Faced with backlash from cattle traders and farmers against the ban on sale of cattle for slaughter, the Centre is planning a rollback of its controversial notification.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests has decided to withdraw the ban following feedback it received from the states on its May 23 notification on the revision of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Market) Rules, 2017. But the government is yet to decide the time-frame for the process, the Indian Express reported.
The notification on cattle slaughter had sparked severe controversy with people criticising the BJP-led NDA government for trying to impose a ban on food habits based on religious grounds. Cow vigilantes emboldened by the ban have lynched at least two people in Alwar, Rajasthan, for transporting cattle, and have attacked several others in the name of the cow. The governments of Kerala, West Bengal and Meghalaya have protested against the Centre's ban.
Farmers, hit badly by the ban, also raised questions as they couldn't sell cattles past their prime in markets due to the ban.
Earlier in September, Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan had said that the rules were a “regulatory regime” for preventing cruelty to animals and the government “did not intend to directly or indirectly affect slaughterhouses or harm farmers” or “influence the food habits of people”. Following this, the Ministry had asked the states to provide their opinion on the notification.
Two sets of letters were being sent to the states by the Ministry seeking their feedback on the notification. It had also ensured that new draft would be framed based on the response, reported the Indian Express.
The Supreme court in July had extended the stay on the ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter to the whole country which was earlier put on hold by the Madras High Court. The interim stay was on the implementation of rules, specifically Rule 22(b)(iii), that required a person bringing cattle for sale to the market to furnish a written declaration that it would not be sold for slaughter.