Plea in SC to prevent cross-breeding of indigenous cattle with exotic cattle, curb illegal slaughter of cows

Plea in SC to prevent cross-breeding of indigenous cattle with exotic cattle, curb illegal slaughter of cows

Meera Emmanuel

The Supreme Court has issued notice in a petition to curb the illegal slaughter of cows and for the protection of indigenous cattle in India.

The petition includes a prayer to prevent cross-breeding of indigenous cattle with exotic cattle.

An appeal to this effect has been filed by 83-year-old Mathala Chandrapati Rao, who has challenged the National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) decision to dispose of the issue last year by merely observing that, “since it is common stand of the Union of India as well as of all the States that protection of indigenous cows is to be promoted, no further direction is necessary.”

Rao had been impleaded as a party before the NGT in the matter. The prayers made before the NGT for the protection of indigenous cattle included the following:

  • conserve critically endangered indigenous species of livestock;
  • implement preventive steps to contain the decline of indigenous breeds/species of cattle in India and effectively implement Rashtriya Gokul Mission;
  • ensure that promotion of cross-breeding and breeding with exotic breeds of cattle in India is regulated with the minimum interference and disease exposure risk to the indigenous species of cattle;
  • take necessary steps to ensure that milch cattle of the indigenous breed are not slaughtered;
  • carry out research in improving milk yield of indigenous cattle without resorting to cross-breeding;
  • improve the population of the indigenous cows and bullocks in the country.  

Rao highlights that during the NGT hearings, the National Commission for Cattle expressed serious concern regarding the slaughter of milking cows and calves in its report. Rao has himself raised concern that Indian cows, which have been existing for the past thirty-five thousand years, are vanishing day by day due to cross-breeding and indiscriminate slaughter. 

In this backdrop, Rao has contended that the NGT failed to appreciate the drastic reduction of indigenous cows in the country while issuing its order. The appeal states,

Though the Hon’ble Tribunal went on impleading various respondents, it has not passed any directions to the respondents for the conservation of cow progeny. The whole exercise done for three and a half years by the Tribunal was left to the Respondents mercy.

In view of the same, Rao has called upon the Supreme Court to set aside the NGT order, and issue the following directions to the Government:

  • Shut down the unauthorized slaughterhouses forthwith and file a compliance report before the Supreme Court;
  • Restrict the import of exotic bulls and bullocks so as to prevent cross-breeding;
  • Sterilize the existing exotic bulls and bullocks in the country so that cross-breeding is prevented. 

Among the substantial questions of law raised by the appellant are the following:

  • Whether Chapter IX of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 read with Article 47, 48, 48 A of the Constitution of India enjoins any duty upon the State to prohibit cow slaughter and cross-breeding? 
  • Whether the Tribunal committed an error of law in declining to direct prohibition of cow slaughter in terms of the conditions for the establishment of abattoirs/slaughterhouses under the provisions of the Industries (Development and Regulation) Act 1951? 
  • Whether the NGT was correct in ignoring the indiscriminate slaughter of cow progeny contrary to the Environment (Protection) Act 1986, Biological Diversity Act, 2002? 

Notice in the matter was issued by a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and MR Shah on Monday.

[Read Petition]


[Read Order]

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