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Ban on Cow slaughter : The Constitutional Law and PCA act 1960

Ban on Cow slaughter
Animal markets referred to as “haatt” in India by agriculturists and farmers were incepted to help the farmers trade animals among themselves, for instance, a farmer had a cow who gave birth to a calf and the farmer was in no position to raise a second cow or was in need of some extra cash, the farmer could conveniently go to the animal market and sell the calf off to a farmer who was willing to adopt it.
Sadly enough over the past 15 years the situation of the animal markets drastically changed, it was seen that the majority of customers coming to the market were butchers and the unwanted cattle was being bought off by these butchers in order to be slaughtered for their meat.
To regulate the sale , purchase and slaughtering of cattle , also to make sure that animal markets are used for the purpose with which they were formed at the time of their inception the government of India has updated the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 to Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017

The condition of slaughterhouses was brought to the attention of the Indian government was when In October 2014, Gauri Maulekhi (People for Animals Uttarakhand (PFA) and Humane Society International (HSI) consultant) filed a petition against the illegal transportation of animals from India to Nepal for slaughter , according to her a lot of animals were being taken from the Indian animal markets and being sacrificed in the Gadhimai festival.

In July 2015, Supreme court asked the government of India to make guidelines to stop the illegal transportation of animals,The supreme court immediately ordered the formation of a committee in order to act upon the situation.In A Gazette notification, the environment ministry banned the sale of all kinds of cattle slaughter at animal markets nationwide by ministry of environment , forest and climate change later the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules , 2017 , have been framed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act , 1960. Was passed and applied to the entire country except for Jammu and Kashmir.

The act has not imposed a ban on animal markets rather it has regulated the trade in these markets to prevent buying of cattle by the slaughterhouses which have been enumerated in the act, section 22 of the to Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules , 2017 states “Restriction on exhibition and training of performing animals :

No person shall exhibit or train
(i) any performing animal unless he is registered in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter;
(ii) as a performing animal, any animal which the Central Government may, by notification in the official Gazette, specify as an animal which shall not be exhibited or trained as a performing animal.

The section imposes a compulsion on both the buyer and seller to sign the written declaration explicitly stating that “the animal has not been brought to the market for sale slaughter” and “the animal is being bought for agricultural purposes and not slaughter” respectively.

The rules have also defined cattle to mean ‘cow, calf, bull, bullock, buffalo, heifer, steer and camel.’
to facilitate the proper implementation of the new rules the government of India has constituted District Animals Monitoring Committee ( for the registration of markets and Animal Market Commuter( for the local level management of these markets). The government of India has introduced a new set of rules which will regulate sale and purchase of cattle in animal markets.

Highlights of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017:

· Purchaser cannot sell animals for slaughter or sacrifice the animal for a religious purpose.
· The appointment of veterinary inspectors is mandatory at markets.
· In reference to the Gandhimai festival “no market shall be organized in a place situated 25 kilometers from a state or which is within 50 kilometers from an international border.”

Adverse impacts of the new rules
  •  The farmers previously were in a position to sell their unproductive cows off to slaughterhouses and get a hefty sum in return, if there is no longer a market for these cows, the farmers can only set them loose which would result in them adding to the already huge population of stray animals in the country.
  • Selling off cattle for slaughter came as easy money to the farmers, estimates suggest that 40 % of a dairy farms income is derived from the sale of unproductive cows.
  • With the European Union, Australia, New Zealand and the Us literally waiting to dump large volumes of milk powder into India and Indian dairy co operatives fighting hard to stop this, it is extremely foolish of the government to kill dairying in the name of animal welfare.
  • India’s leather industry will also be largely impacted as, leather is made from buffalo skin and old cattle can no longer be bought for the purpose of slaughtering, even carcasses of dead buffaloes cannot be used by the leather industry as they fall under the definition of cattle, the leather industry is the most adversely affected even after the buffaloes has no religious value for hindus.
Even though the act has a lot of loopholes which will have to be resolved in the long run, it can be said that The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets Rules, 2017 is a step in the right direction as over everything else the new rules stand for what means the most to a country like India which has the words democratic and secular in its preamble, the government has managed to beautifully update an old act while keeping in mind the changing times and also the needs of the farmers and agriculturists who were falling victim to the practises carried out in the animal markets.

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