Camels smuggling unabated, 700 rescued in one year

Updated on Feb 21, 2018 08:48 PM IST

Another honorary animal welfare officer, Kirti Sachdeva said camels have been declared as an endangered species by the Rajasthan government.

In the past one year, more than 700 camels have been saved from being illegally slaughtered in far-off southern and eastern states of the country.(AFP (REPRESENTATIVE PIC))
In the past one year, more than 700 camels have been saved from being illegally slaughtered in far-off southern and eastern states of the country.(AFP (REPRESENTATIVE PIC))
Hindustan Times, Jodhpur | ByHT Correspondent

Even as the incidents of camel smuggling rise in Rajasthan, the Animal Welfare Board of India on Wednesday said that despite the strict legal provisions, the state government could not curb the camel smuggling.

In the past one year, more than 700 camels have been saved from being illegally slaughtered in far-off southern and eastern states of the country such as Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Karnataka and Assam, transported back and rehabilitated to their natural habitat in Rajasthan, said the board officials.

“In the past few years, camels have been smuggled out of their natural desert habitat in Rajasthan, in and across the country for their meat. This is in complete disregard of Rajasthani sentiments. Illegal camel trade flourishes, especially along the West Bengal border across which our camels are sent for slaughter to Bangladesh,” said Sudershan Kaushik, honorary animal welfare officer, Animal Welfare Board of India.

Speaking to the media, Kaushik said the flourishing smuggling business generates crores of black money every year and funds cross border terrorism, posing a threat to national security.

Another honorary animal welfare officer, Kirti Sachdeva said camels have been declared as an endangered species by the Rajasthan government.

It was for the preservation of the dying breed of the state’s beloved animal that the Rajasthan Camels (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 2015, was introduced, making export of camels for slaughter a cognisable and non-bailable offence. Despite this, the smuggling of camels is increasing. The board has asked the state home minister to appoint a nodal officer for monitoring the efforts and prevent smuggling. Sachdeva said most of the camels are procured in the cattle fairs organised in the state, which are later sent to West Bengal.

In the cases revealed so far, only one gang has been found involved in the camel smuggling. This gang belongs to Baghpat district of Uttar Pradesh. 13 to 14 camels are smuggled in a truck, where smugglers earn 4-5 lakh. Camel meat is not recognised as edible in the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, and on August 14, 2017 a circular has already been issued by the Animal Welfare Board of India notifying this.

“We are going to file a petition in the Rajasthan high court soon to stop the camel trafficking, in which a demand for the formation of a special investigation team will be sought,” Sachdeva said.

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