Tamil Nadu banned cow slaughter in 1976

A low-down on the laws prevailing in the State and elsewhere, and the factors that drove them

Updated - June 05, 2017 07:36 am IST

Published - June 03, 2017 10:17 pm IST - CHENNAI

Final journey:   The laws broadly lay down the manner in which slaughter can be carried out after getting a ‘fit-for-slaughter’ certificate.

Final journey: The laws broadly lay down the manner in which slaughter can be carried out after getting a ‘fit-for-slaughter’ certificate.

As a controversy rages over the new rules regulating the sale of cattle through animal markets and amidst claims that the rules amounted to a ban on cattle slaughter, we try to answer a few questions on the prevailing norms in Tamil Nadu.

What is the legal position in Tamil Nadu regarding the slaughter of animals ?

The State follows the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughter House) Rules, 2001, framed by the Union government, and the Tamil Nadu Animal Preservation Act, 1958. The laws broadly lay down the manner in which slaughter can be carried out after getting a ‘fit-for-slaughter’ certificate. This certificate is issued if an animal – bull, bullock or buffalo – is over 10 years of age and is unfit for work and breeding. The slaughter certificate will also be given if the animal is permanently incapacitated for work and breeding due to injury or deformity or any incurable disease.

What about cows?

Cow slaughter is completely banned in the State. In 1976, the State government, which was under President’s rule at that time, passed a G.O. that banned slaughter of cows and calves. It is still in force.

Why did the change in rules come about?

There was a demand by various organisations in the State for a ban on cow slaughter, after it was felt that slaughtering cows and heifers was affecting the rural economy and impacting milk production. On August 30, 1976, the Agriculture Department passed the G.O. It said slaughter of cows and heifers was “reducing the availability of breeding stock for upgradation of milch animals and also leads to a fall in the output of farmyard manure”.

How do the rules compare with other Southern States?

In neighbouring Puducherry, slaughter of cow is totally prohibited and there is also a ban on the sale and transport of beef. Violating the ban will attract imprisonment of up to two years. It is a cognisable and non-bailable offence. In Karnataka, “slaughter of cow, calf of a cow or calf of a she-buffalo is totally prohibited” under the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964. Only bulls, bullocks, and adult buffaloes can be slaughtered with a ‘fit-for slaughter’ certificate.

This applies only if the cattle are over 12 years of age. Also, transport for slaughter to a place outside the State is not permitted. Sale, purchase or disposal of cow or calf for slaughter is also not permitted. In Kerala, panchayat laws prohibit the slaughter of useful animals.

As per the Kerala Panchayat (Slaughter Houses and Meat Stalls) Rules, 1964, no permission shall be granted to slaughter animals if they are below 10 years of age and are fit for normal purposes. In 1976, the government issued an executive order that banned slaughter of ‘useful animals’ in municipal areas as well.

In Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, “slaughter of bull and bullock is allowed on a ‘fit-for-slaughter’ certificate, to be given only if the animal is not economical or is not likely to become economical for the purpose of breeding or draught/agricultural operations.”

What is the punishment for violation of rules?

In Tamil Nadu, anyone found guilty of violating the rules can attract imprisonment of up to three years or a fine of ₹1,000, or both. While the fine amount is same in Puducherry, the imprisonment period is up to two years. Violation of the rules in Puducherry is also a cognisable and non-bailable offence. In Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, punishment will be imprisonment up to 6 months or a fine of ₹1,000 or both.

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