The Centre has decided to withdraw its plan notifying a ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets. The decision to withdraw this plan was told by a senior official from Ministry of Environment to The Indian Express. This decision was taken after the Ministry sought feedback from states on its May 23 notification on changes made to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Market) Rules, 2017. A government official said, “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 official added that the time-frame for the process has not yet been decided.
The notification of the ban on cattle sale in animal markets has created controversies as there were reports of instances of harassment and assault by cow-protection groups throughout the country.
Moreover, Farmers opposed the move as they cannot directly access slaughterhouses. Farmers normally bring their redundant animals to livestock markets from where traders purchase and transport the cattle to abattoirs.
The indication to lift the ban was first given by Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan in September. At the time, he said the rules were a “regulatory regime” for preventing cruelty to animals and the government “did not intend to directly or indirectly affect slaughterhouses or harm farmers” or “influence the food habits of people”.
It was then that the Ministry asked states to send their opinion on the notification that prohibited the sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets.
Two sets of letters were sent to the states by the Ministry, seeking feedback on the ban on the basis of which a new draft was to be framed. The letters had the copy of the notification attached to it. The Ministry also held consultations with animal rights activists and traders on the issue.
In May-end, the Madras High Court granted an interim stay on the implementation of the rules and in July, the Supreme Court extended the stay to the entire country.