This country's score has improved since 2014.
Recognition of animal sentience and prohibition of animal suffering
This goal assesses whether animal sentience has been recognised in legislation and explores the core legislative protections granted to animals, such as the prohibition of animal cruelty.
Animal Sentience is formally recognised in legislation
Sentience is not recognised explicitly in Pakistani legislation, but there is acknowledgement that animals can feel pain and suffering in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890). This refers to domestic or captured animals (section 2). The Act also requires animals to be protected from injury and suffering when used in fighting events.The reference to the ability of animals to suffer shows some recognition of elements of animal sentience.
The acknowledgement that animals feel pain and can suffer shows some recognition of element of animal sentience. However, it is noted that the legislation was introduced in 1890 and has not been updated since 1937. This legislation is a remnant of British rule, and the lack of recent updating demonstrates a lack of attention to animal welfare in the country.The Government is yet to incorporate current practical experience and scientific knowledge regarding animal sentience into the country’s legislation. The Government does not appear to consider animal welfare as an important issue, despite Pakistan being a member of the OIE, which has guiding principles on animal welfare that are based on the premise that animals are sentient beings.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890) lists a series of conducts that are punishable by imprisonment and fines.
• Given the extensive body of scientific evidence proving that animals are sentient, the Government of Pakistan is urged to recognise that all animals for whom there is scientific evidence – at a minimum, all vertebrates, cephalopods and decapods crustaceans – are sentient beings and to enshrine this principle into legislation. Recognising animals as sentient will underpin further animal welfare considerations.
Laws against causing animal suffering
Sections 3 to 5 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890) prohibit physical forms of abuse (beating, overdriving, mutilation, blinding, killing in an unnecessarily cruel manner) and negligence (starvation, thirst, overcrowding).Although there is also a prohibition on baiting or inciting animals to fight, there is an exception for inciting animals to fight if such fighting is not likely to cause injury or suffering to the animals and reasonable precautions are taken to prevent injury.These provisions apply to domestic and captured animals, and therefore free-living wild animals are not covered by this protection.Under the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management Act (2014) cruelty to animals is defined as ‘an act towards and animal, which is against the natural instinct and behaviour of the animals and has a negative effect on the health of an animal including overdriving, beating, mutilation, starvation, thirst and overcrowding or otherwise ill treatment to the animal.’
This law offers a basic level of protection against cruelty, abuse and negligence relating to some categories of animals. However, the situations described in law are very specific and may include references to some outdated practices (such as the use of phooka or doom dev on cows). The enforcement mechanisms also need to be updated. Current legislation includes fines that can be as low as 50 Rupees, which is an extremely low level when contrasted with the minimum wage for the country in 2013 of 10,000 Rupees.The legislation does have a direct remission to Magistrates and police for the responsibilities associated with the law, but there is no indication of an existing responsible authority for the development of further policy and legislation on animal. This may be because the law is a remnant of the British colonial system and has not been updated since independence. This does not appear to be a current priority.
Breach of the anti-cruelty provisions in Sections 3 to 5 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890) is punishable with fines and imprisonment.
• The Government of Pakistan is encouraged to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890) to include a definition of animal welfare, in line with the OIE and explicitly promoting the Five Freedoms.
• The Government of Pakistan is urged to amend and update the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890) to ensure protections for all animals in Pakistan and to align anti-cruelty measures with current animal welfare science.
Presence of animal welfare legislation
This goal explores animal protection laws in relation to various categories of animals, namely: farm animals, animals in captivity, companion animals, working animals and animals used for entertainment, animals used for scientific research and wild animals.
Protecting animals used in farming
The anti-cruelty provisions in sections 3 to 5 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890) apply to this category of animals.
Rearing - pigs
There is no policy or legislation related specifically to the rearing of pigs.
Rearing - broiler chickens
The is no national policy or legislation related specifically to the rearing of broiler chickens. Under the Punjab Poultry Production Rules (2017) poultry production facilities are required to register with the Government each year. Beyond requirements for egg storage rooms not to exceed 36 degrees Celsius, there are no animal welfare provisions in the Act.
Rearing - egg-laying chickens
There is no national policy or legislation related specifically to the rearing of egg-laying hens.Under the Punjab Poultry Production Rules (2017) poultry production facilities are required to register with the Government each year. Beyond requirements for egg storage rooms not to exceed 36 degrees Celsius, there are no animal welfare provisions in the Act.
