The cabinet yesterday approved a draft law increasing punishment for killing or badly hurting an animal.
As per the proposed law, any person committing such crimes would have to face two years' imprisonment or Tk 50,000 fine or both.
Under the existing Cruelty to Animals Act, 1920 the punishment has been six months' imprisonment or Tk 200 fine or both.
According to the draft law titled “The Animal Welfare Act, 2016,” showing unnecessary cruelty to animals, killing animals or behaving cruelly with them or forcing them to do extra hard work would be considered as punishable offences.
Approval of the draft law came at the weekly cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Bangladesh Secretariat.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam said the proposed law had been drafted as the existing law was outdated.
He said the definition of animals has been specified in the draft law. All vertebrates except human being including domestic and pet animals would come under the purview of the law, he added.
The draft law proposes six months' imprisonment or Tk 10,000 as fine or both for cruel or heartless behaviour or for any unnecessary harmful behaviour to animals, he said.
Alam further said the director general of the Department of Veterinary or his or her authorised officer or any police personnel holding the post not below a sub-inspector could file a case against any person committing such offenses.
He added production and reproduction of pet animals and their management would have to be animal friendly and registered with the concerned department.
The cabinet also approved Bangladesh Employees Welfare Board (amendment) Act, 2017, Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre Act, 2016 and the Child (Amendment) Act, 2017.