The Uttarakhand High Court on Thursday ordered the closure of all illegal slaughter houses in the state “within 72 hours”, besides directing the authorities to ensure that there is no culling of animals in the open.
A bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Manoj Tiwari issued the order on a public interest litigation by Haridwar resident Parvez Alam, who placed before the court pictures of animals being slaughtered brutally.
It was contended in the petition that illegal slaughtering of animals openly on roads and outside authorised slaughter houses is prevalent in the state.
The bench observed that the pictures were disturbing and pricked the conscience of the court.
“How can the authorities permit the slaughtering of animals in the streets, in villages and towns, is beyond our comprehension. Animals also have constitutional legal rights. The authorities cannot remain mute-spectators towards the slaughtering of animals, that too, in a very beastly manner,” the court said.
It is the duty cast upon the statutory authorities, including police, to ensure that no illegal slaughtering takes place and the Slaughter House must conform to the standards laid down by the State Pollution Control Board and the Pollution Controlling Committees, it said.
Kartikey Hari Gupta, the advocate for the petitioner, pointed out that there are no proper facilities in slaughter houses.
There is no proper flooring, water supply or ventilation in the slaughter houses. The slaughter houses do not install pollution control devices, he alleged.
He said as per sample registration system baseline survey of 2014 conducted by the government, 74% Of the population of Uttarakhand consumes non vegetarian items.
As such the quality of such food items can only be kept in check through a proper system of slaughter houses.
The court directed that “all illegal slaughter houses in the state of Uttarakhand are ordered to be sealed within 72 hours from today”.
The court further directed the Secretary (Home) to ensure that no animal is slaughtered on the streets or open spaces forthwith.
“The state government is also directed to constitute a Committee for Slaughter Houses as per the letter dated 26.04.2012 issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, if not already constituted, within a period of seven days from today,” the court said.
“It is the duty cast upon all the Executive Officers of the Local Self Government, Municipal Corporations, Municipalities, Nagar Panchayats and other Panchayats to ensure that no animal is slaughtered in the public and at open spaces, open to public gaze,” it said.
The court directed the state government to ensure that no slaughter house is permitted to run without complying with the Food Safety and Standards under Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses Regulations.