Sunday, 4 June 2017

Anti Slaughter Rules

  • The Government of India's innocuous sounding amendment, ‘Restrictions on sale of cattle’ promises to be the final death knell of cattle and buffaloes in India, and along with them, the destruction of what little remains of a dignified life and livelihood for farmers.
  • The rules defines ‘cattle’ to mean “cow, calf, bull, bullock, buffalo, heifer, steer and camel”.
  • The notification is another instance of the ‘mischievous and deceptive’ law-making practice involving camouflaging a controversial provision with seemingly progressive and innocuous provisions in order to deceive and mislead the general public.
  • The notifications breaks the steady supply of cattle to slaughter houses and operations and beef exporters.
  • The rules will hurt mostly Muslim traders who face mounting violence by increasingly assertive cow vigilante groups. Farmers will also be hit because they will be deprived of a traditional source of income from selling non-milch and old cattle. Farmers who can't take care of their cattle will have to pay for their upkeep in shelters.
  • The move introduces lots of paperwork for cow traders who are mostly poor and illiterate. 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. An insanity at its best!
  • Slaughtering means 'the act of killing or butchering of livestock for market';
    Cruelty means 'disposed to inflict pain or suffering'.
  • By equating ‘slaughter’ with 'cruelty' and criminalizing the trading of animals for slaughter at animal markets as an act of cruelty, the central government has enforced a country-wide ban on the slaughter of buffaloes and cattle, leather industry and the consumption of beef.
  • These new rules choke the free movement of animals via the markets undermining the freedom and rights of farmers, traders and all others whose livelihoods are linked to this production cycle that sustains cattle and buffaloes of this country.
  • It is pertinent to note that the Act does not prevent slaughtering of animals. The Act permits destruction or killing of animals for the purposes of food on the condition that such destruction was not accompanied by unnecessary pain and suffering. Slaughter houses which slaughters 90% of cattle, sources cattle from middlemen & animal markets which will now become defunct with this ban order.
  • The dairy farmer's life and livelihood are at stake because 40% of a dairy farm’s income is derived from the sale of unproductive cows & buffaloes.
  • The assumptions that (i) there is always a farmer ready to purchase another’s cow or bullock and (ii) a farmer will be willing to retain or buy an unproductive cow, buffalo or bullock are totally false. 
  • During drought times, everyone looks to sell their cows and bullocks for want of water and fodder and the farmers gets a reasonable price in the market because of traders involved in the trade of animals for slaughter.
  • Indian beef is in great demand in the world market because it is cheaper and India is the largest beef exporter.
    - Meat exports are over 1.3 million tonnes per annum of which 95% is beef..
    - Meat exports industry is Rs.27,000 crores pa.
    - Leather market is estimated at Rs.40,000 crores pa.
    - Dairying is Rs.80,000 crores pa.
    - Cattle trading is the livelihood of about 15 million Muslims.
    - About 35 million people depend on slaughtering, beef & leather industry.
    - In all, 50 million people are dependent on cattle related businesses.
    - Majority of rural population supplement their meager incomes with dairying.
    - Most workers in leather industry are Dalits.
    - Only 10% of buffaloes heads for slaughter houses.
  • The number of animals in milk - cows & buffaloes are about 100 million. Out of which approximately 10% i.e. 10 million unproductive cows & buffaloes are slaughtered every year. With this ban, who will provide grass & feed to this 10 million unproductive cows & buffaloes? There is no mention  about this in Modi's ban order.
  • Slaughtering and the markets for beef and leather, complements dairying. Farmers rear cattle for dairy or as work animals, and when they become non-productive, the have value for its beef and skin used for leather. Beef is a by-product of dairying and draught, is another aspect of livestock economy.
  • If today the slaughter of cattle and buffaloes is considered an act of cruelty, then it will be only a matter of time before the sale for slaughter of sheep, goats and poultry will also be forbidden. With the food preferences of the majority of citizens who eat meat and a massive number of livelihoods at stake, this highly contentious interpretation of cruelty needs to be interrogated and challenged.
  • While Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the US are waiting to dump large volumes of subsidized milk powder into India, and Indian dairy cooperatives fighting hard to stop this, it is extremely foolish of the government to literally kill dairying in the name of animal welfare.
  • Instead of creating 20 million jobs per annum, Modi is destroying informal sector which provides mass employment with his mindless and sadistic decisions.
  • This Modi's senseless order is not sustainable and will be revoked. The earlier is better to contain damages. Already Madras High Court has issued 'Stay Order' few days ago. 
  • This is another classic example of 'quack' advised policy decisions by Modi. No expert in the field of Animal Husbandry, Dairying or official in Ministry for Rural Development etc will recommend this type of insane decisions.
My View:
While ban on cow slaughter is understandable for Hindu religious sentiment reasons, altogether banning cattle slaughtering is utterly unwarranted. While cruelty is inhuman, slaughtering of cattle is not. Unproductive cattle, if not slaughtered and unfed will die in due course suffering hunger and pain. When the Act expressly permits slaughter of animals for food, rules imposing a ban on sale of cattle for slaughter is untenable. The Rules harm many by infringing their rights and benefit none, except certain animals, upon whom no explicit fundamental rights are conferred by the Constitution. Modi with his another quack advised cattle ban order has unleashed death warrant on Farmers and Muslims and is attempting forcing the nation to become vegetarian directly interfering with personal food choices of people and destroying millions of jobs. While the Centre is empowered to frame rules, implementation of the regulation of livestock falls under the State government’s ambit and rules can't violate the Act.

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