An animal protection body today said there was no process earlier to regulate animal markets but the new rules on cattle slaughter would help plug that gap. Animal Equality which conducted a nationwide study of cattle markets also “exposed” the “horrific” cruelty inflicted on cattle in them. The Ministry of Environment and Forests notified the stringent Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 on May 25, banning the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter.
“All these cruel practices are illegal as per the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 but there was no process in place to regulate these markets and hold them accountable. With these rules now this gap has been filled,” said Amruta Ubale, executive director of Animal Equality. The studies conducted by Animal Equality said shocking cruelties were inflicted on dairy animals across India.
It said that animals which were no longer of use to the dairy industry were sold for meat through cattle markets. The organisation visited eight cattle markets in seven states, including Chikaguda cattle market in Secunderabad, Pollachi cattle market in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu and Masouli cattle market in Uttar Pradesh among others. The findings from Animal Equality’s cattle market study mentioned some standard practices in cattle markets across the country.
It said cattle markets meant for the sale of agricultural bulls and dairy animals often facilitate the sale of unproductive dairy animals and newborn male calves for slaughter. It claimed that at the cattle market, the animals were not given any food, water or shelter while some were seen without horns indicating that they were dehorned, and with branding marks on their face and body.
“Dead bodies and faces of calves were stuffed with hay and used to lure female cows and buffaloes who were unwilling to move due to the distress caused from separation from their offspring,” the study claimed.
“The handlers prod the animals with sticks or fingers, rub chilly powder in their eyes, twist break the tails and drag them by their tails and nose ropes while loading them onto the truck,” it claimed.
It said animals were seen bleeding from their genitals due to prodding while calves and weak or diseased adult animals were dragged and thrown into the truck. The government’s ban on sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter is expected to hit export and trade of meat and leather. The government has also prohibited practices that are cruel to animals including painting of horns and putting ornaments or decorative materials on them. The body claimed that the Supreme Court directed the government to draft these new rules after a petition was filed.
Following this, Animal Equality presented the environment ministry and the animal husbandry department with a study showing the cruel and illegal treatment of cattle at markets. It also provided a list of recommendations, which were forwarded to the Animal Welfare Board of India who framed and recommended the rules to the government.