New Delhi: In wake of the outcry over amended rules on cattle sale, the government on Saturday clarified that the modifications were done to prevent cruelty to animals in cattle markets and not to regulate cattle traded for slaughterhouses.
"The prime focus of the regulation is to protect the animals from cruelty and not to regulate the existing trade in cattle for slaughterhouses," the Union Environment Ministry said, adding that livestock markets are intended to become hubs for animal trade for agriculture, while animals for slaughter will have to be bought from farmers at farms.
"It is envisaged that welfare of cattle dealt with in market will be ensured and that only healthy animals are traded for agricultural purposes for the benefit of farmers," a Ministry statement said.
It said the notified rules will remove the scope for illegal sale and smuggling of cattle, a major concern for the government.
"The specific provisions apply only to animals which are bought and sold in the notified livestock markets and animals seized as case properties. These rules do not cover other areas," it added.
The Ministry said that some representations were received on Saturday regarding certain provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Market) Rules, 2017 and all will be "duly examined".
One such representation was made by All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Association (AIMLEA) which urged the government to remove buffaloes from the rules as most of the meat export industry depended on it.
"The export market is expected to be strongly affected if the new rules are implemented," said AIMLEA Secretary General DB Sabharwal. "If one cannot buy animals from the market, what would we slaughter and export?"
Sabharwal said that all the slaughterhouses were dependent on the cattle markets for animals for slaughter and the farmers were also likely to be negatively affected by the new rules.
"Where would he dispose of his non-milching, non-breeding and old buffaloes if he won't be able to sell them in the market? Eventually, he would have to sell off a buffalo worth Rs 20,000 for Rs 10,000 or less as there would hardly be any buyers who would go to his farm to buy it," he said adding the competition in the market fetches him the right price.
With the government noting that the basic purpose was to ensure adequate facilities for housing, feeding, feed storage area, water supply, water troughs, ramps, enclosures for sick animals, veterinary care and proper drainage in the cattle market, Sabharwal said none of the existing markets met the standards and there was little hope that someone would spend money for constructing such markets.
The Ministry also said that the Supreme Court had in July 2015 had ordered for framing guidelines to prevent animal smuggling from India to Nepal for the Gadhimai Festival where large-scale animal sacrifice takes place.
The Animal Welfare Board of India prepared the draft rules by incorporating all suggestions made by the Supreme Court, it said, adding that they were notified in January to invite objections and suggestions if any.
"Thirteen representations were received regarding the aforesaid rules. They were duly examined and incorporated, wherever found suitable. The rules were finally notified on 23 May," the Ministry said.
The Environment Ministry had on Friday modified the animal cruelty rules, making it mandatory to ensure the cattle are not bought or sold for slaughter.
Updated Date: May 27, 2017 22:19 PM