The State government has taken action to end one of the most inhuman practices followed in slaughterhouses across the State.

Repeated hammering on the head of the animal in the name of stunning before slaughtering has brought much disrepute to the State besides inviting the wrath of animal lovers and related agencies.

An order on instructions regarding slaughtering of animals issued by the Department of Animal Husbandry directed the local bodies to take immediate action to end the brutal method of stunning. “All local self-government, grama panchayat, municipality, and corporation are hereby instructed to ensure that the practice of “repeated hammering” on the head before slaughter is discontinued immediately and penal action be initiated against any person who is found violating these provisions,” said the order issued by Subrata Biswas, Principal Secretary to the State government, Department of Animal Husbandry.

The order observed that it has come to the notice that the method of stunning the animals before slaughter has been distorted to “repeated hammering” on the head. The Union government had promulgated the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughter House) Rules 2001 in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-sections (1) and (2) of Section 38 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

“This method (repeated hammering on the head) is in violation of the above mentioned Rule and read with various provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, and the Indian Penal Code,” the order dated November 19 said.

The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughter House) Rules 2001 also requires every slaughterhouse to have at the earliest a separate space for stunning of animals prior to slaughter, bleeding, and dressing of carcasses. Majority of the slaughterhouses in the State have not yet complied with these directions.

The order directed the local self-government bodies to ensure that captive bolt pistol (a device used for stunning animals prior to slaughter) method is adopted in every slaughterhouse within six months from the date of the order.

“In the interim, the butchers shall be asked to use a “deep cut method,” which involves a swift deep cut to the neck with a sharp knife to sever both the carotid arteries,” the order said.

This direction is equally important considering that butchers at most slaughterhouses hack at animals' throats with dull, rusted blades inflicting much pain to the animal besides raising questions of hygiene about the meat.

The order further asked each local body to effectively implement the order in all slaughterhouses and report back to the government within a month.

The copy of the order has been issued among others to the secretary of the local self-government department, district collectors, chairpersons and secretaries of local bodies, district police chiefs, directors of panchayat, urban affairs, and the animal husbandry department.

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