BJP ally differs on new cattle trade, slaughter rules

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New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) The National People’s Party (NPP) of Meghalaya on Tuesday differed with its ally BJP on the new rules governing cattle trade and slaughter and demanded that they be withdrawn.

Conrad K. Sangma, the lone NPP member in the Lok Sabha, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and direct the Environment Ministry to de-notify the new rules in the larger interest of the people.

Sangma said in an open letter to Modi that the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 impose a number of restrictions on cattle trade that would have serious impact on the socio-cultural and economic milieu of millions, especially those in the agricultural and related industrial sectors.

“Imposing unreasonable restriction on the fundamental right to carry on any trade or occupation under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution will not stand the test of constitutionality,” the NPP chief said.

Sangma said the new rules violate the basic right of a person to freedom of choice regarding his food.

Meanwhile, former Union Minister and Congress MP Vincent H. Pala has urged Modi to seeks views from state governments on the new rules.

In a letter to Modi, Pala told Modi that tribal states like Meghalaya should be exempt from the application of these rules.

He urged the Modi government to seek the views of all states and union territories to review the rules and allow their implementation with necessary modifications.

He said only Parliament was empowered to expand the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960.

Pala said Section 38 of PCA Act, 1960 does not authorize the central government to create new provisions, new definitions and new organizations like Animal Market Monitoring Committee and Animal Market Committee.

He said Section 11(3)(e) exempts the slaughter of an animal for food from being deemed as “cruelty” to animal.

“Animals for slaughter are secured only through livestock markets. If animal trade for slaughter is banned, it will tantamount to repeal of section 11(3)(e) of the principal Act and also has attenuating effect on the Slaughter House Rules of 2001.

“This therefore calls for serious application of mind and review,” he said.

The MP said the new rules ban livestock trade for animal sacrifices. Tribals and even non-tribals have for centuries held faith in animal sacrifice, he said.

Reasonable exemptions must be granted so that the new rules do not interfere with religious and customary practices and freedoms, he said.

–IANS

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