Govt Finally Dilutes Rules on Cattle Sale

Thu, 12 Apr 2018

INDIA - The Centre has finally scrapped its controversial notification on a ban on sale of animals for slaughter in livestock markets and come out with new draft rules doing away with the clause on "restrictions on sale of cattle".

According to The Times of India, this means cattle - including cows - can be sold in animal markets, even for slaughter wherever it is legal.

Last year’s notification had not prohibited slaughter as such, but restrictions on sale of cattle for this purpose in animal markets had the effect of restraining it even in Kerala, Bengal and certain NE states where cow slaughter and sale of beef is not banned.

The notification attracted flak for catering to cow vigilantism and also had the effect of a rise in the number of cattle that were past their use as dairy animals as they could not be sold at fairs. The rules needed declarations by seller and buyer that the animal was not taken for slaughter.

The notification was soon followed by a realisation in the government that the rules will make even transport of cattle more difficult and end up displeasing agriculturalists and dairy farmers. But it has taken the environment ministry close to a year to finally delete the problematic clause.

The regulation on livestock market under the May 2017 rules was opposed by states where beef is not banned even as it caused discomfort elsewhere.

Though the environment ministry clarified that the notification was not about a ban on slaughter as animals could still be procured for this purpose directly from farms, the matter reached various high courts and was seen to be clearly restrictive.

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had stayed the notification on livestock market rules. The SC then stayed the rules in July last year. Such regulations, however, have now been removed from the new draft, which will be notified as ‘rules’ after analysing stakeholders’ comments later this month.

Though the draft deals with cruelty aspect of animal sales and specifies ‘prohibited practices’, including certain 'do’s and don’ts', it dilutes many provisions that were there in the May 23, 2017 rules for not only regulating livestock markets but introducing best practices to minimise cruelty and trace sources of procuring animals to weed out unhealthy ones.

Animal rights activists are disappointed with the proposed rules and have flagged many shortcomings in the diluted version of the draft.

"The draft Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Animal Market Rules, 2018, fails to address the common cruelties animals are subject to in livestock markets across the country," said Shreya Paropkari, farm animals campaign manager of Humane Society International/India (HSI-India).

The environment ministry had last year notified the rules with the aim of regulating animal markets and addressing cross-border smuggling of cattle. HSI-India noted that the new draft, however, did not prohibit animal markets along state borders. The move, however, will send positive signals to the farm sector which has been in distress due to last year’s regulations.

Further Reading

Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.