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New cattle slaughter rules and their aftermath

May 31, 2017 12:42 pm | Updated December 03, 2021 05:08 pm IST

Animals for slaughter: A scene at the cattle market in Adilabad.

Animals for slaughter: A scene at the cattle market in Adilabad.

On May 26, the Environment Ministry came up with restrictions on sale of cattle for slaughter.

Under a notification, titled the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017, those who wish to sell cattle — bulls, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers and camels — may do so only after they formally state that the animals have not been “brought to the market for sale for slaughter”.

At the same time, buyers of cattle at animal markets will have to verify they are agriculturalists and declare that they will not sell the animal/s for a period of six months from the date of purchase.

The rules, notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on May 23, demand that buyers “follow the State cattle protection and preservation laws” and “not sacrifice the animal for any religious purpose”. They also prohibit cattle purchased from animal markets being sold outside the State, without permission.

The restrictions drew sharp criticism from opposition parties and southern and north-eastern states, where consumption of beef is culturally accepted even among Hindus. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan declared it was part of a plan to further the RSS agenda.

West Bengal, Karnataka, Tripura and Puducherry governments declared they wouldn't follow the newly laid rules. While the regional parties see this move imposition of 'majoritarian views' and a threat to plural fabric of the country, the Centre maintains that it was simply following Supreme Court guidelines.

Beef fests were organised in various parts of the country as a mark of protest. Representatives from the meat and livestock industry have expressed serious concern about the impact of the notification.

In the meantime, Selvagomathy, a Tamil Nadu activist has obtained a four-week stay on the notification.

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