Rajasthan will tag its cattle population with microchips after a ban on cow slaughter in some states has led to abandoning of old and infirm bovines by livestock owners, the animal husbandry minister said on Tuesday.
The recent ban on cow slaughter in Maharashtra and neighbouring Haryana has seen a sharp rise in the number of stray cattle across the state which officials attributed to livestock owners dumping “useless” cattle for want of buyers.
A ban on cow slaughter in the state is in force since 1995.
Officials said that cattle abandoned on roads are becoming a traffic hazard besides causing damage to crops in rural areas.
A livestock census in 2012 had pegged the number of cattle in Rajasthan at around 2.63 crore.
“We plan to bring in amendments in the Rajasthan Goshala Act, 1960 to make registration of cow breeders mandatory. Electronic chips will be fixed on the cattle so that they could be tracked on the basis of registration,” agriculture and animal husbandry minister Prabhu Lal Saini told HT.
Officials of the department said details of the type of microchip to be used for the purpose and the expenditure likely to be incurred will be worked out later.
The minister said that the government also has plans to introduce insurance for cows so that breeders do not leave them on roads.
A large number of cattle from Rajasthan were smuggled to neighbouring Haryana and some even supplied to Maharashtra, ensuring a steady source of income for the owners.
Besides beef, cattle are also slaughtered for their skin which is used to make different products.
In line with the BJP principle, the Vasundhara Raje government has put cow protection among its priorities. After assuming power in 2013, the Raje government introduced the ‘gau-palan’ department and announced setting up of 39 new police posts for checking cow smuggling in the state.
Despite opposition from several quarters, the BJP-led government at the Centre too has pushed for a country-wide ban on cow slaughter with Union home minister Rajnath Singh declaring last week that NDA government will use all its “might” to end the practice.