NEW DELHI: Amdist growing controversy over recent cattle slaughter notification, the government Sunday said that it is open to review the suggestions submitted by various stakeholders against ban on sale or purchase of cattle for slaughter animal market and there is no prestige issue.
Reiterating that the ban has nothing to do with influencing food habits or meat business, Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said that the intention was to ensure welfare of animals and to control their smuggling.
“We will review the suggestions submitted by various stakeholders and it is not a prestige issue for the government,” Vardhan said hinting that the Centre may consider removing buffalo from the list of animals banned to be sold or bought for slaughtering in animal markets.
The centre’s move last month has drawn criticism from various quarters with Kerala and West Bengal calling the decision undemocratic, unconstitutional and impinging upon the rights of states. Beef festivals were held in Kerala to register protest and Kerala CM has even written to all chief ministers on the issue.
"The new notification under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act is not to influence food habits or affect slaughtering business but protect animals," said Vardhan.
The Madras High Court had stayed for four weeks the enforcement of the Centre’s order. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 do not ban cattle slaughter or trade but regulate animal markets and illegal trade. The notification includes bulls, bullocks, cows, buffalos, steers, heifers and calves and includes camels.
Several farmers’ organizations and meat trader groups have been sending their representation to the ministry of environment and forests, mentioning how it will impact the meat business. India is the world’s largest buffalo meat exporter and the new regulations are expected to have an adverse impact on the meat industry.
Livestock market rules will regulate all of India’s live animal markets. Some of the largest cattle markets are hosted by Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh every year.