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Saturday, July 24, 2021

Gauhati High Court stays Nagaland govt’s ban on dog meat

The petitioners — who are dog meat traders licensed under the Kohima Municipal Council — said that their business and livelihood has been adversely affected by the ban and added to the pandemic situation prevailing in the state.

By: Express Web Desk | Guwahati |
Updated: November 29, 2020 6:20:32 pm
The Nagaland government’s decision to ban dog meat came into effect on July 4, 2019. Cruelty was cited as the reason for banning dog meat trade in Nagaland. (Representational)

The Kohima bench of the Gauhati High Court has stayed the Nagaland government’s decision to ban the commercial sale of dog meat. Hearing a petition by licensed dog meat traders, Justice S Hukato Swu Friday said that the order “may be stayed until the next returnable date” since the state government had not submitted a response yet.

The Nagaland government’s decision to ban dog meat came into effect on July 4. In a notification, signed by Chief Secretary Temjen Toy, the government had banned the “commercial import and trading of dogs and dog markets” and “commercial sale of dog meat in markets and dine in restaurants” following a Cabinet meeting on July 3. The government cited the Food Safety & Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulation 201, FSSAI as the main reason for the ban.

July’s government’s order came shortly after MP and animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi issued a statement on the “unabated” killing and eating of dogs in Nagaland. She also requested people to email the Chief Secretary of Nagaland requesting him to stop “dog bazaars and dog restaurants” in the state.” On July 2, the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisation also issued a statement appealing to the government to enforce a ban.

After the government’s announcement, people from some sections of Nagaland took to social media to protest the ban citing it as an imposition to the state’s traditional culture.

Dog meat — considered a delicacy among certain communities of Nagaland and some other parts of the Northeast — has been traditionally consumed in parts of the state for decades. Certain communities in Nagaland also consider dog meat to have medicine properties.

The petitioners — who are dog meat traders licensed under the Kohima Municipal Council — said that their business and livelihood has been adversely affected by the ban and added to the pandemic situation prevailing in the state. They also argued that the Chief Secretary, who passed the order, was not the statutory authority to do so. They pointed out that “procedural steps” as mandated under the Food Safety Standards were not followed.

“The procedure requires that on observation if any food which is intended for sale appears to be not in conformity with standard rules would be subject to analysis scientifically and thereafter come to a finding that the particular food is either fit or unfit for consumption. All these procedural steps as mandated under the Act has been violated, therefore, there is a violation of the procedural law” said the petitioners.

The next hearing is scheduled after winter break.

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