New Delhi: The Union Environment Ministry yesterday modified the animal cruelty rules, making it mandatory to ensure the cattle are not bought or sold with a purpose of slaughtering. As the Ministry notified the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules-2017, it asserted that the aim is to regulate animal market and prevent cruelty.
The rules allow only farmland owners to trade at animal markets. The notification covers bulls, bullocks, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers and calves, as well as the camel trade. To ensure the rules are implemented, undertakings will have to be taken in the market by ‘District Animal Market Monitoring Committee’ (at district level) and ‘Animal Market Committee’ at local level.
“When someone comes to sell a cattle and someone is purchasing it, they have to give an undertaking that it is not for the slaughter purpose and the member secretary of the market has to take an undertaking and ensure from both the sides,” said Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan.
The rules also have specific directions in case of adoption the policy. “Any person who intends to adopt a seized animal from infirmary, Pinjrapole or animal welfare organisation has to furnish an undertaking that the animals are adopted for agriculture purpose and not for slaughter,” a Ministry statement added.
The Minister said that the aim of the rules is very specific and it is only to regulate the animal markets, sale of cattle in these markets, and to ensure the welfare of the cattle dealt. “It is strengthening the hand of the Government at the State-level and also strengthening the movement of prevention of cruelty to animals,” the Minister said. The rules were modified after seeking suggestions from the people, he added.
The ban will hurt millions of poor farmers and squeeze supplies to the country’s meat industry. The new rules do not amount to a blanket ban on cattle trade or their slaughter, and license breeding remains legal. But the move will crimp supplies to the country’s Rs. 1-lakh crore meat and allied industries which sources about 90% of their requirements from animal markets.
The worst hit, however, will be the mostly meat and leather traders who face mounting violence by increasingly assertive cow vigilante groups. Farmers will also be hit because they will be deprived of a traditional source of income from selling non-milch and ageing cattle.
RULES AT A GLANCE
Rule: Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017
Primary Act: Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960
The Rule applies to the whole of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
Cattle cannot be brought to an animal market for sale for slaughter.
Animal Market consists of: Marketplaces where animals are brought from other places for sale or auction. It includes animal fairs, or areas adjoining a market or a slaughterhouse.
Cattle as defined: A bovine animal including bulls, bullocks, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers and calves and includes camels.
All existing animal markets will have to be registered within three months with the District Animal Market Monitoring Committee by making an application to the Committee.
Cruel and harmful practices have been prohibited for animals including, painting of horns, ear cutting buffaloes, making animals lay on hard ground without proper bedding
Purchaser of cattle cannot sell animal for slaughter or sacrifice the animal for religious purposes.
The rule mandates the appointment of Veterinary inspectors who shall screen the animals before they enter the market. The inspector shall also check whether animals are being transported in trucks which are authorized by law to carry animals.