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  • Vanshika Joshi


Vanshika Joshi,

Nmims, Kirit P. Mehta School of Law, Mumbai


The first Universal Declaration of Animal Rights, proclaimed in 1978, marked a groundbreaking moment in the field of animal welfare. This historic document, crafted by the International League of Animal Rights, was presented to a UNESCO committee to advocate for stronger animal protection legislation. This revolutionary declaration acknowledged that animals possess the same right to life as humans, fundamentally shifting our understanding of human-animal relationships. It mandated that human behaviour, including our treatment of animals, adhere to a set of moral standards. The declaration boldly stated: "All animals are entitled to human protection, thoughtful regard, and humane treatment." This proclamation, made during a UNESCO hearing in the 1970s and 1980s, sent shockwaves through the animal rights movement, causing a significant split. The declaration inspired two distinct movements, each with its vision and goals. The more traditional movement emphasized the importance of government intervention to safeguard animals, focusing on legislative measures and regulations. In contrast, the newer movement aimed to take the fight for animal rights to the courts, seeking legal recognition and animal protection. This declaration heightened awareness about animal rights and ignited a passionate debate about the best approach to achieving these goals. As a result, it laid the foundation for a more dynamic and multifaceted animal rights movement that continues to evolve and make strides today.

The Need for Animal Protection Rights-

The following factors fuel the growing need for animal protection rights:- Ethical Considerations: The moral need to treat animals properly is becoming more widely acknowledged across the globe. - Impact on Industry: Resolving cruel methods used in animal experimentation and factory farming has drawn the attention of various animal rights activists and guided them to use advocacy to push for stricter laws and enforcement. - Human-Animal Bond: Preventing abuse and mistreatment of companion animals.- Economic considerations: using conservation and wildlife tourism as financial inducements. Overexploiting the animals for economic profits. These elements demonstrate how urgently comprehensive worldwide animal protection laws are the need of the hour.

Countries around the world have taken various steps to combat animal abuse by actively indulging themselves in various binding conferences and by introducing various acts, rules, and laws for the benefit of the animals facing problems.

Universal Declaration of Animal Rights-

A few remarkable efforts taken by countries around the globe are-

- The UDAW, or Universal Declaration of Animal Welfare: Promoting animal welfare and acknowledging the sentience of all creatures is the goal of the worldwide UDAW effort. Despite not being legally binding, it has received support from numerous nations and groups, impacting animal welfare laws across the globe.

- Endangered Species Convention on International Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): First of all, CITES was created in 1975 to protect endangered animal and plant species by regulating international commerce. It offers over 35,000 species different levels of protection through a licensing system.

- The IWC, or International Whaling Commission: The IWC was established in 1946 with the goals of controlling whaling and guaranteeing the preservation of whale populations. It has put policies into place such as creating whale sanctuaries and prohibiting the commercial whaling of whales.

- The Convention for the Protection of Wild Animal Migratory Species (CMS): Created in 1979 to safeguard migratory species that cross national borders, CMS is often referred to as the Bonn Convention. It promotes global collaboration and has produced specialized accords for the preservation of particular migratory species.

- International Congress of Animal Ethics and Law: Under the theme of "Animal Rights, Welfare Laws, and Ethical Considerations," this conference brings together professionals to debate and progress the field of animal law and ethics. It has an impact on international legal and policy frameworks.

Some important Global Acts and Efforts introduced for the protection of animal rights and liberty are-

- United States Animal Welfare Act: The Animal Welfare Act (AWA), which was passed into law in 1966, is the main federal statute in the US that governs how animals are treated during research, exhibition, transportation, and by dealers. The USDA enforces it and provides guidelines for the humane treatment of animals.

- The Indian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act: The goal of this 1960-enacted law is to stop animals from enduring needless pain or suffering. As a result, the Animal Welfare Board of India was established, tasked with promoting animal welfare and carrying out the act's requirements.

- Pet animal protection in Europe: the European Convention: This convention, which was ratified by the Council of Europe in 1987, attempts to safeguard the minimal requirements for the care and housing of companion animals while also promoting their welfare. It addresses topics including caring, trading, and breeding.

- German Animal Welfare Act: One of the most extensive animal protection regulations in Europe is Germany's Animal Welfare Act, which was revised in 2006. It emphasizes the dignity and welfare of animals and contains stringent laws governing how they are treated in research, entertainment, and agriculture.

-  Australia's Animal Welfare Act: Australia's Animal Welfare Act delineates obligations for the care of animals and strives to guarantee that they are treated humanely, however, there are differences in each state and territory. It includes domestic animals, wildlife, and pets.

-  Amendment to the Brazilian Constitution on Environmental Protection: In 1988, Brazil changed its Constitution to include clauses protecting its natural resources, including plants and animals. Brazil is one of the few nations with constitutional provisions protecting animals since it places a special emphasis on avoiding animal cruelty.


Addressing Animal Protection Rights and raising awareness to end animal abuse requires the introduction of stricter norms and the implementation of efficient laws. Coordinated efforts through regional acts, national laws, and international conventions highlight a progressive trend toward the ethical treatment of animals. These regulations promote animal welfare in various contexts, including homes, agriculture, research, and entertainment, while also preventing cruelty. As society evolves, it remains crucial to expand and uphold animal protection rights. Governments must unite and adopt best practices to ensure animals are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. The ongoing advancements in animal welfare legislation reflect humanity's growing compassion and responsibility towards all living beings. To ensure a better future for animals, it is essential to strengthen our collective efforts and commitment. By embracing these principles, we can create a world where animals are not just protected but also celebrated for their intrinsic value and the important roles they play in our lives.


1. The Global Guide to Animal Protection by Andrew Linzey.

2. Global Perspectives on Animal Law by Taimie L. Bryant.

3. Explores different legal frameworks and their effectiveness in protecting animal rights globally.

4. Animal Welfare in International Law: The Challenge of Globalization by Peter J. Li.

5. An Introduction to Animals and the Law by Joan E. Schaffner.

6. United Nations Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.

7. World Animal Protection Organization Reports.

8. Annual reports and publications on the state of animal welfare globally.

9. The Animal Welfare Act, 2013.

10. Indian Penal Code, 1860. (Section 428 and 429).

11. Protection of animals: Important laws in India.

12. The constitutional schemes on animal rights by Taruni Kavuri.

13.  Animal Welfare Board of India.

14.  Anand Grover, The Legal Status of Animals in India, 2017.

15.  Wardah Beg, Animal Protection Laws in India.

16.  Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

17.  Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.


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