The gist of the act dictates that stray animals, which are not owned by any individual, must be treated with compassion
Strict penalties against cruelty to animals have been kept in the draft Animal Welfare Act 2019, which was approved by the Cabinet Division on Monday.
Presided by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office, the act was drafted on the basis of modernizing the Cruelty towards Animals Act 1920, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam told reporters after the meeting.
The gist of the act dictates that stray animals, which are not owned by any individual, must be treated with compassion.
Additionally, locking them for 24 hours without allowing any movement will now be considered as cruel and punishable actions (even jail sentences of up to six months).
The new act also states that animals meant to be slaughtered for consumption or to be used as sacrificial objects will not be considered cruel, deviating from the 1920 version of the act.
Shafiul further said that if any animal is sedated or euthanized on the basis of a veterinarian’s advice will not be considered acts of cruelty anymore.
Punishable offences include up to six months imprisonment and fines of up to Tk10,000, which was three months and Tk1,000 earlier.
The proposed act will be enforced by mobile courts, but will first need to be included in the Mobile Court Act 2009.