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Centre bans the sale of cattle for slaughter at markets across the country

The new rules require cattle traders to give an undertaking that the animals are only being sold for agricultural purposes.

In new rules notified by the Environment Ministry on Tuesday, the Centre banned the sale of all kinds of cattle for slaughter at animal markets across the country. The rules, issued under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, require anyone purchasing cattle to provide an undertaking that the animals are bought for agricultural purposes and not slaughter.

The new notification also adds a large amount of paperwork for every transaction involving cattle at animal markets, expecting numerous records and five copies of the proof of sale, each of which is to be handed to various authorities.

The notification, first reported by the Hindustan Times, is likely to have a major impact on cattle slaughter across the country – even though it does not itself ban slaughter. It requires cattle trade at animal markets to only take place for agricultural purposes. And the definition of cattle includes bulls, bullocks, cows, buffalos, steers, heifers, calves and camels.

 22. Restrictions on sale of cattle.— The Member Secretary of the Animal Market Committee shall ensure that- 

(a) no person shall bring to an animal market a young animal; 

(b) no person shall bring a cattle to an animal market unless upon arrival he has furnished a written declaration signed by the owner of the cattle or his duly authorised agent— 

(i) stating the name and address of the owner of the cattle, with a copy of the photo identification proof ; 

(ii) giving details of the identification of the cattle; 

(iii) stating that the cattle has not been brought to market for sale for slaughter; 

(c) every declaration furnished to the Animal Market Committee shall be retained by it for a period of six months from the date on which it is furnished to them and the Animal Market Committee shall, on demand made by an Inspector at any reasonable time during that period, produce such declaration and allow a copy of it or an extract from it to be taken;  

 (d) where an animal has been sold and before its removal from the animal market, the Animal Market Committee shall—  

 (i) obtain the expenses incurred for each animal, as approved by the District Animal Market Monitoring Committee, so as to provide the basic facilities for animals and people; 

(ii) take an undertaking that the animals are bought for agriculture purposes and not for slaughter; 

(iii) keep a record of name and address of the purchaser and procure his identity proof; 

(iv) verify that the purchaser is an agriculturist by seeing the relevant revenue document; 

(v) 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; 

(vi) retain such record for a period of six months from the date of sale; 

(vii) produce such record before an Inspector on demand being made by him at any reasonable time during that period and allow a copy of it or an extract from it to be taken; 

(e) the purchaser of the cattle shall – 

(i) not sell the animal for purpose of slaughter; 

(ii) follow the State cattle protection or preservation laws; 

(iii) not sacrifice the animal for any religious purpose; 

(iv) not sell the cattle to a person outside the State without the permission as per the State cattle protection or preservation laws; 

(f) where a cattle has been sold and before its removal from the animal market, the proof of sale shall be issued in five copies, out of which first copy shall be handed over to purchaser, second copy to seller, third copy to tehsil office of the residence of purchaser, fourth copy to the Chief Veterinary Officer in the district of purchaser and last copy to be kept intact in the record by the Animal Market Committee  

(emphasis added).

A full copy of the rules can be seen here.

The new notification comes on the back of demands from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for the Centre to issue a law banning cow slaughter across the country. Cow slaughter is banned in most states, except for the North East and Kerala, but the slaughter of other bovine animals such as buffaloes is much more common.

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