The government is planning to amend an earlier order on banning cattle trade for slaughter that had hurt the livestock economy and threatened the meat industry in the country, informed sources said on Thursday. The Union Environment Ministry is said to have approached the Law Ministry seeking suggestions on amending the notification issued in May this year. Ministry officials, however, denied that the government was proposing to roll back the order that made it mandatory to ensure that cattle are not bought or sold for slaughtering in the animal market. “The matter is before the Law Ministry and it’s under process,” Environment Secretary C.K. Mishra told IANS. The process “will take some time”, he added. The Environment Ministry on May 26 this year modified the rules to prevent cruelty to animals, making it mandatory to ensure that cattle are not bought or sold for slaughtering in the animal market.
The list of animals that cannot be bought or sold for slaughter through cattle markets includes cows, bulls, buffaloes, heifers, calves and camels. However, a day after notifying the modifications, the ministry said the animals for the purpose of slaughtering could be procured directly from the farmers at their respective farms.
After notifying the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules-2017, the ministry clarified that the aim was to regulate the animal market and prevent cruelty to animals. To ensure the rules are implemented, undertakings would have to be taken in the market by the “District Animal Market Monitoring Committee” at the district level and the “Animal Market Committee” at the local level.
Since the notification, there have been widespread protests against the new norms in various states, especially Kerala. Youth Congress activists took to the streets in the state but caused outrage by publicly slashing the head of an ox during one such protest in May. The state’s ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist held over 300 “beef festivals” across Kerala where cooked beef was freely served. Kerala is one of the states in the country where cow slaughter is not banned.