New Delhi, May 26 (newsin.asia): The Indian government has banned the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter, a move that is expected to hit trade in and export of meat and leather and ruin farmers who are reeling under great stress because of draught and debt.
The government has also prohibited practices that are cruel to animals including painting of horns and putting ornaments or decorative materials on them.
The environment ministry has notified the stringent ‘Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017’ under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said the new rules are very “specific” and aim to regulate animal markets and sale of cattle.
According to Indian Express, farmers in Maharashtra have threatened to abandon their cattle in cities, a fallout of the ban on beef. Maharashtra’s new law has led to the closure of most cattle markets — 80 per cent as estimated by farmers as well as Department of Animal Husbandry officials — and the unsold stock is more than the already packed shelters can accommodate.
The cattle that farmers want to dump on the streets are the old, infirm ones, said Swambhimani Shetkari Sanghatana youth president Ravikant Tupkar. Farmers would otherwise have sold these off so that they could invest in new cattle. Such transactions mostly happen during April-May, allowing farmers to buy the new cattle ahead of June-July sowing season, Tupkar said.
“Farmers cannot afford the upkeep of the old cattle, which would cost them Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 every month. The normal life span of a cow or a bull is 20 years and it remains active for 10 to 12 years. Farmers would soon transport these infirm animals to urban centres,” Tupkar said.
“The ban is a result of pressure from sethjis in the cities, so let them look after the animals. With repeated droughts and a complete breakdown of the agrarian economy, the farmer will not be able to look after them,” Tupkar said.
Until the ban, trade in Maharashtra’s cattle markets reached an average 300,000 to 400000 stock every year. Prices have dropped by half since the ban.
“There are more than 100 cattle markets in the state where such trading happens. The biggest of such markets is near Ahmednagar, but since the ban has come into force, most of the markets have closed down.” Tupkar said.
The organisation is in the process of finalizing a massive agitation.
“If the government does not provide a financial package to help farmers look after such cattle, we will transport the animals to the sethjis who brought about the ban,” he said.
Senior officers admitted that their office is not clear about how they should deal with the old and infirm animals whose numbers will keep swelling year after year.
“The state has 140 cow shelters but all of them are run by private parties. The government should now clarify where we can accommodate these animals,” said a senior officer.
(The featured image above shows an Indian rural cattle market)