The economy of Karnataka is still predominantly agricultural in nature and cow progeny form its backbone, the State the government told the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday defending the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter & Preservation of Cattle Act, 2020 (Act)..The State government submitted that bulls and bullocks are useful not only for dairy farming but also for draught agricultural purposes and breeding. An affidavit in this regard was filed by the State in response to a batch of pleas challenging the Constitutional validity of the Act.The statement of objections filed by the State government said that working bullocks are indispensable as they supply an impressive amount of power in comparison to any other animal. This apart, with the growing adoption of non-conventional energy sources like biogas plants, even waste material has come to assume considerable value. Therefore, even after the cattle cease to breed or are too old to work, they still continue to give dung for fuel, manure and biogas and cannot be said to be economically unproductive, the Court was told.It is estimated that a bull or bullock an on average gives 15-20 kg of dung per day and 10-12 litres of urine a day, wherein 1 kg of dung produces 40 litters of biogas, the government response said. “Therefore, they never cease to be useful as their dung is a form of rich organic manure which is a cheaper and healthier alternative to chemically produced manure, and their urine can be utilised in compost pits for producing other by-products,” it was contended. Considering their immense contribution, it was felt necessary to preserve and protect cow progeny, including bulls and bullocks, the State said in defence of the law. .Karnataka Assembly passes Bill against cow slaughter.In its detailed Statement of objections, the State government submitted that as per the Karnataka Economic Survey 2020-21, agriculture contributes Rs. 1,28,045 crores and specifically, cattle contribute Rs 52,688 crores to the Gross State Domestic Product.Further, the objections filed also drew the attention of the Court to the declining cattle population. "Population, over the past 8 years has substantially reduced from 9516484 in 2012 census (19th livestock census) to 8469004 in 2019 (20th livestock census)," it was stated. These reasons prompted the State government to come up with an Act to prevent Cow slaughter, the Court was told. The State also adverted to the 1958 judgment of the Supreme Court in State of Gujarat vs. Mirzapur Moti Khureshi Kasab Jamat in which the top court by a 6-1 majority, upheld a Gujarat law preventing cow slaughter noting that the restrictions placed on the Article 19(1) right to profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business were not a total prohibition and were reasonable.The Supreme Court had also held that bulls and bullocks do not become useless merely by crossing a particular age and in fact, there is increasing adoption of non-conventional energy sources like biogas plants that justify the need for bulls and bullocks to live their full lives in spite of having ceased to be useful for the purpose of breeding and draught, State government said.