NEW DELHI: The Centre has banned sale of cattle in animal markets for slaughter and livestock will only be sold to persons providing undertaking that the animals are bought for agriculture purpose after verifying revenue documents that purchaser is an agriculturist.
The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has come up with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 after amending the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
The rules come at a time when there have been incidents of people transporting cattle attacked by men affiliated to gau rakshak groups. The rules do not ban cattle slaughter or trade but regulate animal markets and illegal trade.
India being world’s largest beef exporter, the new regulations are expected to have an adverse impact on the meat industry.
The notification of May 23 lays rules for both seller and purchaser of cattle. According to ministry, “cattle” means a bovine animal including bulls, bullocks, cows, buffalos, steers, heifers and calves and includes camels.
Cattle cannot be sold outside the state with permission of authorities. A seller bringing the cattle to animal market is supposed to furnish a written declaration signed by the owner of the cattle stating that the cattle has not been brought to market for sale for slaughter.
It also calls for setting up Animal market monitoring committees at state and district levels which will implement the rules and supervise livestock markets.
Upon sale of cattle, committee will take an undertaking that the animals are bought for agriculture purposes and not for slaughter, verify that the purchaser is an agriculturist by seeing the relevant revenue document and ensure that the purchaser of the animal gives a declaration that he shall not sell the animal up to six months.
The purchaser of the cattle shall give an undertaking not to sell the animal for purpose of slaughter, not sacrifice the animal for any religious purpose and cannot sell the cattle to a person outside the state without the permission as per the State cattle protection or preservation laws.
Animal market monitoring committees will also identify and register existing animal markets. Proposed new markets must also submit blueprints to the District Committee prior to being established.
To check cattle trafficking on international borders, especially Bangladesh, rules says that no animal market shall be allowed in a place that is situated within 30 kilometres from any state border or that is situated within 100 kilometres from any international border.
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.
“Due to the present system of open markets that allow trade of both milch and slaughter animals, and multiple buyers and sellers, it becomes impossible to trace an animal back to its farm of origin. The Rules prohibit the sale of animals for slaughter through the livestock markets so that animals for slaughter could be sought directly from farms, thus ensuring traceability and food safety,” said N G Jayasimha, former member, Legal sub-committee, Animal Welfare Board of India.