DAYS AFTER the Bombay High Court upheld the Maharashtra government’s ban on cow slaughter in the state but allowed people to possess and consume beef brought from other states, the state government is learnt to be weighing the option of appealing against the verdict.
Senior officials of the Animal Husbandry Department said that the ruling has thrown up multiple challenges for the ban to be implemented properly.
One of the major issues officials expect will occur after the court’s decision is an increase in smuggling of animals and illegal trade in beef.
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According to officials, the High Court’s decision will turn the state’s ban on beef infructuous. “Everyone will be able to claim that beef in their possession was imported from outside Maharashtra. We will have no way to control this,” an officer explained, adding that the state’s appeal would point out these issues and ask for a re-look at the verdict.
The present law bans slaughter, as well as possession and consumption, of not only cows but even bulls and bullocks, which was previously allowed based on a fit-for-slaughter certificate. Post-ban, anyone found selling or possessing beef can be jailed for five years and fined
Rs 10,000. The government had also banned entry of beef from other states. Till date, 237 cases have been filed against people for allegedly violating the ban.
Meanwhile, the state government is putting final touches to its proposal to set up cattle sheds and provide financial help to institutions working in the field of cow protection. Vishwas Bhosale, Commissioner, Animal Husbandry Department, said the government resolution on this will soon be released. “We are also planning to open district-level laboratories for research on milk and its byproducts,” he said.
The state government has made budget allocation this year for individuals and institutions operating cowsheds. The state at present has 518 functional cowsheds that house approximately 1 lakh animals.