Amid protests from various quarters over the Centre’s new notification banning the sale of cattle at animal markets for slaughter, the Rajasthan High Court has urged the government to declare the cow India’s national animal, reported ANI. It further said the punishment for cow slaughter should be increased to life imprisonment.

The punishment for cow slaughter is different for different states. In Rajasthan, those found guilty can be sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment.

The High Court on Wednesday was hearing a case from 2016, where more than 8,000 cows in Jaipur’s Hingonia Gaushala had died between January and July owing to ill health and accidental injuries. The bench had ordered the Anti-Corruption Bureau to prepare report every three months on the state of the area’s cowsheds, reported ANI.

On May 26, the Centre had issued new rules that require cattle traders to give an undertaking that the animals being sold at markets would only be used for agricultural purposes. Several states have roundly criticised the notification, including Kerala, West Bengal and Arunachal Pradesh, among others. The Madras High Court on Tuesday had stayed the notification for four weeks and asked the Centre to reply to its notice.