Fate of pending ‘slaughter’ patents hangs in balance

New cattle trade rules cast shadow over ‘patentability’ of devices, processes

Even as the Centre’s ban on sale of cattle for slaughter continues to be the subject of heated debates, it has emerged that efforts have been afoot for quite some time now to secure patent for different methods/devices for carrying out animal slaughter.

For instance, in 2015, Chennai-based Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (Tanuvas) had filed a patent for a device to stun animals before slaughter. The patent is still pending.

“Stunning is a process by which the animals intended for slaughter are made unconscious prior to sticking, so that they may not feel the pain or agony of death. This is considered a humane method of slaughter,” Tanuvas said in its patent application.

It also said the present invention related to an improved electrical stunner for stunning animals before slaughter.

“In particular, the invention relates to a low voltage, cost-effective electrical stunner which is safe and effective in stunning food animals like pigs, sheep, goats, emus, ostrich and turkeys, used in rural slaughter houses for practising humane slaughter.”

Says Kalyan C. Kankanala, senior partner, BananaIP Counsels: “The patent [application] does not specifically mention cow. However, the claim covers all types of animals, and in effect, that includes cow as well.”

Another patent

Another Indian patent application with regard to slaughter of animals was filed by Harm Kiezebrink. The patent was for a hygienic method of slaughtering with the primary objective of preventing spread of disease.

“The invention is particularly suited for the sanitary slaughter of poultry such as chickens, ducks and the like, in case of a breakout of a contagious disease,” said the patent abstract.

With the Centre tightening its grip on animal slaughter, the big question is what will happen to these pending patents.

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