Centre scrapped its notification on the sale of animals

THE CENTRE HAS finally scrapped its notification on a ban on the sale of animals for slaughter in livestock markets and come out with new draft rules doing away with the clause on “restrictions on the sale of cattle”. This means cattle, including cows, can be sold in animal markets, even for slaughter wherever it is legal.

The notification was soon followed by a realisation in the government that the rules will make even transport of cattle more difficult and end up displeasing agriculturalists and dairy farmers. But it has taken the environment ministry close to a year to finally delete the problematic clause. The regulation on livestock market under the May 2017 rules was opposed by States where beef is not banned even as it caused discomfort elsewhere.

Though the environment ministry clarified that the notification was not about a ban on slaughter as animals could still be procured for this purpose directly from farms, the matter reached various high courts and was seen to be clearly restrictive.

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had stayed the notification on livestock market rules. The Supreme Court then stayed the rules in July last year. Such regulations, however, have now been removed from the new draft, which will be notified as ‘rules’ after analyzing stakeholders’ comments later this month.

Though the draft deals with the cruelty aspect of animal sales and specifies ‘prohibited practices’, including certain ‘do’s and don’ts’, it dilutes many provisions that were there in the May 23, 2017 rules for not only regulating livestock markets but introducing best practices to minimise cruelty and trace sources of procuring animals to weed out unhealthy ones.

The environment ministry had last year notified the rules with the aim of regulating animal markets and addressing the cross-border smuggling of cattle.