The Constitution and its New Provisions on Criminalizing Animal Rights


Kenya’s constitution promulgated in 2010 covers animal rights both domestic and wild animals. In Chapter 5 Part 2 (Environment and Natural Resources), the constitution obligates the state to protect biodiversity. The Fourth Schedule further explains the roles of the two levels of government in promoting animal welfare. The national government is responsible for protection of wild animals in conservation areas while the county governments are mandated to seeing the welfare of domestic animals including livestock and pets.

The Kenyan parliament passed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (2012) which was a revised version of the earlier law passed in 1983. The new law is broader and aims to control the treatment of animals including their use in experiments.

The Criminalization Of Animal Cruelty

This law states that cruel behaviour towards an animal is prohibited. This includes committing violence on the animal, overworking it while diseased, starvation and denial of water, abandonment, poisoning, careless surgery procedures, hunting and killing in a cruel manner, and prolonging the life of an animal in great pain. Being in violation of this rule carries a fine of three thousand shillings or an imprisonment of 6 months.

Fighting and baiting an animal is also prohibited by the law. This includes keeping an animal for the purposes of fighting it, and receiving money so as to make have the animal participate in fighting.

Poisoning animals wilfully is also illegal. This includes giving poisonous feeds to an owner of an animal who is not aware of the poison, and placing poisonous feed such that it is accessible by animals. This excludes poisoning insects, vermin and small pests that are harmful to public health and comfort.

This law also prohibits placement of traps and snares that cause unnecessary suffering to an animal and failing to check on a trapped animal. Slaughtering an animal is a manner that causes unnecessary suffering is also prohibited.

Training an animal in a cruel manner that inflicts pain and terror is prohibited. This includes use of whips, goads, and electrical shocks. So is performing acts of entertainment where an animal is made to suffer. Sale of such material is also illegal as is hawking animals in a cruel manner. See, regardless of your view on training dogs, whether for house training or for K-9 training, the use of certain devices that can cause pain or discomfort for dogs is banned in Kenya – you may get a not insignificant slap on the wrist for doing that.

The Control Of Experiments…

The performance of experiments on animals can only be done by an authorized person. These experiments will be licensed for teaching purposes and special purposes like medical examinations. Experiments in public are prohibited.

…And Other Provisions

This law outlines the liability of animal owners, the killing of an injured animal by a public officer, and custody of animals. This law is broad and gives powers to state officers to inspect premises where they think animal welfare is being violated. In the absence of other laws, this law applies both at national and county levels.

Kenya’s new constitution is fully armed to the teeth with regard to animal rights protections – follow it. Otherwise, get the services of a trained lawyer for particular cases.