Rearing - dairy cattle and calves
The is no national policy or legislation related specifically to the rearing of dairy cattle and calves.The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890) specifically prohibits the practice of phooka or doom dev on cows.
There is no policy or legislation specifically related to the transport of farm animals.
The Punjab Animals Slaughter Control Act (1963) governs the slaughter of animals in the state of Punjab, except in the Tribal Areas. The Act applies to bulls, bullocks, buffalo, buffalo-bulls, camels, goats, ostriches, sheep and any other animal of any age domesticated in captivity. The Act restricts the slaughter of ‘useful’ animals which include female animals (excluding sheep and goats) between one and ten years which may be used for draught purposes. Permission to slaughter these animals is required from a Veterinary Officer. Animals are also only allowed to be slaughtered in slaughterhouses except during Eid-al0Adha and the two succeeding days or in cases or illness, injury or other cause where the animal is likely to die before it can be presented at the slaughterhouse.
The Karachi Cattle Slaughter Control Act (1950) regulates the slaughter of cattle in the state of Karachi. Cattle are defined under the law as ‘oxen, buffaloes, goats and sheep’. The Act prohibits the slaughter of ‘useful’ animals which include pregnant animals and all oxen and buffalo between one and ten years who may be used for draught, breeding or milk purposes. No animal is allowed to be slaughtered outside the slaughterhouse except on the day of Eid-al-Adha and the two succeeding days.Under the Halal Authority Act (2015) only Halal animals (those allowed under Islam) are allowed to be slaughtered. Animals are required to be alive at the time of slaughter; however, it is prohibited to cause torture to the animals during the slaughter process. Under the Act, stunning of animals before slaughter is prohibited, but allows the use of electric shocks prior to slaughter to calm down or reduce violence in the animal. The length of the electric shock is determined in Annex A of the Act, according to the species and weight of the animal. The stunning of poultry with loss of consciousness is allowed if the animal is alive and in a stable condition before and during slaughter. The Act mandates that animals shall not see others being slaughtered and that they are treated humanely throughout the process. Annex A of the Halal Authority Act (2015) provides parameters for the electrical stunning of animals by species.
There is very little legislation related specifically to farm animals. While they are protected by the general anti-cruelty provisions of the Animal Protection Act (1890), the lack of secondary legislation is concerning especially given the Animal Protection Act was introduced over a century ago. While the Halal Authority Act (2015) mandates the humane treatment of animals throughout the slaughtering process and does not allow animals to see others being slaughtered, it also does not permit stunning before slaughter for most animals. The use of electric shock prior to slaughter is allowed only if the process is ‘necessary and expedient’ in order to calm the animal down. It is not clear from the stunning requirements laid out in Annex A that the use of electric shock will cause a complete loss of consciousness in the animal. For poultry, however, the Act explicitly allows the loss of consciousness via stunning, though only if the process is ‘necessary and expedient.’ These restricted conditions show that, in effect, the slaughter of animals without prior stunning is largely allowed in Pakistan.
Similarly, the Act relating to slaughter in Punjab and Karachi allows any person to slaughter animals around Eid-al-Adha which may result in cruel methods of slaughter being used. This places the country below accepted international standards on animal welfare, a situation which has regional and international repercussions particularly considering the economic importance and size of some industries, for example, the dairy industry.There are also concerns relating to trade with other countries. For example, in an investigation in 2013 the Australian government found that the handling and slaughter of sheep exported to Pakistan from Australia was not compliant with OIE animal welfare recommendations.
Breach of the anti-cruelty provisions in sections 3 to 5 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890) is punishable with fines and imprisonment. Breach of any parts of the Punjab Animals Slaughter Control Act (1963) is punishable with fines and imprisonment. Animals may also be forfeited to the Government. Breach of any parts of the Karachi Cattle Slaughter Control Act (1950) is punishable with fines between 100 and 1000 Rupees and imprisonment of up to six months.
• The Government of Pakistan is urged to enact legislation detailing specific welfare requirements for the rearing of farm animals during the phases of rearing, transport and slaughter. Such requirements should be legally binding and species-specific and at a minimum aligned with OIE animal welfare standards and promote the Five Freedoms. Regular inspections onto farms and slaughter establishments should be carried out with a special focus on animal welfare.
