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India – Animal Welfare and Cultural Issues

India is a country with a rich history and culture, and its relationship with animals is a reflection of this. From the sacred cows that roam the streets to the street dogs that are fed and cared for by locals, animals are a part of daily life in India. However, there are also challenges facing animal welfare in India, including issues of pet ownership, stray animals, and cultural taboos.

Prevailing Attitude to Animals and Pets

India has a long history of valuing animals, with many species considered sacred in Hinduism, the country’s predominant religion. The cow, for example, is considered a sacred animal in Hinduism, and harming or killing one is seen as a serious offense. As a result, cows are free to roam the streets in many parts of the country, and it is not uncommon to see them lying in the middle of busy roads or being fed by locals.

In general, there is a strong cultural tradition of caring for animals in India, with many people feeding and caring for street dogs and cats. However, this attitude does not always extend to pets, which are often seen as a luxury and a symbol of status. Some people view pets as disposable and may abandon them if they become inconvenient or unaffordable to care for.

Laws Regarding Pet Ownership

In India, there are no specific laws regarding pet ownership. However, pet owners are expected to take responsibility for their animals and ensure that they are well-cared for. Animal cruelty is a punishable offense under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and those found guilty of cruelty to animals can face fines and imprisonment.

There are also local bylaws in many cities and towns that regulate the keeping of pets. For example, in some areas, pet owners may be required to register their pets with the local authorities, and there may be restrictions on the number of pets that can be kept in a single household.

Major Animal Charities

There are several animal charities operating in India that work to improve the welfare of animals. One of the largest is the People for Animals (PFA), which was founded in 1992 by animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi. PFA runs a number of animal shelters and hospitals across the country, as well as a network of volunteers who rescue and care for animals in distress.


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Another major animal charity in India is the Blue Cross of India, which was founded in 1959. The Blue Cross runs a number of animal welfare programs, including a large animal hospital in Chennai and a program to sterilize and vaccinate stray dogs.

Pet Supply Stores

There are a number of pet supply stores in India, both physical and online. Some of the most popular online pet supply stores include:

  • Petsworld: This online store offers a wide range of pet products, including food, toys, and accessories. They also offer free shipping on orders over a certain amount.
  • Heads Up For Tails: This online store specializes in high-quality pet products, including custom-made collars, beds, and toys. They also offer a range of grooming services.
  • Dogspot: This online store offers a range of pet products, including food, toys, and grooming supplies. They also have a blog with helpful tips and advice for pet owners.

In addition to these online stores, there are also many physical pet supply stores across the country, particularly in larger cities.

Cultural Taboos and Sensitivities

India has a diverse culture and religion, and there are some cultural taboos and sensitivities associated with different types of animals. For instance, cows are considered sacred animals in Hinduism, and it is illegal to slaughter cows in many states of India. Similarly, pigs are considered unclean animals in Islam, and it is forbidden to eat pork.

However, there are no specific cultural taboos or sensitivities associated with pet ownership in India. Pets are widely accepted and loved by people of all cultures and religions in India.

In conclusion, the prevailing attitude towards animals and pets in India is generally positive, with pets being widely accepted and loved by people of all cultures and religions. There are several laws and regulations regarding pet ownership in India, and several animal charities are working towards improving the welfare of animals in the country. Additionally, there are several pet supply stores available both physically and online, catering to the needs of pet owners. Overall, while there are some cultural taboos and sensitivities associated with different types of animals in India, pet ownership is widely accepted and growing in popularity.


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