Months after Tamil Nadu witnessed massive protests following the Supreme Court ordered ban on jallikattu, the leaders of the state-wide demonstration questioned the Centre’s decision to ban the sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets.
Karthikeya Sivasenapathy, a cattle rights and biodiversity activist lashed out at the Central government’s rules calling it a “political gimmick designed to create trouble”. The 45-year-old cattle breeder also said, “Now gau rakshaks across the country will have a free reign and will misuse these rules.”
The new rules, which define cattle as “bovine animal including bulls, bullocks, cows, buffalos, steers, heifers, and calves and includes camels” is not an outright ban on cattle trade or slaughter. But the notification will force cattle buyers to give an undertaking that the animals are not for slaughter but for “agricultural purposes”.
Sivasenapathy argues that the Centre’s rules, which are effective from Friday, can lead to the abandonment of cattle. “Banning slaughter will in no manner lead to conservation of the animal. This is completely unscientific. What will a poor farmer do now with his old cows?” In its lifetime, a cow can give birth to 18 calves. After that it has no value. These days, there is not enough fodder to even feed productive animals. How will a farmer afford to keep old animals? Even Gaushalas don’t have the resources for that. This won’t protect cows because people will just abandon the animals,” he says.
The new rules notified earlier this week list among the prohibited practices the shearing and painting of horns, as well putting ornaments and any decorative materials on animals.
The practice of painting the horns of bulls and decorating cattle with flowers and ornaments is part of the Pongal tradition in Tamil Nadu.
The new notification also prohibits the use of nose ropes or nose pegs to protect animals from injury and also bans cattle from being tethered on a short rope for an unreasonable period.
Speaking to TNM, P Rajasekaran, President of the Jallikattu Peravai Tamilnadu said he had not gone through the new rules, but noted, “Not able to paint horns for Pongal is still fine with us. But not being able to use nose ropes will become a problem as we need it for tying them at home and for other purposes. Other than that, I do not wish to comment on norms by the government.”
Sivasenapathy concurs with Rajasekaran over the use of the nose rope, stating, “If you can’t put a rope through the cow’s nose how can it be used in the field or even at home?” Like Rajasekaran, he welcomed the ban on painting horns, noting that it will prevent exposure to chemicals. He, however, added, “I believe this entire issue is being brought up to create controversy.”
PHEBA MATHEW & PRIYANKA THIRUMURTHY