• Due to the significant animal welfare concerns associated with long distance transport, the Government of Pakistan is strongly urged to ban the export and import of live animals for long distances (i.e. over eight hours) and replace it with a meat only trade. Long distance transport is inherently cruel as it involves chronic stress for all animals and for some species and modes of transport it may involve overpopulation, exhaustion, excess heat or cold, inadequate ventilation and/or access to food and water, leading to disease, pain, injury or death.
• The Government of Pakistan is urged to mandate the humane slaughter of all farm animals. Animals should be instantaneously rendered unconscious and insensible to pain and distress prior to slaughter. Today, there is growing consensus amongst religious authorities worldwide that pre-slaughter stunning is compatible with religious principles. Humane halal slaughter allows for the animal to be temporarily rendered unconscious via stunning prior to slaughter, as long as the animal's skull remains intact and the animal would regain consciousness in time should slaughter not occur. Therefore, animals should be unconscious before being bled, and no further processing should occur until irreversible loss of consciousness is confirmed. No animal should be forced to witness other animals being slaughtered as this is inherently distressing.
Protecting animals in captivity
The anti-cruelty provisions in sections 3 to 5 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890) apply to this category of animals. However, wildlife both wild and captive, are considered the responsibility of provincial governments. Provincial governments are required to have their own wildlife department.Under the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management Act (2014) cruelty to animals is defined as ‘an act towards and animal, which is against the natural instinct and behaviour of the animals and has a negative effect on the health of an animal including overdriving, beating, mutilation, starvation, thirst and overcrowding or otherwise ill treatment to the animal.’ Under the Act, all wildlife – whether wild or captive bred, tamed or untamed are considered the property of the state government.Under the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management Act (2014), it is the responsibility of the Wildlife and Fisheries Department to establish and maintain wildlife/safari parks, wildlife farms and zoos. The Act establishes the Wildlife Management Advisory Board whose role includes advising the Government on wildlife protection and reviewing progress in the area of wildlife protection.However, there is no national policy or regulation specifically regarding zoos. Zoos are not regulated under most provincial wildlife protection ordinances.
Private keeping of wild animals
Under the Northern Areas Wildlife Preservation Act (1975) , it is prohibited to keep as a pet or be in possession of a wild animals without permission from the Chief Wildlife Warden for a recognised zoo or scientific purposes. To acquire a Game Capture License, an applicant must prove that they have adequate experience to capture and care for the wild animals and that the captive animal is required for reputable purpose.Under the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management Act (2014) anyone in possession of a wild animal is required to have a valid Certificate of Lawful Possession, issued by the State Government. This includes those who run wildlife farming facilities.
There is no policy or legislation regarding fur farming in Pakistan. There was no evidence found of the existence of fur farms in Pakistan.
Legislation does not present the issue of captive animals as an independent problem for which particular attention should be given. There are concerns about the welfare of zoo animals in the country. It is difficult to meet the physiological and ethological needs of animals kept in captivity and the introduction of minimum standards in line with international recommendations would be beneficial. Responsibility for all wild animals is delegated to provincial governments who, while including prohibitions on the capture and keeping of some wildlife, have only sporadically including registration provisions for zoos and similar facilities. Given the age of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890), this leaves very few protections for wild animals in captivity.
Breach of the anti-cruelty provisions in sections 3 to 5 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890) is punishable with fines and imprisonment.Illegal possession of wild animals under the Northern Areas Wildlife Preservation Act (1975) is punishable by imprisonment of up to two years or a fine of up to two thousand rupees.Under the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management Act (2014), anyone found illegally possessing a wild animal shall be punished by imprisonment of up to six months or a fine between ten and thirty thousand rupees or both.Most of the provincial regulations make reference to powers given to police “or other officers assigned by the government” to pursue enforcement of legislation. As expressed before, the legislation assessed herein is mainly to be applied to animals in the wild. As such, the mechanisms available for the protection of animals do not take in consideration particular animals in captivity.
• The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1890) covers the basic animal welfare needs of animals kept in captivity, however, the legislation could be improved by addressing the species-specific welfare needs of animals kept in captive settings, such as zoos. As a result, the Government of Pakistan is urged to produce detailed legislation specifying the conditions under which wild animals may be kept in captivity. Such regulations shall include requirements with regards to housing, feeding, handling and husbandry and should promote the Five Freedoms of all individual animals. In particular, the Freedom to express normal patterns of behaviours should be respected.
