The new rules banning sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets for slaughter will remove the scope of illegal sale and smuggling of bovines, besides ensuring their welfare, the Environment Ministry said today.
The statement of the ministry came days after it notified the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017, banning the sale and purchase of cattle at animal markets for slaughter.
It said the rules will ensure adequate facilities for housing, feeding, feed storage area and water supply for the cattle.
"The basic purpose of the rules is to ensure the welfare of the animals in the cattle markets and ensure adequate facilities for housing, feeding, feed storage area, water supply, water troughs, ramps, enclosures for sick animals, veterinary care and proper drainage etc.," the ministry said.
To facilitate this, two committees have been constituted -- the District Animal Market Monitoring Committee for registration of the animal markets and the Animal Market Committee at the local authority level for the management of the markets, it added.
The ministry said in the rules, it was envisaged that the welfare of the cattle sold at the markets would be ensured and that only healthy animals were traded for agriculture purposes.
The livestock markets were intended to become hubs for animal trade for agriculture through this process and animals for slaughter would have to be bought from the farmers, it added.
"The notified rules will remove the scope of illegal sale and smuggling of the cattle which is a major concern. The specific provisions apply only to animals which are bought and sold at the notified livestock markets and animals seized as case properties. These rules do not cover the other areas," the ministry said.
The new rules also prohibit the establishment of an animal market within 25 kms of a state border and within 50 kms of the international border.
The ministry today received representations regarding certain provisions of the rules, which it said would be "duly examined".
"The prime focus of the regulation is to protect the animals from cruelty and not to regulate the existing trade in cattle for slaughterhouses," it said.
The ban is expected to hit the export and trade of meat and leather.
The rules also prohibit certain practices that are "cruel" to animals, including painting of horns and putting ornaments or decorative materials on them.
The rules define cattle as a bovine animal including bulls, bullocks, cows, buffaloes, steers, heifers and calves and camels.
In a case filed by Gauri Maulekhi, the Supreme Court had passed an order dated July 13, 2015 directing the framing of guidelines to prevent animals from being smuggled out of the country for the Gadhimai Festival in Nepal, where large-scale animal sacrifice took place.
The apex court had constituted a committee under thechairmanship of the Director General (DG), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). The committee had put forward certain suggestions, including measures to curb trans-boundary cattle smuggling.
The Supreme Court had also directed that the rules regarding livestock markets and case property animals be notified.
On July 12, 2016, the apex court, in its final order, had directed the Environment Ministry to frame rules under Section 38 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
Subsequently, the Animal Welfare Board of India had prepared the draft rules, incorporating all the suggestions put forward by the Supreme Court.
The Draft Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 was notified on January 16, inviting objections and suggestions within 30 days.
Altogether, 13 representations were received regarding the rules which were duly examined and the suggestions incorporated, the ministry said. The rules were finally notified on May 23.