In a move that might deprive meat suppliers of stock and also will hurt farmers across the country, the Central government has banned the sale of cows for slaughter at animal markets across India.
The new regulations permit trade only between farmland owners. The first central regulation for cattle, it will cover cows, bulls, bullocks, buffalos, steers, heifers and camels.
The report suggests that Muslim cow traders will be the hardest hit group, amid growing violence by cow vigilantes.
The rules direct committees controlling animal markets to ‘take an undertaking that the animals are bought for agriculture purposes and not for slaughter’.
While regulating cow trade falls under the governance of the state, animal welfare is regulated by the Centre (under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act of 1960), which recently promulgated an ordinance permitting Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu. Currently, cow slaughter is banned by most states excluding Kerala and parts of Northeast India.
Uttar Pradesh leads the meat business in India, which amounted to around Rs 1 crore with exports valuing around Rs 26,303 in 2016-17.