When a petition seeking ban of meat exports and state involvement in meat trade came for admission before the bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur, he asked "Do you want the entire country to be full of vegetarians?". The bench of Justice Madan Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta has sought response of Central Government in the matter.
"We cannot pass an order that everyone should become vegetarian," the bench told the counsel appearing for the petitioner organisation.
The petition filed by "Healthy, Wealthy, Ethical, World Guide India Trust" submits that killing of living creatures and making profit out of it is a "cruel, loathsome, barbaric and unconstitutional" policy, and therefore State should not promote, encourage or support meat trade for the purposes of both export and domestic consumption. At the outset, the petition clarifies that it is against meat exports and state involvement in meat industry and not against private domestic meat production.
The petition seeks to declare meat trade as "res extra commercium", and wants to forbid State involvement in it.
It is pointed out that Articles 48 and 51A of the Constitution highlights the concern of Constitution for animal rights. The decision of SC in Mirzapur and Jellikettu cases highlight the "organic and compassionate nature of Constitution". Indian Constitution mandates all citizens to have compassion towards all living creatures. Based on the said cases, it is asserted by the petitioner that the SC has parens patria jurisdiction to take care of the rights of animals, since they are unable to take care of themselves against human beings.
"It is very crucial in the public interest to stop the Indian State from promoting a trade which is essentially destructive of life, violative of Constitution, Animal Welfare statutes, and threatening rights and lives of both humans and living creatures." states the petition.
Meat Export Illegal
It is the case of the petitioners that meat export is against the dictum of seven judges bench of SC in Mirzapur case, which permitted killing of only "unproductive" or "useless" cattle. According to the petitioners, there is no such thing as "unproductive" or "useless" cattle, because cattle dung is highly useful in organic farming. Meat exports and anciliary leather trade and the "much talked about foreign exchange' comes at a huge cost. "The meat exporters do not talk about the rampant pollution that emanates from this obnoxious industry, and the irreparable and immeasurable loss to human health, cattle wealth and degradation of environment". Slaughter houses and tanneries are the biggest contributors of pollution, states the petitioner.
The petitioner also points out that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act permits killing of animals only for "local requirements". Hence, legislature has not willed the killing of animals beyond the requirements of domestic consumption. So, Central Government's promotion of meat export is against statute.
It is further asserted in the petition that meat exports deprive the nation of precious cattle dung, which plays a vital role in organic farming.
"The Indian State cannot participate in a "cut-throat" activity that snuffs out life, that slits open and chops living tissues, and without compunction extracts every pound of flesh to sustain its illegal blood thirsty commercial operations", states the petition.