In perhaps a first-of-its-kind order, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has intervened on the issue of illegal cattle trafficking in the State and ordered the police to crackdown on violators and file a report within two weeks.
The commission, which heard on Wednesday a petition filed by a few animal rights activists, said that the matter involved human rights issues as well as the cattle, which are hardly ever certified, end up in the plates of humans and cause health hazard.
In their petition, People for Cattle in India, an NGO, listed several entry and exit points on the State borders through which cattle were being illegally transported into the State. The petitioners also listed hundreds of cases to prove their point.
Based on the petition, the SHRC, had on November 7, summoned the inspectors of the seven relevant areas to be present before it on Wednesday. However, three among them did not appear.
Counsel for the petitioners, K Sudhan, argued that all guidelines provided in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act on transport of animals are being flouted rights under the nose of the police.
This included the rule that only six animals can be transported in a truck and that they had to be provided food and water during transit. Trucks also need to be covered to provide shade and a government-authorised veterinarian should certify the animals. The counsel said the police were also slack in filing FIRs in the case. When SHRC Member Jayanthi questioned the police officers of Kavarapettai in Tiruvallur, Chengalpet, Hosur Town and Krishnagiri on the number of cases that have been booked this year in the mentioned points, the officers said not more than five had been lodged.
“Given the material provided, it is certain that at least 50 such trucks pass by these points every day. Are you telling me you have booked only five cases in a year? This is bad,” she said.
The Member said that one of the reasons for the violations taking place was the collusion between police officers and the violators. “Collusion is certainly involved. You have to deal with this,” she said and added that the issue involved health and environment hazards.
Therefore, she directed the officers to start booking cases immediately and file an action-taken report by November 27 on how many trucks have been seized in the interim period and what action has been taken.
When the officers pointed out the difficulties in keeping the cattle, the Member said they could coordinate with the NGO. .
The Superintendents and Joint Commissioners of Police of the relevant jurisdiction were asked to ensure enforcement of the commission’s directions.
“Any truck that violates the six guidelines provided by the Act should be impounded certainly. We will issue further orders after the report comes,” she said.