New Delhi: In a landmark move, the Environment ministry has banned cattle slaughter and also imposed restrictions on the sale of cattle to prevent them getting killed.
A gazette notification, titled Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change states that no one can bring cattle to an animal market unless he or she has furnished a written declaration that the cattle will not be sold for the purpose of slaughter. Further, upon sale of cattle, the animal market committee will take an “undertaking” that the animals are for agricultural purposes and not for slaughter.
There are questions as to how does the central government effectively prohibit cattle slaughter across India when livestock is a state subject.
Officials at the animal market will have to verify that the purchaser of the cattle is a farmer by checking the relevant revenue documents.
The gazette notification also states that the purchaser of the cattle will not sell the animal for the purpose of slaughter nor “sacrifice the animal for any religious purpose”.
The notification defines “cattle” as bovine animals, including bulls, cows, buffalos, steers, heifers and calves and camels. Animal market is defined as a “market place or sale-yard or any other premises or place to which animals are brought from other places and exposed for sale or auction and includes any lairage adjoining a market or a slaughterhouse”.
The new rules also prohibit the sale of cattle to persons from belonging to a different state, without permission as per the state cattle protection laws. Animal markets have also been prohibited from within 25 km of state borders.
Additionally, gaushalas, animal welfare organisations etc, which are giving up cattle for adoption, will have to provide an affidavit that the animals will be used for agricultural purposes and not for slaughter. In the case of draught and pack animals, they will have to give a similar undertaking.
It was in January 4, 2017, that there were deliberations on a possible law banning beef and cow slaughter and the Union environment ministry had asked the agriculture ministry to explore the option of enacting a national law to prohibit slaughtering of cow, selling of beef or beef products.
However, the Supreme Court in January, this year, while hearing a PIL to ban nationwide cow slaughter declined to entertain it as it was a “state subject”.