The National Green Tribunal has directed the Kerala government to inform it about the steps taken to prevent rapid decline in the population of indigenous breeds of cattle in the state. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar noted that there was nearly 80 per cent decline in the animal population in that state from 2003 to 2012 and said that such a condition may lead to extinction of the species in the state.
“The applicant points out that the affidavit filed on behalf of the state of Kerala, firstly, is not comprehensive enough in compliance to the order of the tribunal. Secondly, such affidavit reads, it shows nearly 80 per cent decline in the animal population in that state, figure of 3,87,182 in 2003 and 77045 in 2012.
“We direct the Secretary concerned of the State Government to be present before the tribunal on the next date of hearing and has to explain as to what steps have been taken by the state government to prevent such rapid decline which may in fact, lead to extinction of the species in that state. It shall also be informed to the tribunal, what is the present strength of the species in that state,” the bench said.
The order came while hearing a plea filed by lawyer Ashwini Kumar who had moved the tribunal against the “looming threat of extinction of indigenous breeds of cattle” in the country and sought directions to the Centre to ensure that cattle are not slaughtered.
The tribunal had earlier issued a notice to Agriculture Ministry on the plea also seeking a nationwide ban on the slaughter of indigenous breeds of cattle.
Kumar had claimed a steep decline in the indigenous cow population and said that Indian cattle were being replaced across the country by exotic and cross-bred cows imported from Europe, Australia and the US.
“Even developed countries are taking steps to preserve diversity in livestock and taking substantial steps to preserve and conserve their domestic livestock species,” the plea had said.
Kumar had blamed government authorities in the national, state and at the local level for being a silent spectator to this extinction.