Animal Welfare Board amends rules governing cattle premises

A month after Union Minister Maneka Gandhi wrote to the Environment Ministry over “no implementation” of rules governing cattle premises, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has amended the regulation and delegated powers with State Animal Welfare Boards for more rigorous implementation. AWBI has drafted amendments to The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Registration of Cattle Premises) Rules, 1978, the revised regulation of which was sent to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on Monday. The proposed rules authorise AWBI and State Animal Welfare Board (SAWB) to give directions to registering authority, collect records and information pertaining to dairy farms, authorise inspection and sanction seizure of cattle in cases where rules are being flouted.

It also expands the definition of cattle premises to include “a premises, whether commercial or not, in which not less than five cattle are kept”. In contrast, the old set of rules of 1978 had defined that the regulation would “apply only to cities or towns which have a population exceeding one lakh”. These guidelines also require a physical “inspection” of the site before issuing a registration certificate whereas in the older rules it was not a prerequisite. AWBI member and Managing Director of Humane Society International (HSI) N Jayasimha said SAWBs have been given more powers because they found that local bodies were not carrying out their responsibilities.

“In an inspection of Ghazipur and Masoodpur dairies, we found that there was no regulation or registration. We found from all MCDs that not a single dairy farm was registered with them. “So, we have given responsibilities to the entire institutional framework that exists to ensure Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act instead of just the local authority who are not doing their work,” Jayasimha said. He added that it is not enough to merely ban beef consumption to protect cows, but the need is to have a stronger regulatory mechanism.

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