Every year, tens of thousands of cattle are routinely smuggled across the borders into Nepal for sacrifice
Absence of regulation means animals in livestock markets are routinely denied access to food and water. Credit: Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble/ Flicker
The Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC) today (January 20) announced plans to issue rules prescribing a comprehensive procedure for care, cost, maintenance, veterinary treatment and overall well-being of animals seized from markets and from cases of cruelty. The rules will be published for public comments before being notified.
The Humane Society International/India (HIS) and People for Animals (PFA) have played a significant role approaching the judiciary for the government to implement these rules.
Every year, tens of thousands of cattle are routinely smuggled across the borders into Nepal for sacrifice and Bangladesh for slaughter. Animals confiscated during such transport are either returned to the accused pending litigation, or auctioned. In both scenarios, the animals return to the trade, defeating the purpose of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. In a similar vein, the absence of regulation means animals in livestock markets are routinely denied access to food, water, veterinary facilities and other basic amenities.
In a petition filed in Supreme Court against smuggling of cattle to Nepal for the Gadhimai sacrifice, the court sought recommendations from the stakeholders for preventing such activities. The recommendations included formation of State Animal Welfare Board at state level, Society for prevention of cruelty to animals (SPCA) at district level, regulation of livestock markets and establishment of procedures to deal with case property animals among other things. The court observed the necessity of these aforementioned regulations and recorded the recommendations in its order.
Gauri Maulekhi, trustee at the PFA and government liaison for HSI/India said, “We welcome this move of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. If the government can seriously implement these rules, it will help save indigenous cattle. These rules will help bring much-needed respite to tens of thousands of animals who are subjected to unthinkable cruelty in livestock markets.”
The ministry made the announcement at a press conference held in New Delhi today. These rules are being framed in compliance of directions given by the Supreme Court.
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