Declare cow as national animal: Rajasthan HC

31 May 2017

Amidst concerted efforts by ant-BJP opposition, mainly the CPI (Marxist), to channelise public sentiment against the centre's move to ban the sale and purchase of animals for slaughter at cattle markets, the Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday recommended the Narendra Modi government to declare cow as national animal.

Observing that cow is pious like peacock, the court also recommended life term for cow slaughter instead of three years under the Bovine Act.

Disposing of the PIL moved by Jago Janata Society regarding the conditions at Hingonia gaushala in Jaipur, the court passed a slew of directions and also asked the state chief secretary to take steps to get the suggestions implemented.

The court also appointed a committee of lawyers to keep a watch on the cow shelter's functioning. The Forest Department was asked to plant 5,000 saplings every year in the gaushala to keep it green.

The court has ordered the Additional Director General (ACB) to prepare report every three months on cowshed. It has also directed the Urban Development and Housing department Secretary and municipal commissioner to visit cowshed once every month.

Judge Mahesh Chandra Sharma has also instructed the forest department to plant 5,000 plants in the cowshed every year.

''Nepal is a Hindu nation and has declared cow as national animal. India is a predominant agriculture country based in animal rearing. As per Article 48 and 51A (g) it is expected from the state government that they should take action to get a legal entity for cow in this country,'' he said in his order.

In August last year, the Rajasthan government had said 8,122 cows have died at Hingonia Gaushala between 1 January and 31 July due to ill-health and accidental injuries. On an average, 1,053 cows die every month at this very centre, while over 500 have perished in last 10 days.

The judgement comes in the wake of the centre's order on ban on sale of cattle for slaughter, which is facing a strong opposition by the state governments of Kerala, Karnataka and Tripura.

Reports said the death of cows was due to alleged lapse in maintenance of cowshed. According to reports, the authorities initially said the cows which died were already unwell and suffering from malnutrition.

Following the government's ban on cattle slaughter and restrictions on the sale of cattle, the Janata Dal (United) has appealed to the Centre to declare cow as the ''national animal''. Senior JD (U) leader Neeraj Kumar said, ''I appeal to the centre that if they have so much love for cows then they should declare cow as the national animal.''

Minister for environment, forest and climate change Harsh Vardhan had said that the ministry has notified the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 to ensure that the sale of cattle is not meant for slaughter purposes. ''Aim of the rules is very specific. It is only to regulate the animal market and the sale of cattle in these markets, and ensuring welfare of cattle dealt in market. And the rule provides for a strict animal monitoring committee and an animal market committee at the local level,'' Vardhan said.

As per the notification, cattle are defined as ''bulls, bullocks, cows, buffalos, steers, heifers and calves and camels''.

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