India is the top performer under the VACI, receiving a good performance rating (“B”), on par with the United Republic of Tanzania. Although the country has a low dependence on farmed animals and low animal product consumption, its farmed animal protection laws require improvement.
The Indian diet contains a relatively low proportion of animal products, with around 20% of the average Indian’s diet made up of land-based animal protein, versus a global average of 35.2%. Each Indian citizen consumes around 12.7g of land-based animal protein per day, compared with a global average of 26.7g. Around 23-37% of Indians are estimated to be vegetarian, which may be partly explained by the value placed on vegetarianism by various religious traditions followed in the country. This is reflected in the low proportion of animal protein derived from meat (11.7%), compared with dairy products (80%).
India is rated as an adequate performer (“C”) under the Animal Protection Index (API), and its farmed animal protection legislation achieved a poor performance rating (“E”) under the same index. The country has broadly adequate animal protection laws, with a particular focus on protecting cows on religious grounds. But the legislation falls short of international standards, due to the legalisation of husbandry practices which cause pain and suffering, such as dehorning and nose roping cattle. Like many countries, the sentience of animals is also not fully enshrined into law. There is also a lack of detailed regulation regarding the rearing of farmed animals and urban dairy production. Learn more about the quality of India’s legislative protections on the API here.