Selling of Cows For Slaughter Banned: Here’s What You Need to Know

Cattle can only be traded for agricultural purposes at the animal markets.

2 min read
A report submitted to the Supreme Court by the Centre suggests recommendations that include allocation of a ‘unique identification number’ for cows. (Photo: Reuters)

On Tuesday, the Centre put a pan-India ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets, a ruling which will hurt millions of poor farmers and pinch the supplies from the country’s meat industry.

The central regulation for cattle business was notified this week, allowing only farmland owners to trade at animal markets. Cows, bulls, bullocks, buffaloes, steers, heifers, calves and camels are under the notification’s ambit.

The new rules apply only to animal markets and not to individual cattle buying and selling by people.

Here is what you need to know on cow slaughter ban:

  • No person shall permit an unfit animal to be sold in an animal market.
  • No person shall permit an animal to be offered or displayed for sale in an animal market if it is likely to give birth while it is there or during its transportation.
  • When an animal is sold and before its removal, the animal market committee shall take an undertaking that the animals are bought for agriculture purposes and not for slaughter.
  • Committee to keep a record of name and address of the purchaser and procure his identity proof.
  • Committee to verify that the purchaser is an agriculturist by seeing the relevant revenue document.
  • Committee to ensure that the purchaser of the animal gives a declaration that he shall not sell the animal up to six months from the date of purchase and shall abide by the rules relating to transport of animals made under the Act or any other law for the time being in force.
  • Committee to retain such record for a period of six months from the date of sale.
  • The purchaser shall not sell the cattle for slaughter.
  • The purchaser shall not sacrifice the animal for any religious purpose.
  • The purchaser shall not sell the cattle to a person outside the state without permission as per the state cattle protection or preservation laws.

Experts predict that the worst hit from the rules will be Muslim meat and leather traders who are increasingly facing violence from aggressive cow vigilante groups.

Farmers will also be affected as they will be deprived of the compensation they get from selling aged or non-milch cattle. Farmers may now have to spend on feeding their aged cattle or the animals will have to be abandoned.

The move will be implemented in the next three months and involves mounting paperwork for the mostly poor and illiterate cow traders.

Former Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave had approved the rules before his death last week. The rules were drafted by the ministry on Supreme Court directives aimed at improving the conditions of animals in these markets.

Several BJP-led states since 2014 have tightened regulation on cow slaughter.

Many opine that the bovine protection is a proxy-war that the government is waging against Muslims and Dalits, which was epitomised in the lynching of cattle trader Pehlu Khan in Rajasthan in April or the flogging of Dalits in Rajasthan’s Una in 2016.

India’s meat industry is worth Rs 1 lakh crore and the exports were worth Rs 26,303 crore in 2016-17.

Uttar Pradesh is the market leader with Andhra Pradesh coming in second, followed by West Bengal and Telangana. Most Indian states hold weekly animal markets which even attract traders from neighbouring states.

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