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Govt moves to amend notification banning sale of cattle for slaughter

The Centre’s May notification aimed to regulate cattle markets so that cattle are traded only for agricultural purposes and not for slaughter.

india Updated: Nov 30, 2017 16:16 IST
Modi Government,Cattle Slaughter,Cow Slaughter
The environment ministry has sought advice from the law ministry.(Reuters File Photo)

The environment ministry has sought advice from the law ministry as it moves to amend its May notification regulating cattle trade, that many saw as an effective ban on cow slaughter motivated by ideological reasons.

Secretary, Ministry of Environment, said that a final decision regarding amendments has not been made and consultations were ongoing. “We have sent the file to the law ministry,” CK Mishra, said. “We are some distance away from a decision.”

The May 25 notification sparked protests in many parts of the country, notably in Kerala, West Bengal and Meghalaya where cow slaughter is permitted. While welfare of animals is a union ministry subject, regulation of cattle trade falls within the purview of the state government.

The Madras High Court had granted an interim stay on the implementation of the rules, which was later extended to the entire country in July by the Supreme Court.

The rules, that apply to trade in cows, buffaloes, bulls, bullocks, heifers, calves and camels, aimed to regulate cattle markets so that cattle are traded only for agricultural purposes and not for slaughter. Cattle sellers have to produce a written declaration that the animal was not being sold for slaughter, under the rules.

The notification also limited the trade to farm owners, a move that would have hit poor landless farmers, and restricted supplies to India’s Rs. 1 lakh-crore meat industry.

India is the largest exporter of beef, most of which is buffalo, not cow meat.

Environment minister Harsh Vardhan, who took over the ministry in May, indicated that revisions would be made. “The aim of the rules was to prevent cruelty to the animals he said in June, “It has nothing to do with the slaughter business, it has nothing to do with changing your food habits.”

An animal welfare board member, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the revisions being considered pertained to transport of cattle and suggestions to remove Buffaloes from the list. Other members alleged that work at the board was stalled under the new minister.

The amendments will have to be approved by the Animal Welfare Board of India. However, the board met in May to look into representations made by states and is set to meet again only in January.

First Published: Nov 30, 2017 12:19 IST