Modi Government Likely to Withdraw Controversial Cattle Slaughter Ban

The move comes after the environment ministry sought feedback from several states on the notification.

New Delhi: Months after imposing a ban on the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter, the Narendra Modi government has decided to revisit the controversial restrictions now being seen as a major blow to dairy farming, leather production and beef export.

On May 23, the environment ministry had notified changes to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017, with the new rules defining ‘cattle’ to include “a bovine animal including bulls, cows, buffalos, steers, heifers and calves and includes camels.”

According to an Indian Express report, the decision to roll back on the changes comes after the Ministry of Environment and Forests had sought feedback from different states on the same. The same was confirmed by sources to India Today.

A senior official told Indian Express that the notification is being withdrawn “due to several issues” and the ministry “will be revising it.” A time frame for the same has, however, not been finalised yet.

The Modi government has come under severe attack for the notification from several quarters, particularly from the states of Kerala, West Bengal and Meghalaya. While a “beef ban bashing banquet” was organised in Mizoram, Kerala politicians slammed the government’s decision as an “attempt to destroy India’s secular structure.”

The May notification, coupled with the rise in cow vigilantism in various parts of the country, also led to a noticeable rise in numbers of cast-off cattle.

Reports of stray cattle damaging crops and wrecking havoc for farmers and incidents of acid attacks on cows, generated several proposals to deal with the menace – including putting Aadhaar tags on the animal’s ears.

In September, environment minister Harsh Vardhan had for the first time indicated the possibility of rolling back the ban, soon after which the states were consulted on the notification. According to Indian Express, the ministry has also consulted with animal rights activists and traders on this issue.

In May-end, the Madras high court had granted an interim stay on the implementation of cattle slaughter ban following which in July, the Supreme Court extended the stay to the entire country.