Environment Ministry notifies nationwide: New rules ban sale of cattle for slaughter at markets

The new rules would apply to bulls, cows, buffaloes and camels.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: May 27, 2017 5:05 am
cattle sale, cattle sale ban, cattle law, cattle slaughter, beef slaughter, beef ban, beef ban issue, cattle law, india news An Aligarh abattoir: rules could choke supplies Express Archive

A new set of rules aimed at regulating animal markets, popularly known as pashu haats or pashu melas in many parts of the country, could potentially restrict supplies of cow and buffalo meat even in states where it is not illegal. The Environment Ministry Friday issued new rules to regulate these animal markets with the stated objective of preventing cruelty to animals and streamlining trade in cattle. But these rules also seek to ensure that these animal markets can no longer be used to sell or purchase cattle for slaughtering them for meat. The new rules would apply to bulls, cows, buffaloes and camels.

The rules, called the Regulation of Livestock Market Rules and framed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960, also require Animal Market Committees to be formed in every district to ensure that the purchaser of the cattle does not further sell the animal for purpose of slaughter. So these rules are likely to make it difficult for slaughter houses, even legal ones, to source cattle for meat, especially since the definition of animal markets includes lairage as well. Lairage is a place where cattle rest while being transported to markets or slaughter-houses. Currently, a large number of cattle at the animal markets are traded for slaughter.

The new rules require the seller as well as purchaser to give an undertaking that the cattle being sold or bought was not meant for slaughter. “…no person shall bring a cattle to an animal market unless upon arrival he has furnished a written declaration signed by the owner of the cattle or his duly authorised agent….stating that the cattle has not been brought to the market for sale for slaughter,” says one of the provisions.

“…where an animal has been sold and before its removal from the animal market, the Animal Market Committee (to be formed in every district) shall… take an undertaking that the animals are brought for agriculture purposes and not for slaughter,” says another provision.

A statement issued by the Environment Ministry sought to dispel the impression that the rules were aimed at curbing cow slaughter. “The aim of these rules is only to regulate the animal market and sale of cattle in these markets, and ensure welfare of cattle dealt with in the market… Under these rules the seller and buyer have to ensure that cattle has not been bought or sold in the market for slaughter purpose and an undertaking to this effect has to be obtained by the member-secretary of the Animal Market Committee from seller and buyer,” it said in the statement.

Environment Minister Harshvardhan said nothing much should be read into the rules. “The rules will only strengthen the hands of the government, at the state level as well, in preventing cruelty against animals. There is nothing else to it,” he said.

The ministry said these rules had a parallel in existing provisions of Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animal Rules which specify that people intending to adopt seized animals from infirmary or animal welfare organisations must furnish an undertaking that the animals are being adopted for agricultural purposes and not for slaughter.

It said the specific provisions in the livestock market rules applied only to animals being traded in these markets and not others.

The new rules would now make it mandatory for all existing animal markets to register themselves with the Animal Market Committee and ensure certain minimum infrastructure and facilities for animals at these markets. Such infrastructure include provisions for housing, shade, lighting, water supply, toilets, veterinary facilities, and separate enclosures for young and pregnant animals.

The rules prohibit “cruel and harmful” practices like hot or cold branding of animals, shearing or painting of horns, ear-cutting in buffaloes, forcing animals to perform “unnatural acts” like dancing, putting any ornaments or decorative materials on animals, and injecting Oxytocin in milch cattle.

A number of other restrictions on the way the animals can be treated have also been included. “Unfit” animals, including those in advanced pregnancy, or which are infirm or diseased or injured, would not be allowed to be sold at these animal markets.

To curb instances of cattle smuggling, the new rules prohibit animal markets to be located within 25 km of state borders or within 50 km of an international border.

“The animals being sold for slaughter are generally unfit, making these markets the hub for the spread of infectious diseases. The idea behind these new rules is to ensure that only healthy animals are traded for agricultural purposes, whereas animals for slaughter must be sourced directly from farms to ensure traceability,” N G Jayasimha, a former member of the legal sub-committee of Animal Welfare Board of India said in a statement.

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  1. H
    May 27, 2017 at 8:22 pm
    Can't we progress without disturbing the eating habits of people. We have achieved a lot under the so called less patriotic parties. Are we progressing in the right direction or are we creating a rift in the nation? Banning beef may not spark antinational activities, but definitely people know what is happening. GOI, please desist from these gimmicks, let us focus on real issues like poverty , health and hygiene of the people. Let us reinvent education for the good of the nation. Some netas want to satisfy their god fathers. That is why these rules are being issued. Why disturb eating habits? If some one want to eat non veg like beef, let them. If GOI is serious about animal protection, let them adopt the stray dogs and cows themselves. Even in ultra modern Mumbai, you can see stray bulls and cows eating paper, plastics and what not. Why not the GOI catch these menaces and quarantine them in proper facilities. If GOI thinks that it is sate's dutym, then why GOI issue these rules.
    1. R
      May 27, 2017 at 7:40 pm
      Well known ecologist S. Faizi wrote in Facebook “the centre cannot create any law or issue orders about a subject that is in the State list, in the division of legislative powers between the centre and states. Livestock is a state subject. In the State List under Schedule VII: Paras 15 and 16 cover livestock. Hope the SC will strike down any uncons utional order by the Centre.”
      1. s
        May 27, 2017 at 4:37 pm
        Ha sthe goverment made provisions for accomodating people engaged in this trade to some other.if not then goverment is creating a large army of unemplo people and they will resort to criminal activities later due to lack of employment,.This is bound to heppen sooner or later.
        1. K
          May 27, 2017 at 3:48 pm
          In the same judgment, SC observed that: “The interest of a citizen or section of a community, howsoever important, is secondary to the interest of the country or community as a w .” The “country” thereby entered into a hostile relationship with its people. By completely subsuming people’s fundamental rights under the pretence of ‘protecting the interest of the country or community’, THE SC WENT AGAINST THE CLEAR INTENTION OF THE CONS UTION – FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS CANNOT BE ABROGATED. This interpretation was both disingenuous and dangerous and precisely what the cons ution-makers wanted to guard against. And the results of this decision are widely apparent when human lives are taken at will ostensibly to protect ‘cows’.
          1. Kulmohan Singh
            May 27, 2017 at 3:33 pm
            old milk-less cattle not fed by farmers may die diseased, feeding on garbage from polythene bags.
            1. Kulmohan Singh
              May 27, 2017 at 3:39 pm
              Have a grant for the farmers to feed their cattle. No farmer would wil ly wish for its cattle to be killed, they only sell it due to financial burden of having to feed them when still milk-less
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