Peasant and trader groups welcome SC stay on cattle trade rules | environment | Hindustan Times
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Peasant and trader groups welcome SC stay on cattle trade rules

The Supreme Court on Tuesday passed an interim stay on the implementation of cattle trade rules notified in May that banned the sale of cattle for slaughter at cattle markets.

environment Updated: Jul 12, 2017 11:54 IST
The Supreme Court on Tuesday passed an interim stay on the implementation of cattle trade rules notified in May that banned the sale of cattle for slaughter at cattle markets.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday passed an interim stay on the implementation of cattle trade rules notified in May that banned the sale of cattle for slaughter at cattle markets.(Vivek R Nair / Hindustan Times))

The Supreme Court’s interim stay on the implementation of cattle rules met with cautious optimism from trade groups which saw the rules as a blow to the meat and leather industry, farmer groups who believed it affected livelihoods, but with indignation from animal rights groups that support the rules that were notified by the environment ministry on May 25.

The cattle trade rules banned the trade of cattle for slaughter at cattle markets.

“It is a positive sign, but the sword keeps hanging till it is in black and white,” Fauzan Alavi, spokesperson for the All India Meat & Livestock Exporters Association (AIMLEA) said. The meat industry exports were worth Rs. Rs 26,303 crore in 2016-17, and consisted mostly on meat from buffalos, that are also included in the current rules.

A court in Madurai had placed a four- week stay on the notification on May 30 noting that it went against the constitutional rights of people. A Kerala High Court judge dismissed a petition challenging the rules, noting that they did not imply a blanket ban on cow slaughter.

The Centre on Tuesday informed the court that it would issue revised rules by end of August. After the notification of the rules in May were met with widespread protests and several petitions were brought to the environment ministry, seeking amendments.

Environment minister Harsh Vardhan, has repeatedly said that the rules were being misunderstood and they aimed at promoting the welfare of animals being traded in such markets.

“It has nothing to do with the slaughter business, It has nothing to do with changing your food habits,” he said in June, responding to criticism that the rules were a de-facto beef ban, and was an attempt to forward the Hindutva agenda of the Modi government.

The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), a left affiliated group which is a petitioner in the case, welcomed the order. The group termed it a “peasant’s’ victory,” adding that the apex court “will empower secular forces.”

In its petition, AIKS had said the notification would “choke free movement of animals via the market space” and “completely undermine the freedom and rights of farmers, traders and all others whose livelihoods are linked to this production cycle”.

Alavi from the AIMLEA had earlier told HT that the ministry was being “conned” by animal rights groups. PETA India has actively supported the rules and said it would be renewing efforts to keep the rules unchanged.