Centre withdraws proposed livestock bill amid criticism

The proposed bill will open floodgates for an unregulated import and export of animals and also spoil the gene pool of native animals, say activists

By Shagun
Published: Wednesday 21 June 2023
Photo: iStock

The Centre on June 20, 2023 withdrew the 'Live-stock and Live-stock Products [Importation and Exportation] Bill, 2023’ two weeks after issuing its draft in the face of criticism from multiple quarters. 

The draft bill was issued on June 7, 2023 by the Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying. The draft bill, on which the ministry requested public comments by June 17, framed measures for regulating import of livestock and livestock products as well as their promotion and development of exports. 

However, the proposed bill faced sharp criticism from animal rights organisations and right-wing groups, especially on exporting live animals and on inclusion of canines and felines under the definition of ‘livestock’, meaning live canines and felines and their products can be imported and exported.

The withdrawal issued on June 20 stated that the proposed bill would need “wider consultation” after representations have been made expressing concerns. 

An office memorandum issued by Joint Secretary GN Singh on June 20, said:

The Live-stock Importation Act, 1898, being the pre-constitutional / pre-independence Central Act, a need has been felt to align it with the contemporary requirements and prevailing circumstances related to sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and its extant Allocation of Business Rules, 1961. Basically, DAHD’s (Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying) role is primarily pertaining to support by having upgraded livestock health facilities, hygiene etc., including animal welfare aspects for overall development of the animal husbandry sector.

However, during the consultation, it has been viewed that enough time is required to understand the proposed draft and to make further comments / suggestions, it added. “Further, the representations have been made expressing concerns on the proposed draft involving sensitivity and emotions with animal welfare and related aspects, and, hence, would need wider consultation.”

“Considering the aforesaid views and with the approval of the competent authority, the proposed draft Bill stands withdrawn," the order said. 

The proposed bill, the activists had said, will open the floodgates for an unregulated import and export of animals and also spoil the gene pool of native animals.

On June 20, a group of animal lovers had also met the Union minister for fisheries, animal husbandry and dairying, Purushottam Rupala, and demanded to remove certain sections of the draft. 

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