• The Government of Pakistan is strongly encouraged to allocate human and financial resources to create an inspection unit in charge of verifying that animal welfare standards are implemented and enforced for animals living in captive settings. Facilities where animals are kept captive should be regularly inspected, and the results of such inspections should be made public.
• The Government of Pakistan is encouraged to develop a Positive List of species, specifying which animals can be kept as companion animals, based on clear criteria including animal welfare and other relevant concerns.
• The Government of Pakistan is urged to fully ban fur farming. Fur farming is inherently cruel and causes pain, distress and suffering to animals.
Protecting companion animals
Care of companion animals
The existing legislation does not address specifically companion animals, but general provisions of protection are relevant. The definition of “animal” in the act makes reference to “domestic or captured” animals, but there is no acknowledgement in legislation that companionship is regarded as one of the ways to define the relationship between man and animal. Most of the provisions are intended to protect the relationship between man and animal as a working animal.
There is no policy or legislation related specifically to the care of companion animals.
Some states have agreed to move to capture-neuter-release and mass vaccinations in a bid to control rabies in the country.
The country lags behind international standards regarding animal protection and humane population management of stray and roaming dogs.
• The Government of Pakistan is strongly encouraged to promote humane stray animal population management, which relies on promoting responsible ownership, mass vaccinations and reproduction control programmes. Culling has been scientifically proven to be ineffective and should therefore be banned.
• The Government of Pakistan is encouraged to engage with the International Companion Animal Management (ICAM) coalition to learn about and implement their dog population management methodology. This methodology consists of a full cycle of action, addressing the root causes of conflict between roaming dog and communities. The document is helpful to governments to manage dogs humanely as well as to help communities to live in harmony with dogs.
Protecting animals used for draught and recreation
Animals used for entertainment
With respect to performing animals there are no regulations except for a Decree reportedly signed in 2001 by the Pakistani Government calling for the existing ban on bear baiting to be enforced.
It is prohibited to incite any animal to fight or to bait any other animal, except if the fighting is not likely to cause injury or suffering to such animals, and all reasonable precautions are taken to prevent injury or suffering.
The Act allows the Provincial Governments to make regulations regarding maximum weight loads and other parameters regarding draught animals. However, no such regulations were found at the time of writing.
Working animals such as donkeys are important contributors to Pakistan’s economy and there are a number of programmes in the country to address their welfare, working in partnership with local government. The existence of some elements of protection in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1890 supports such efforts. However, there are no specific regulations ensuring draught animals are well cared for.
• The Government of Pakistan is strongly encouraged to adopt specific legislation to address the welfare of working animals, including working equids, following the requirements of the OIE’s animal welfare standards. Working animals must be treated with consideration and must be given adequate shelter, exercise, care, food and water appropriate to their physiological and behavioural needs. Any condition that may impair their welfare must be treated promptly and, affected animals must not be worked again until they are fit. They must not be overworked or overloaded, nor must they be forced to work through ill-treatment.
Protecting animals used in scientific research
There is no policy or legislation specifically related to animals used for scientific research including bans or limitation on testing cosmetics and their ingredients on animals.
• The Government of Pakistan is encouraged to create ethics committees, in charge of scrutinising applications for animal research. Such ethics committees should be able to suspend the activities or revoke the registration of establishments which do not respect animal welfare criteria. Animals used for research should be provided with shelter, care, food and water in a manner appropriate to their physiological and behavioural needs. A nominated member of the laboratory staff, preferably a veterinarian, must have full responsibility for animal welfare at all times.
• The Government of Pakistan is strongly encouraged to create a national centre consisting of multiple stakeholders, including animal protection organisations, to promote the Three Rs principles and to develop alternatives to animal experimentation.
• The Government of Pakistan is urged to ban the testing of cosmetic products and their ingredients on animals
Protecting the welfare of wild animals
Animals in the wild are regulated by provincial legislation that is primarily concerned with conservation issues and do not necessarily include animal welfare concerns. Provisions generally include the creation of zones and restrictions to undertake hunting and rules with regard to property of animals or by-products of animals. The legislation for most provinces contains provisions according to which capturing wild animals is illegal, as it includes capture as a potential component of hunting and there are restrictions on hunting (areas, times, species and other criteria depending on the provincial legislation).
