Cattle Dehorning & Castration | 29 Mar 2023

For Prelims: Cattle Dehorning & Castration, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, Animal Rearing, Animal Welfare Board of India.

For Mains: Cattle Dehorning & Castration.

Why in News?

Recently, the central government has laid down the procedures for Dehorning Cattle and Castration, branding or nose-roping of any animal.

What is Dehorning and Castration of Cattle?

  • Dehorning is the process of removing or reducing the horns of cattle, while castration is the process of removing the testicles of male cattle. Both practices are commonly performed on cattle for a variety of reasons, such as to improve safety for handlers and other animals, prevent injury, reduce aggression, and improve meat quality.
  • Dehorning can be done using several methods, including chemical or electrical methods, saws, and dehorning irons. In many cases, dehorning is done when the animal is young to minimize pain and discomfort.
    • The existing methods involve pushing a bull to the ground to use a castrator san painkiller.
  • Castration is typically done to male cattle that will not be used for breeding purposes, as it can help to reduce aggression and improve meat quality.
    • The castration method involves crushing the blood vessels, nerves and vas deferns (a coiled tube that carries the sperm out of the testes) to cause the testicles to become defunct.

What are the New Rules?

  • All procedures are to be carried out with the involvement of a registered veterinary practitioner, along with the mandatory use of general and local anaesthetics.
  • The rules demand the breeding of naturally hornless cattle over dehorning and using face halters and other humane procedures for nose roping and preventing cold and hot branding on live tissues.
  • The rules prescribe a methodology for euthanasia for ill animals to avoid a painful death.
  • The issue is concerning as most dairy owners and farmers abandon their bulls on roads as it incurs extra cost or effort to sustain them.

What are the Related Existing Provisions?

  • The Dehorning and Castration procedures were earlier undefined under Sections 11 and subsection 3 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, which made it difficult to prevent cruelty against animals.
    • Section 11 defined the acts that amount to treating animals with cruelty.
    • But subsection 3 allowed exceptions for animal husbandry procedures, which involve dehorning cattle and castration, branding and nose roping of animals in a prescribed manner.
  • Section 3(c) of the law also offered exceptions in “the extermination or destruction of any animal under the authority of any law for the time being in force.

What is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960?

  • The legislative intent of the Act is to “prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals”.
  • The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) was established in 1962 under Section 4 of the Act.
  • This Act provides for punishment for causing unnecessary cruelty and suffering to animals. The Act defines animals and different forms of animals.
  • Discusses different forms of cruelty, exceptions, and killing of a suffering animal in case any cruelty has been committed against it, so as to relieve it from further suffering.
  • Provides guidelines relating to experimentation on animals for scientific purposes.
  • The Act enshrines the provisions relating to the exhibition of the performing animals, and offences committed against the performing animals.
  • This Act provides for the limitation period of 3 months beyond which no prosecution shall lie for any offences under this Act.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. Consider the following statements: (2014)

  1. Animal Welfare Board of India is established under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  2. National Tiger Conservation Authority is a statutory body.
  3. National Ganga River Basin Authority is chaired by the Prime Minister.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 2 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (b)


  • The Animal Welfare Board of India was established in 1962 under Section 4 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Hence, statement 1 is not correct.
  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change constituted under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Hence, statement 2 is correct.
  • National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) was established in 2009 under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, which declared Ganges as the “National River” of India. It is a financing, planning, implementing, monitoring and coordinating authority for the river Ganges. It functions under the erstwhile Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (now Ministry of Jal Shakti). It is chaired by the Prime Minister of India. Hence, statement 3 is correct.
  • Therefore, option (b) is the correct answer.

Source: DTE