude of animal cruelties, but animal activists describe the punishments as ‘meagre’ at best. According to this draconian law, the highest fine for a first-time offender is limited to merely fifty rupees.

In an effort to condemn heinous cruelty to animals, animal activists using #NoMore50 seek the amendment of this law.

Almost all of the Nine thousand tweets were addressed to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding stronger penalties for animal cruelty.

In February of this year, the Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying had proposed some amendments to the sixty-year-old law.

However, despite the proposal's introduction, no action was taken during that session of the legislature. Therefore, in order to push for the passage of these amendments, animal activists are mobilising just before another session of parliament starts.

Past Amendments

To date, no amendments have been made to the law.

According to a previous statement by Chinny Krishna, former Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) vice-chairman, in the year 2011, a draft Animal Welfare bill was framed by AWBI and submitted to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (now, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change).

However, no action was taken by the government.

What are the proposed Changes?

Previously, the penalty for any untoward act of cruelty attracted fines ranging from Rs 10 up to Rs 50. This includes beating, kicking, torturing, starving, overloading, overriding, and mutilations done to an animal.

Replacing that, as per the proposed draft, if an act of an individual or an organization causes an animal to die, they could face a penalty of up to 75,000 rupees or triple the cost of the animal.

Why is it needed?

India has witnessed many horrendous cases of animal abuse in the past few years.

Explainer: What is PCA Act and why is it trending on Twitter
Street dogs have right to food, it is citizens' moral responsibility to protect animals: Delhi HC

Internet is full of cases of animal cruelty ranging from killing and mutilating animals on social media platforms for likes and views to targeting animals for revenge over petty fights between humans.

The most egregious and heartbreaking case of animal cruelty is from Kerela, where a pregnant elephant was fed firecrackers in a pineapple, which exploded in her mouth, killing her as well as the baby inside.

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