The Ministry of Environment and Forests on Thursday notified new rules under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, banning the sale of cows and buffaloes for slaughter at animal markets across India.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017, issued by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, allows only farmland owners to trade at animal markets. The Centre has also notified the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Care and Maintenance of Case Property Animals) Rules, 2017. The notification covers bulls, bullocks, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers and calves, as well as the camel trade. They also require anyone purchasing cattle to provide an undertaking that the animals are bought for agricultural purposes and not slaughter.
The Rules introduce paperwork for cow traders. For instance, before the trade, both seller and buyer will have to produce identity and farmland ownership documents. After buying a cow, a trader must make five copies of proof of sale and submit them at the local revenue office, the local veterinary doctor in the district of the purchaser, animal market committee, apart from one each for seller and buyer.
The Rules further provide for constitution of a District Animal Market Monitoring Committee, which will be headed by a Magistrate, for regulation of animal markets in the district. The local authority is then directed to make a list of animal markets functional prior to the commencement of the rules. Further, they ban setting of animal markets within 50 km of an international border and 25 km of a state border. Taking animal outside the State will require special approval of the State Government nominee.
The Rules go on to prohibit several practices as “cruel and harmful”. These include animal identification methods such as hot branding and cold branding; shearing and painting of horns, bishoping in horses and ear cutting in buffaloes; casting animals on hard ground without adequate bedding; and use of any chemicals or colors on body parts of animals. Further, the person in charge of an animal has been fixed with the responsibility to ensure that the animal is not caused injury or unnecessary pain or suffering. They also make it mandatory for veterinary inspector to certify proper loading and unloading of animals to ensure they are not cramped inside trucks. The inspector can proceed to mark any animal unfit for sale.
Read the Notification here.