Cruelty to Animals Act, 1920
This Act was enacted in 1920 and is the major legal source to regulate animal protection and cruelty to them. Animal in the Act as “any domestic or captured animal,” which, at first glance, may seem too broad, shall apply to all categories of animals that are subject to human exploitation. According to the definition, any domestic animal, farmed animals, and wildlife animals that are kept in captivity would fall within the scope of the definition.
Further, the Act proclaims that any person who
“(a) overdrives, cruelty or unnecessarily beats, or otherwise ill-treats any animal, or
(b) binds, keeps, or carries any animal in such a manner or position as to subject the animal to unnecessary pain or suffering, or
(c) offers, exposes, or has in his possession for sale any live animal which is suffering pain by reason of mutilation, starvation, thirst, overcrowding or other ill-treatment, or any dead animal which he has reason to believe to have been killed in an unnecessarily cruel manner”
shall be punished by a fine for up to BDT 100 (~ USD 1.17) or with imprisonment for up to 3 months, or both. (Section 4)
Given the widespreadness of cruelty to animals in many parts of the world and especially in those countries where people are not educated on why there is an urgent need to protect animals, the amount of fine is ridiculously small. Thus, the provisions of the Act may not be effective as it would not stop other potential inflictors to commit a cruel act towards animals.
Overloading animals is also prohibited by the Act and is punished with the same fine as an act of cruelty, which is up to BDT 100 (~ USD 1.17), or with imprisonment for up to 3 months, or both. Notably, allowing such activity by the owner of an animal, a trader, a carrier, a contractor, or who, by virtue of their employment is in possession of an animal or in control over the loading, is punished with a small fine of up to BDT 100 (~ USD 1.17). (Section 5)
Phooka, otherwise known as cow blowing, is not allowed in Bangladesh. This is a process used in many countries, in which forceful blowing of air into a cow's vagina, sometimes anus, is done to induce a cow to produce more milk. Section 6 of the Act provides that if any person does phooka upon any cow or other milch animal, the person “shall be deemed to have committed a cognizable offense” and should be punished with a fine of up to BDT 500 (~ USD 5.83), or with imprisonment for up to 2 years, or both, and “the owner of the cow or other milch animal and any person in possession of or control over it shall be liable to the same punishment and the cow or the milch animal on which the operation of phooka was performed shall be forfeited to Government.” A repeated crime is punished with both a fine and imprisonment.
Unnecessary cruelty is also prohibited, according to the Act, and penalized with a fine for up to BDT 200 (~ USD 2.33), or imprisonment for up to 6 months, or both. Section 7 provides that a person shall not kill an animal in an unnecessarily cruel manner. However, this Section has an exception in terms of religious practices, bona fide scientific purposes, or the preparation of any medicinal drugs.
Baiting or inciting animals to fight is regulated within the Act and is not allowed. According to Section 11, if any person “incites any animal to fight, or baits any animal, or aids or abets anyone in such incitement or baiting,” the person should be penalized with a fine for up to BDT 50 (~ USD 0.58).