Cattle sale for slaughter: Narendra Modi govt to withdraw ban after feedback from states

The central government has decided to roll back its plan of implementing a ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets, say media reports.

The decision comes after several states gave feedback on the issue, reported India Today.

"We sent a file to the Ministry of Law earlier this week, stating that we are withdrawing the notification due to several issues and will be revising it," The Indian Express quoted a senior official from the Ministry of Environment and Forests as saying. He added that a time-frame for the process had to yet be decided.

The ministry had notified the stringent Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, banning the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter.

The rules define cattle as a bovine animal including bulls, bullocks, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers and calves and camels. They also prohibit establishment of an animal market in a place which is situated within 25 kilometres from any state border and within 50 kilometres from any international border.

 Cattle sale for slaughter: Narendra Modi govt to withdraw ban after feedback from states

Representational image. AP

Various bodies and political parties had reacted to the government's decision, saying it was an "ill-advised" decision which will widen the "terrorism" by cow vigilantes.

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had stayed the cattle slaughter rules in May, and had asked the state and central government to reply to a PIL petition filed before it. The notification was challenged on the ground that it violated the basic right of an individual in relation to his or her choice of food. In June, it had again extended the stay by four more weeks.

Then in July, the Supreme Court had said that the Madras High Court's stay on Centre's notification regarding sale of cattle for slaughter will continue and will cover the entire country.

After the notification was issued, the government had 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 had 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 had said.

Then Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu too had said in May that the Centre was examining representations given by states and some other organisations on the ban on sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets for slaughter.

Dinesh Unnikrishnan had earlier argued in Firstpost that the Modi government could save face on the issue without getting into a deeper mess by doing one simple thing: Restore the sale of cattle for slaughter in livestock markets and bring in stringent rules to prevent cattle theft, the sale of unhealthy cattle and ensuring the quality of meat sold to the public. The government can stipulate minimum infrastructure and cleanliness requirements for market places and perhaps, bring in a new licensing system to weed out those who are non-compliant. Most of these rules are already in place in the notification under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act of 1960.

It seems that the government is at least started the review of its decision. How it follows up that action will have to be seen.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Nov 30, 2017 11:56:12 IST