Animal Cruelty Around the World

Animal cruelty is a federal felony for the first time in American history. Here's how the United States stacks up against other countries around the world.

New laws that bans acts of animal torture

In the United States President Trump made acts of animal cruelty a federal crime on November 25th, 2019. Punishments can include fines or 7 years in prison, or both. The bill doesn’t apply to people who slaughter animals for food, hunt, and trap fish.

In Switzerland even the dignity of animals is protected by a constitutional provision. Animals recognized as social, like guinea pigs, must be kept in pairs. It’s illegal to boil lobsters alive and to stop a dog from barking. Dog owners were even required to take mandatory training courses up until 2016. Willful cruelty is punishable by up to 3 years in prison. Negligent cruelty is punishable by a fine of up to $20,034. Cows have special status and can’t be transported for more than 6 hours and must be stunned before slaughter.

In India cows also have special status. They are holy animals for Hindus and even have a 24-hour helpline in Haryana to prevent their theft and mishandling. Dolphins have their own specific rights and are seen as non-human persons. / considered “highly intelligent and sensitive”. Here, if any animal is subjected to any form of cruelty the offender is subject to fines of up to 0.50 - 0.70 worth in rupees.

In Tanzania wildlife is protected. Over 44% of Tanzania’s land mass is reserved for national parks and game reserves according to, and while the Animal Welfare Act 2008 prohibits causing unnecessary suffering and avoidable suffering in specific cases, hunters can still pay thousands of dollars to kill nearly any animal and poaching is still a serious problem.

In France animals are considered to be sentient beings. But up until 2014, their legal status was the same as objects. The Penal Code still permits cockfighting and bullfighting in areas where the tradition exists, along with force-feeding in foie gras production. Anyone who abuses an animal gets a fine of $823. If it’s an act of grave cruelty towards a domestic animal, tamed animal, captive animal and they can face up to 2 years in prison and even be forbidden to keep house pets.