The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests on 23 May 2017 came up with new regulations that ban the sale of all kinds of cattle for slaughter across India.
The rules were issued under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. It requires anyone purchasing cattle to provide an undertaking that the animals are bought for agricultural purposes and not slaughter.
The definition of cattle includes bulls, bullocks, cows, buffalos, steers, heifers, calves and camels.
The new rules will be implemented in the next three months.
Key highlights of the new regulations
• The cattle trade is permitted only among farm land owners across the nation.
• Cattle can only be sold to a person possessing documents that he/she is an agriculturist. A trader has to submit five copies of proof of sale at the local revenue office, the local veterinary doctor in the district of the purchaser, animal market committee, apart from one each for seller and buyer.
• The new regulations state that cattle bought cannot be resold within six months. It also states that young and unfit animals cannot be traded.
• Animal markets cannot be set up within 50 kilometres of an international border and 25 kilometres of a state border.
• Transporting cattle outside of India will require special approval of the state government nominee.
• All animal markets will have to seek the approval of district animal market committee to be headed by a magistrate. The committee will also have two representatives from government-approved animal welfare groups.
• The new regulations state around 30 norms for animal welfare in markets, like water, fans, bedding, ramps, non-slippery flooring, veterinary facility and separate enclosure for sick animals among others. The owner of the animal has to bear the cost of its upkeep in a shelter. In case, the owner is unable to pay, the cost would be recovered as land arrears. The state government will specify the costs every year on 1 April.
• The new rules do not amount to a wide ban on cattle slaughter or its trade. However, they will constrict supplies to India’s meat industry, which sources about 90 per cent of its requirement from animal markets.
• Also, the rule of cattle not being resold for six months will hurt the business of cattle traders. Farmers will also be hit because they will be deprived of a traditional source of income from selling non-milch and old cattle. Farmers who cannot take care of their cattle will have to pay for their upkeep in shelters.
• The new regulations have also introduced a lot of paperwork for cattle traders, who are predominantly illiterate and poor.
• It is also speculated that the new rules might introduce inspector raj as it mandates veterinary inspector to certify proper loading and unloading of animals.
When: 23 May 2017