IS SLAUGHTERING OF CAMELS IN THE NAME OF TRADITION ILLEGAL?

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This article is written by “Ritika Sharma” from “Ansal University”. This article is curated by Himanshu Raj of Chanakya National Law University, Patna.

Introduction Like humans, animals are also living beings and feel much like we do. Cases on animal cruelty and inhumanity towards them are on rise. In India millions of animals are killed either to feed the non- vegetarian population or medical or cosmetic experiment done on them. Animals play an important role in the ecosystem. Now- a- days camel slaughter has also become a very sensitive issue. Human beings depend greatly on camels in order to survive in adverse desert conditions. About 85 per cent of Indian camel population is found in Rajasthan. Population of camels also called the “ship of desert” and declared as the “state animal of Rajasthan” is gradually diminishing. Many reports have listed camels as critically endangered species. Threat to camels Since the 1990s camel populations have declined. Diseases, smuggling, and lack of policy failure are some of the reasons for dwindling camel populations. Other reason is after the ban on cows and buffalo’s slaughter, Muslim community is left only with goats to slaughter on Bakr Eid. Now activists are demanding the state to allow camel slaughter for Bakr Eid. There was a tradition of consuming camel meat during Bakra Eid. Due to this tradition camels are made to suffer a lot. Because of their size and structure, they are made to walk towards their destination with inadequate food and water. Telangana high court banned slaughtering and butchering of camels A PIL was filed by Dr. Shashikala Kopanati which alleged that the state authorities were not taking any measures to prevent slaughtering of camels and their illegal transport. Transportation of camels out of Rajasthan is prohibited by Rajasthan camel (prohibition of slaughter and regulation of temporary migration or export) act, 2015. Despite this act, many camels were illegally brought into the state of Telangana and were slaughtered for public consumption. Ms. Divya, who was the learned counsel for petitioner submits to court that there is a tradition of consuming camel meat during the period of Ramadan. Under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, authorities are bound to protect the interest of camels. But they are not taking any action. On the other hand, Mr. Sanjeev Kumar, who was the learned counsel for the state submits to courts that concrete steps have been taken by the state for protection of camels. As transportation of camels is prohibited out of Rajasthan, they should not be brought into any state secretively. Also, assures that authorities will take concrete steps to inspect licensed and unlicensed slaughter houses in twin cities of Hyderabad & Secunderabad and the Ranga Reddy District. Decision of court The two- judge bench comprising chief justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and justice B. Vijaysen Reddy of Telangana high court ordered slaughtering of camels in the name of tradition is illegal. The bench issued notice to the state to keep an eye on slaughtering of camels. They directed state authorities to carry out inspection of licensed and unlicensed slaughter houses, to take action against those who are violating the laws and to prevent illegal killing of camels. It also directed publicize the fact that killing and transportation of camels is illegal activity. Conclusion There are many laws which lawmakers have made to safeguard animals but many citizens are not aware of such laws. For instance, It is a punishable offence to kill or harm any animal, including stray dogs, under section 428 and 429 of IPC. Article 51g of the constitution of India states that we should have compassion for all living creatures. Drug and cosmetics rules act, 1945 banned the cosmetic tests of animals. No animal can be slaughtered in any place other than a slaughterhouse. Monkeys cannot be displayed or owned and are protected by wildlife (protection) act, 1972. There is a fine of Rs.25000 or imprisonment up to three years or both for disturbing any animal at zoo or littering the zoo premise. Section 38J of wildlife (protection) act, 1972. While there are so many laws in India to protect animals, implementation of these laws remains a major issue. I think each state should have its own society to prevent cruelty to animals which should actively work on implementation of such laws. It should make people aware about the importance of safeguarding the animals and also about the penalties & punishments for cruelty to animals. Parents must educate their children to be kind to animals and respect them. If one witnesses animal abuse he should immediately report it. Reports of animal cruelty should be taken seriously. Like us animals too have the right to live freely without pain and sufferings. If nothing is done to protect them it might cost their extinction resulting in an imbalance in the ecosystem.

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