In new regulation notified by the Environment Ministry on Tuesday, the Centre has banned the sale of all kinds of cattle for slaughter at animal markets across India.
A bovine animal including bulls, bullocks, cows, buffalos, steers, heifers, calves and camels.
The rules were issued under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and requires anyone buying cattle to provide an undertaking that the animals are purchased for the purpose of agriculture and not slaughter.
The notification further makes procuring of the animals difficult as large amounts of paperwork is added for every transaction involving the purchase of cattle at animal markets. The authorities now demand numerous records and five copies of the proof of sale, each of which is to be handed to different officials at various levels.
Even though the rules do not itself ban slaughter, it is likely to have a major impact on cattle slaughter across the country. It allows cattle trade at animal markets to only take place for agricultural purposes and license breeding remains legal.
Notifications issued by the Centre are as follows:
Restrictions on sale of cattle — The Member Secretary of the Animal Market Committee shall ensure that-
(a) no person shall bring to an animal market a young animal;
(b) no person shall bring a cattle to an animal market unless upon arrival he has furnished a written declaration signed by the owner of the cattle or his duly authorised agent—
- stating the name and address of the owner of the cattle, with a copy of the photo identification proof;
- giving details of the identification of the cattle;
- stating that the cattle has not been brought to market for sale for slaughter;
(c) every declaration furnished to the Animal Market Committee shall be retained by it for a period of six months from the date on which it is furnished to them and the Animal Market Committee shall, on demand made by an Inspector at any reasonable time during that period, produce such declaration and allow a copy of it or an extract from it to be taken;
(d) where an animal has been sold and before its removal from the animal market, the Animal Market Committee shall:
- obtain the expenses incurred for each animal, as approved by the District Animal Market Monitoring Committee, so as to provide the basic facilities for animals and people;
- take an undertaking that the animals are bought for agriculture purposes and not for slaughter;
- keep a record of name and address of the purchaser and procure his identity proof;
- verify that the purchaser is an agriculturist by seeing the relevant revenue document;
- ensure that the purchaser of the animal gives a declaration that he shall not sell the animal up to six months from the date of purchase and shall abide by the rules relating to transport of animals made under the Act or any other law for the time being in force;
- retain such record for a period of six months from the date of sale;
- produce such record before an Inspector on demand being made by him at any reasonable time during that period and allow a copy of it or an extract from it to be taken;
(e) the purchaser of the cattle shall –
- not sell the animal for purpose of slaughter;
- follow the State cattle protection or preservation laws;
- not sacrifice the animal for any religious purpose;
- not sell the cattle to a person outside the State without the permission as per the State cattle protection or preservation laws;
(f) where a cattle has been sold and before its removal from the animal market, the proof of sale shall be issued in five copies, out of which first copy shall be handed over to purchaser, second copy to seller, third copy to tehsil office of the residence of purchaser, fourth copy to the Chief Veterinary Officer in the district of purchase and last copy to be kept intact in the record by the Animal Market Committee.
The above rules apply to the whole of India, except Jammu and Kashmir. It requires all existing animal markets to be registered within three months with the District Animal Market Monitoring Committee by making an application to the Committee.
Animal markets include animal fairs, or areas adjoining a market or a slaughterhouse, where animals are brought from other places for sale or auction.
Apart from banning the sale of cattle for slaughter, the new rules also prohibit cruel and harmful practices including, painting of horns, ear cutting in buffaloes and making animals lay on hard ground without proper bedding. It mandates the appointment of Veterinary inspectors who shall screen the animals before they enter the market. The inspector shall also check whether animals are being transported in trucks which are authorised by law to carry animals.
Read the full government report here.
Many states against the recently imposed ban
Kerala on Saturday protested the central government’s decision by organising “beef fests” in various parts of the state. The protests were carried out even as the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan assured Keralites that he would approach PM Modi to reserve the order. In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, he wrote that the ban “would also be against the principles of secularism and federalism enshrined in our constitution.”
CM Vijayan on Friday said, “Crores of people in the country are slaughtering animals for food. Those who consume meat do not belong to any particular religion. Narendra Modi has interfered with people’s right to eat. If cattle is banned today, in future there could be a ban on eating fish.”
Protesting the ban, some of the workers of Kerala Youth Congress publically slaughtered either a cow, a calf or an ox, it still remains unclear. Party vice-president Rahul Gandhi strongly condemned the slaughter and suspended workers who organised the event.
Northeast Indian states are also following Kerala’s suit, with most of them believing that the Centre’s regulation will have little or no impact in the region. Meghalaya’s Congress government has accused the BJP-led Centre of “acting like a dictator”. State minister Zenith Sangma said the notification “goes against the letter and spirit of the Centre-State relationship”, as reported by News18.
Northeastern states form a dominant chunk of meat eating population in our country. The Centre’s decision has thus received flak in the region.