Under the Wildlife Preservation Act Northern Areas (1975) it is illegal to hunt, kill or capture any animal in a National Park, wildlife sanctuary or other protected area. Game animals are only allowed to be hunted by those in possession of a Game Shooting License or Game Capture License. Licenses are only permitted to be assigned if the applicant has access to and is permitted to carry appropriate firearms and can prove proficiency with such weaponry. Under the Act, it is prohibited to use certain types of traps, fire, baited hooks, drop-spears or deadfalls, explosives, poisons and motor vehicles. Special licenses are required to use hawks or falcons, live decoys and dogs other than for flushing or collection purposes.
The Azad Jammu and Kashmir Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management Act (2014) includes a definition of animal cruelty applicable to wild animals. Under the Act, it is prohibited to hunt any wild animal using cruel methods such as explosives, snares or poisons and to hunt any protected animal. It is also prohibited to use vehicles, hunt with the help of decoys or recorded calls, hunt near water sources and salt licks or to hunt after dark with the exception of some birds. Hunters in Azad Jammu and Kashmir are required to gain a licence to hunt, and the application includes proof of proficiency with a firearm.
General exemptions include capturing or killing animals in self-defence and in the defence of other persons, livestock and crops.
It is positive that the relevant pieces of provincial legislation make reference to committees or boards that have the responsibility of enacting the legislation and producing policy on the issue of wildlife management, although some further clarity on the composition of the board is desirable as the legislation mostly refers to government-appointed board members without further explanation of areas of expertise and affiliation.
Establishment of supportive government bodies
This goal examines government commitment to animal protection. This includes whether there is allocation of responsibility, accountability and resources within government to protect animals.
Government accountability for animal welfare
There is no evidence of a single government authority assigned responsible for improving animal welfare protection at a high government level. However, responsibility for different categories of animals are assigned to government departments at a provincial level for example, wildlife, both tamed and wild are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Wildlife in each province.
There is no evidence that the national government has assigned any responsibility to the issue of animal welfare which makes improving animal welfare in Pakistan difficult. There is some evidence of action on issues concerning wild animals, for example, with respect to conservation and bear baiting, however this is inconsistent across the country given the delegated authorities to provincial governments.
There is no policy or legislation relevant to this indicator.
• The responsibility for different categories of animals currently falls under multiple Ministries and Departments. For consistency, Government of Pakistan is recommended to align all animal welfare under one Ministry at the national level, with appropriate resources for research, implementation and enforcement.
• The Government of Pakistan is encouraged to create a multi-stakeholder committee to effectively engage all actors involved in maintaining animals’ well-being to find solutions for welfare concerns. This committee would guide the country’s policies and strategies on animal welfare, in line with international standards. This committee should include representatives of animal welfare organisations.
Support for international animal welfare standards
This goal looks at whether the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE)’s animal welfare standards have been incorporated into law or policy, and whether the Government is supportive of the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.
OIE animal welfare standards
The OIE’s standards are not transposed into legislation and there is no evidence in the existing legislation that the guiding principles of animal welfare are covered.
As of August 2013, Pakistan has requested a PVS mission, and the Government has also nominated a representative from the Livestock and Dairy Development Ministry to participate in the Regional Animal Welfare Strategy. The Government of Pakistan has a permanent OIE representative from the Ministry of National Food Security and Research.
The Government is encouraged to increase its engagement with the OIE. Although there is an appointed representative to OIE meetings from the country’s Ministry of Dairy Development, there is no evidence that there are financial resources of further human resources allocated for work with the organisation or for the promotion of activities that are endorsed by the OIE.
There appear to be barriers to progress here. Engagement with the Regional Animal Welfare Strategy for Asia Pacific presents an opportunity to improve animal welfare nationally, but to date there is no evidence of legislative development directly linked to this.
Support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare
The Government of Pakistan has not pledged in principle support for the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW).
Note: The Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare is a proposed formal international acknowledgment of a set of principles giving animal welfare due recognition among governments and the international community. An expression of support for the UDAW demonstrates a government’s commitment to working with the international community to improve animal welfare.
Support for UDAW would be a first step into integrating animal protection considerations into different discussion tables, becoming a soft law source for decision makers interested in improving animal protection in the country. The government is encouraged to pledge its support. There appears to be a lack of political will to take action to improve animal welfare through policy commitments such as support for the UDAW.
There are no enforcement mechanisms relevant to this indicator.
• The Government of Pakistan is encouraged to pledge in principle support for the UDAW. Support for the UDAW will likely underpin further animal protection measures.