Eid-Al-Adha 2017: What the law says about slaughter and what is in practice
The issue of animal sacrifice is sensitive in the Indian context. While the law prohibits the public slaughter of animals during religious sacrifices, what is practiced is a far cry from what the law states. Despite issuing advisories and warnings, the blatant violation of the law is witnessed across the country. While some accept the same as tradition, others are attempting to regularise animal slaughter but the challenges are many.
Here is what the law states:
Public slaughter of animals in a violation of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals act. Any slaughter that takes place in municipal corporation limits in any state of India, has to take place in a designated slaughter house. Each slaughter house and the number of animals sacrificed should be in proportion to the population in the region.
According to Rule 3, of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (Slaughterhouse) Rules, 2001 and Chapter 4, Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011, "No animal (including chickens) can be slaughtered in any place other than a slaughterhouse. Sick or pregnant animals shall not be slaughtered."
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughter House) Rules, 2001:
Animals not to be slaughtered except in recognised or licensed houses -
(1) No person shall slaughter any animal within a municipal area except in a slaughter house recognised or licensed by the concerned authority empowered under the law for the time being in force to do so.
(2) No animal which -
(i) is pregnant, or
(ii) has an offspring less than three months old, or
(iii)is under the age of three months or
(iv) has not been certified by a veterinary doctor that it is in a fit condition to be slaughtered.
(3) The municipal or other local authority specified by the Central Government for this purpose shall, having regard to the capacity of the slaughter house and the requirement of the local population of the area in which a slaughter house is situated, determine the maximum number of animals that may be slaughtered in a day.
What is in practice?
While the law does not permit the slaughter of animals in public places, implementation is a far cry. It has become a matter of acceptance to slaughter animals in houses, residential complexes, societies and, in some localities, roads. While hygiene is the primary concern, disposal of animal waste after a huge number of sacrifices is the real challenge for civic authorities. Add to it the discomfort many citizens feel at the sight of animal waste and blood in public spaces.
"While the law states that animal slaughter has to take place in designated places, it is practically impossible to implement the same. The sheer numbers are overwhelming. Every slaughter house has to have a valid license, transportation facility etc. On says like Eid-Al-Adha, the demand for meat is great and existing slaughter houses may not be able to meet the demand. Hence, people slaughter animals in their neighbourhood," said a police officer who added that people from other communities rarely make an issue out of the same since it has come to be a tradition.
"Despite issuing a warning to people against public slaughter, we have no option but to cut some slack. There are practical problems in insisting on slaughter houses. The rules that two slaughter houses have to be at a specific distance from each other. Is the government willing to set up as many slaughter houses and give them a license? We instead understand the immediate need and make arrangements for disposal of animal waste, which is more important to stop the spread of diseases," said a senior executive of a metro city's municipal corporation. Many corporations have set up 'disposal containers' at street corners where slaughters take place so people do not dump the same in drains or regular trash cans.m
Time and again many NGOs and individuals have raised the concern of public slaughter of animals. This time around, many Muslim clerics have appealed to the community to not slaughter animals in public and engage in the activity at designated places but in states like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana where the civic agencies have sealed many slaughterhouses for lack of license, people have very little choices.
While it is true that what is in practice in different from what the law states, police, civic authorities and people at large have made their peace with accepting the public slaughter of animals. But the dangers of lack of hygiene and disposal of waste continue to be a matter of concern.