The Vasundhara Raje government is alarmed by the abandonment of cows in the state and has decided to track cattle by planting microchips on them. The state government is in the process of bringing in an amendment in the Rajasthan Goshala Act 1960 as part of which, all cattle breeders will have to register themselves with the animal husbandry department and keep track of their cattle through microchips.
The state government is also mulling a provision of insurance on cattle so that old and frail cows are not abandoned but looked after till they perish. Though the Raje government has not brought up the issue of beef ban, the state has taken several steps so far to provide a safe haven for cows like setting up new police outposts to curb cow trafficking, a full-fedged department for cow protection or now the introduction of microchip tracking.
Senior government officials said that the move was made after a ban on cow slaughter led to abandonment of old cows. It has been found that cows from the state are trafficked in large numbers to neighbouring states for slaughter.
Meanwhile, the state legislative assembly passed the Rajasthan Camel (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Bill banning slaughter of camels in the state. Last year the government had announced camel as the state animal and called for a ban on its slaughter.
The bill passed through a voice vote imposes a five-year jail term and a hefty fine for slaughtering or injuring camels that are extensively used for domestic, agricultural and tourism purposes.
Statistics show a sharp decline in the camel population in Rajasthan. In 1997 there were as many as 7,00,000 camels that came down to 4,98,000 in 2003 marking a decline of about 23 per cent. This fell by another 18 per cent by 2007.