By Elton Gomes
In a significant victory for animal rights activists, a government notification released on Wednesday has placed the online sale of pets under the purview of the law. The move comes after animal rights activists campaigned against platforms like Quikr and Indiamart to ban the online sale of pets.
The notification includes rules for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop), which mainly relate to physical space and the upkeep of the animals in such spaces. Animal rights activists have hailed the notification, saying that online pet sale has at least come under a legislation.
What are the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Pet Shop) Rules, 2018?
The rules are part of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960. They elaborate on the various conditions under which a person will be permitted to set up a pet shop and conduct the buying and selling of pet animals. Some of these rules include registering the shop with the State Animal Welfare Board, ensuring comfortable and appropriate infrastructure for all the animals housed, veterinary care and health of the animals, among other things.
Pet shop definition included for the first time
For the first time in the gazette notification, there exists the definition of a pet shop. The notification also takes into consideration online platforms and says that only under certain conditions will online platforms be allowed to sell pets. As per the notification, a “pet shop” can be “a shop, place or premises, including any shop, place or premises in a weekly or other market, where pet animals are sold or housed, kept or exhibited for sale, or where any retail or wholesale business involving the selling or trading of pet animals are carried out,” the News Minute reported.
How will the new rules apply to online marketplaces?
Online marketplaces who wish to sell pets will have to register themselves, explains Alokparna Sengupta, Deputy Director HSI India. Sengupta further explained that registration will be approved on the conditions that the site has the required infrastructure for the animals, that the animals pass the required health check and that they are kept in an adequate shelter.
“It will also fall upon platforms where you can advertise such sales to check on the users who are posting the ads to ensure that they are registered and fulfil the requirement to have a pet shop,” Sengupta told the News Minute.
What have the campaigners said?
Priya Chetty Rajagopal, a consultant based in Bengaluru, who was involved in the campaigning against the illegal sale of pets online, said, “While large platforms may still not conduct checks on everyone who posts such ads for selling pet dogs, the regulation ensures that they can be brought to book. For the first time, a law deals with the online sale of pets directly and holds sellers accountable,” the News Minute reported.
Rajagopal and several others spearheaded a campaign to ban the online sale of dogs. The death of a 21-day-old Labrador puppy compelled Rajagopal and others to begin their campaign.
PETA sends letters to OLX, Quickr to ban online sale of pets
Earlier in July, animal rights body PETA India alleged that online portals OLX and Quikr were allowing users to sell live animals, thereby violating animal-welfare regulations.
OLX responded that the company is aware of the laws with regards to pets and that it had taken the necessary steps to seek advertisers’ compliance with the rules. Quikr said that it fully supported the petitioners and authorities in eliminating cruelty against animals.
PETA India’s senior corporate liaison Ajay Welinkar said, “By allowing the sale of animals on their Indian websites and treating them as unfeeling commodities, OLX and Quikr are putting them at risk of being purchased by abusive people or impulse shoppers who are simply not prepared to provide them with lifelong care,” PTI reported. PETA India urged these portals to protect animals by imposing a ban on the online sale of pets.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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