Ministry of Environment and Forests Current Affairs
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The Ministry of Environment and Forests have come up with new regulations that bans the sale of cattle for slaughter. The central regulation for cow protection has been notified at the backdrop of rising cases of violence against cow traders by Hindu vigilante groups. The rules have been notified under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960. Slaughter of cows are banned in most parts of the country except parts of the north-east India and Kerala. The new rules will be implemented in the next three months.
Across India, the cattle trade is permitted only among farm land owners. Cattle can be only sold to a person possessing documents that he is an agriculturist.
As per the new regulations, cattle bought cannot be resold within six months.
Young and unfit animals cannot be traded.
Animal markets cannot be set up within 50 km of an international border and 25 km of a state border. Transporting cattle outside of the country will require special approval of the state government nominee.
All animal markets has to run with the approval of district animal market committee to be headed by a magistrate. The committee will also have two representatives from government-approved animal welfare groups.
The new regulations prescribes around 30 norms for animal welfare in markets like that of water, fans, bedding, ramps, non-slippery flooring, veterinary facility and separate enclosure for sick animals etc.
The owner of the animal has to bear the cost of its upkeep in a shelter. In case, the owner is unable to pay, the cost would be recovered as land arrears. The state government will specify the costs every year on April 1.
The new regulations says that cattle bought cannot be resold for six months. This provision will hurt the business of cattle traders.
The new rules have introduced a lot of paperwork for cattle traders who are predominantly illiterate and poor. For example, a trader has to submit five copies of proof of sale 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.
It is feared that the new rules will introduce inspector raj as it mandates veterinary inspector to certify proper loading and unloading of animals. He can also mark any animal unfit for sale.
The Supreme Court has stayed the Union Government’s notification lifting ban on traditional bull taming sport Jallikattu during the festival of Pongal in Tamil Nadu.
In this regard the apex court rejected the plea of Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and Tamil Nadu Government.
This decision was taken by a SC bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and N V Ramana on petitions filed by various bodies including Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) seeking striking down of the MoEF’s notification.
- Earlier on 8th January 2016, MoEF had lifted the four-year-old ban on holding of Jallikattu ahead of the Pongal festival along with Bullock cart races in Maharashtra.
- This notification allowed the exhibition or training of bulls and some other animals, as performing animals by following the traditional customs as a part of culture.
- It also had added a few guidelines to regulate these sports involving animals as performing animals.
- However, the issued notification was against the Supreme Court’s 2014 ruling which had completely banned use of bulls for Jallikattu (also bull fighting) events or bullock-cart races across the country.
- The ban was imposed by SC as it violated provisions of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960; fundamental duty Article 51A (g): compassion towards animal; Article 21 (Right to Life), which prohibits any disturbance to the environment, including animals as it is considered essential for human life.
- Jallikattu is a bull taming sport played in Tamil Nadu on Mattu Pongal day as a part of Pongal celebrations i.e. harvest festival. It is one of the oldest living ancient tradition practiced in the modern era.
- Jallikattu has been derived from the words ‘calli’ (coins) and ‘kattu’ (tie), which means a bundle of coins is tied to the bull’s horns. In Sangam literature it is called ‘Yeru thazhuvuthal’ (means to embrace bulls).
- Tradition: In older times it was popular amongst warriors during the Tamil classical period. The bull tamer sought to remove this bundle from the animal’s head to win gold or silver coins to be called ‘brave’ and ‘valourous’. All castes participate in the event and majority of jallikattu bulls belong to the pulikulam breed of cattle.