Animal Law in Pakistan

July 8, 2021Zihao Yu


Pakistan is a country in South Asia, which is the 33rd-largest country by area with the fifth largest population in the world. The country has the world's second-largest Muslim population. In total, 174 mammals, 668 bird species, 177 reptiles, 22 amphibians, 198 freshwater fish species and 5,000 species of invertebrates (including insects) have been recorded in Pakistan.


The flora and fauna there suffer from a number of problems because the rate of deforestation in Pakistan is the second-highest in the world. Hunting and pollution issues make the ecosystem in Pakistan in a worse condition. The government has tried to protect the ecosystem by setting up protected areas, wildlife sanctuaries, and game reserves. But the concept of animal welfare is hard to find in the laws. Pakistan is ranked as E according to the Animal Protection Index by World Animal Protection. This article collates the current laws related to animals in Pakistan.


General animal welfare and anti-cruelty law

In Pakistan, the major source for animal welfare law is the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890). This Act was modified in 1937. This law was adopted from British law. In this Act, animals are defined as “any domestic or captured animal,” and provides the basis for the protection for all animals in Pakistan. Article 3 of the Act acknowledges that animals can feel pain and suffering. The Act prohibits cruel behavior in Article 3 to Article 5. These articles prohibit physical forms of abuse (beating, overdriving, mutilation, blinding, killing in an unnecessarily cruel manner) and negligence (starvation, thirst, overcrowding). However, “[t]his legislation is a remnant of British rule, and the lack of recent updating demonstrates a lack of attention to animal welfare in the country.”

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"Rose-ringed Parakeet" by Shawn McCready is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Farmed animals

The anti-cruelty provisions in Sections 3 to 5 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890) apply to animals used in Agriculture. Outside the general animal protection law, there is little legislation on farmed animal welfare.


Laying hens and broiler chickens are covered by the Punjab Poultry Production Act (2016) and the Punjab Poultry Production Rules (2017). In this Act, “poultry” includes the species such as chicken, turkey, quail, pheasant, duck, pigeon, peafowl, ostrich, or any other bird as the Government may, by notification, specify. This Act sets the requirements for the establishment of poultry farms, biosecurity, fencing and poultry waste, and poultry disease. The terms “animal welfare” or “slaughter” are not included in this Act.


Slaughter is regulated by Karachi Cattle Slaughter Control Act (1950) and Punjab Animals Slaughter Control Act (1963). The Karachi Cattle Slaughter Control Act is designed to prohibit the slaughter of useful cattle and to regulate the slaughter of other cattle. Cattle means “oxen, buffaloes, goats and sheep (both thin and fat tail varieties) of either sex and of any age, dry or otherwise”, and "slaughter" means killing cattle by any means. The Act requires that “no person shall slaughter cattle except in a slaughterhouse” and “no person shall slaughter any useful cattle.”


Punjab Animals Slaughter Control Act (1963) was amended in 2016. The basic purpose of this act is to prohibit the slaughter of certain animals and regulate the slaughter of all other animals. In this Act, “animal” means a bull, bullock, buffalo, buffalo-bull, camel, cow, goat, ostrich, sheep, or any other halal animal of any age domesticated in captivity, and “slaughter” means to kill animals by any means. The Act defines the term “useful animal” and a person shall not slaughter a useful animal. (Article 3.1) The slaughter of other animals shall follow the rules of Article 3.2


Annex A of the Halal Authority Act (2015) provides parameters for the electrical stunning of animals by species.

"Markhor" by Rennett Stowe is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Wild animals

Regulations on wildlife in Pakistan are the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) Act (2014) and Northern Areas Wildlife Preservation Act (1975).


The Azad Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) Act, 2014 applies to the whole of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir. In this Act, “animal” means vertebrates and invertebrates, and includes fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish in the wild and mammals and their young, and also includes, in the cases of reptiles and birds, their eggs and nests, but shall not include livestock, poultry, and pets. Chapter III regulates the hunting of wildlife. “The wild animals specified in the First Schedule shall be known as Game Animals and those specified in the Third Schedule as protected animals. These animals shall not be hunted, killed or captured except as provided in the Act.” Hunting is restricted under this Act and it is required to have game shooting licenses or game capture licenses. Killing or shooting without licenses, shooting, or capturing in the close season is prohibited. Wildlife animals are recognized as the property of the government. Cruelty to wildlife is regulated in Article 26 to follow the rules of the Prevention of Pakistan Cruelty to Animals Act, 1890.


Northern Areas Wildlife Protection Act, 1975 applies to the whole of the Northern Areas. “Animal” means any vertebrate creature other than human beings, an animal of usually domesticated species or fish, and includes the eggs of birds and reptiles in this Act. This Act requires the restriction of entry into a National Park and restricts acts in a National Park. “No person shall hunt, kill or capture, or be found in circumstances showing that it is his intention to hunt, kill or capture any animal in Wildlife Reserve or Wildlife Sanctuary.” Hunting is restricted under this Act and it is required to have game shooting licenses or game capture licenses.


Read more on the assessment of Animal Law in Pakistan.

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