New rule passed by Modi’s Govt. on sale of Cattle for Slaughter
The Environment ministry has notified the stringent Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of livestock markets) Rules, 2017, derived from Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Implementation of the regulation of livestock falls under the State government’s ambit.
Under a notification, those who wish to sell cattle — bulls, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers and camels — may do so only after they formally state that the animals have not been “brought to the market for sale for slaughter”.
At the same time, buyers of cattle at animal markets will have to verify they are agriculturalists and declare that they will not sell the animal/s for a period of six months from the date of purchase.
The rules demand that buyers “follow the State cattle protection and preservation laws” and “not sacrifice the animal for any religious purpose”. They also prohibit cattle purchased from animal markets being sold outside the State, without permission.
Monitoring committees at the State and district levels will be set up to implement the rules and monitor the functioning of animal markets. Such markets will be identified and registered; any new market that is set up will need the approval of the District Animal Market Monitoring Committee, which will be chaired by the Collector or District Magistrate.
To inhibit smuggling, animal markets may not function within 25 kilometres of a State border and 50 kilometres of an international border.
The notification follows a Supreme Court directive:
The notification follows a Supreme Court directive to the government in response to a 2014 writ petition by Gauri Mulekhi of People for Animals, to form an inter-ministerial committee to recommend ways of preventing cattle smuggling.
In April 2017, the apex court had asked the Centre to extend to India-Bangladesh border areas its rules framed to counter the smuggling of cattle to territories in Nepal.
The committee recommended, among other things, rules to be framed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 to regulate livestock markets.
The rules will go a long way in weeding out “middlemen” from the supply chain linking farm-heads to slaughter houses. This will improve traceability (of zoonotic diseases), curb illegitimate slaughter and smuggling and, put the onus on cattle-owners to dispose of their animals responsibly.
The notification also contains a slew of provisions to prevent the cruel transport and treatment of animals. Prohibited practices that are cruel and harmful include sealing teats of the udder using any material such as adhesive tapes to prevent the calf from suckling, putting any ornaments or decorative materials on animals, using any type of muzzle to prevent animals from suckling or eating food and injecting oxytocin into mulch animals.
The notification drew the strongest response from Kerala, where Chief Minister said that the Centre’s action was contrary to diversity, which is the core of Indian democracy.
Impact on industry: While individuals have not been prevented from selling cattle for slaughter, representatives from the meat and livestock industry have expressed serious concern about the impact of the notification on industry, employment as well as the export sector.