Animal Nepal welcomes changes in criminal code

Animal Nepal warmly welcomes the changes in Nepal’s criminal code, the Muluki Ain, which now acknowledges animal welfare and criminalizes animal abuse. “This is a great step forward. It provides a strong foundation for further animal welfare legislation,” says Animal Nepal chair Pramada Shah.

The Muluki Ain 2016 is the most important legal document after the constitution and is the first law in the country to criminalize animal abuse. It will act as a basic document for additional legislation. In Nepal now any kind of torture or cruelty to an animal outlawed. It is prohibited to beat or strike any animal or give it intoxicated food. No longer can animals be compelled to carry heavy loads or run faster than its normal capacity. Animals that are sick or injured are not allowed to work. Abandoning old or sick animals and publicly killing animals has become illegal too. Any person found guilty of these crimes can be subjected to three month’s imprisonment or 5,000 NPR (50 USD) fine or both.

Those harming or killing cows, calves and bulls receive strong punishment: NPR 50.000 (500 USD) and up to three years imprisonment.

“The changes in the criminal code show the impact of the animal welfare movement in Nepal,” says Shah. She and her team will continue to work with the government to pass the animal welfare act, which the government has committed to draft. Further legislation and guidelines are needed to regulate welfare conditions for specific kinds of animals, Shah says.