In new rules notified by the Environment Ministry, the Centre banned the sale of all kinds of cattle for slaughter at animal markets across the country. The rules, issued under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, require anyone purchasing cattle to provide an undertaking that the animals are bought for agricultural purposes and not slaughter. The new notification also adds a large amount of paperwork for every transaction involving cattle at animal markets, expecting numerous records and five copies of the proof of sale, each of which is to be handed to various authorities.
The notification is likely to have a major impact on cattle slaughter across the country – even though it does not itself ban slaughter. It requires cattle trade at animal markets to only take place for agricultural purposes. And the definition of cattle includes bulls, bullocks, cows, buffalos, steers, heifers, calves and camels.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests on Thursday rolled out new rules under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and banned the sale of cows to slaughterhouses across India except for most parts of north-east India and Kerala, which the farmers, being unhappy, called an assault on agriculture.
In the new rules that have been charted out, the Centre has allowed the trade of cows only among farmland owners across India. Farmers have been seeing the new rule as an assault on agriculture. The rules will be implemented in next three months.
“Take an undertaking that the animals are bought for agriculture purposes and not for slaughter,” says the rule notified under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960. The provision also says that the cattle cannot be resold within six months.
“To say you cannot sell the cattle for six months from the date of purchase or cannot sell infirm cattle will cripple the farmer in a drought situation,” Vijoo Krishnan, national joint secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha, said.
A person can only sell animals if he proves that he is an agriculturist. The rule also says that “young” and “unfit animals” cannot be sold.
The ministry has also restricted setting of animal markets within 50 kilometres of an international border and 25 kilometres of a state border. No animal market will now be able to operate without the approval of the district animal market committee.
In the difficult financial times, the sale of cows is the only way the farmers can survive and overcome such difficulties. Such rules will not only restrict the flow of trade across India but will also push farmers into debt, said Vijoo Krishnan. “To say you cannot sell the cattle for six months from the date of purchase or cannot sell infirm cattle will cripple the farmer in a drought situation,” he added.