Ministry set to recast cattle slaughter rules

Ministry set to recast cattle slaughter rules

Ministry set to recast cattle slaughter rules

Almost six months after the controversy, the Union Environment Ministry has begun the process of changing the contentious cattle slaughter rules that barred farmers trading cattle for slaughter in markets.

Last May, the NDA government came out with an official notification banning the sale of cattle for slaughtering in animal fares.

It triggered angry protests all over the country with people accusing the government of causing hardship to the farmers and trying to influence people's food habits.

After reviewing the representations it received and holding consultations with the stakeholders, the green ministry decided to change the controversial clause "We have sent the file to the law ministry for its opinion on modifying the rule," said an official.

However, it may take several months before the modified rules comes into effect as clearance from the Animal Welfare Board would be required for effecting any changes in the rules that deal with prevention of cruelty to an animal.

Soon after the controversial rules grabbed the headlines, the Madras High Court had granted an interim stay on the implementation of the rules, which was later extended to the entire country in July by the Supreme Court.

Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, however, stated that it was not a prestige issue for the government, which was open to a change in the rules.

According to the rule, "cattle" means a bovine animal including bulls, bullocks, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers, calves and camels.

Indian meat industry recorded more than Rs 30,000 crore in export in 2015-16, out of which Rs 26,681 crore came from the export of buffalo meat, according to the statistics available with the Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority. The contribution from the ship, goat and poultry is less than 1,000 crore.

Since the meat industry sources part of their raw material from the animal markets, the new rule has the potential to adversely affect the business.