The importance of cattle is beyond religion, because cattle remains an important pillar of rural economy. With a precipitous rise in meat/beef exports India has acquired the notorious distinction of being the largest exporter of beef/meat with about 14 lakh tons exported during 2017-18. With the Central Govt hugely encouraging export of beef/meat the prices of beef/meat in domestic market are skyrocketing. This has led to growth of beef/meat mafia, and an alarming rise in cattle theft, large-scale movement of cattle, illegal slaughtering, export and illegal smuggling of cattle to neighbouring country etc. This is notwithstanding the fact that 20 out of 29 States currently have laws prohibiting either the slaughter of cows and/or bovine animals.
As the State Govts have failed to rein in the beef/meat mafia, the local communities are coming together to resist the menace as it is their animals and their livelihood that is being robbed off, apart from the religious sentiments attached to the cattle particularly the cows. The resistance to the illegal activities of beef/meat mafia is naturally leading to the law & order problems which are being falsely dubbed as lynching at the behest of the beef/meat mafia which has enormous money and muscle power. Apart from achieving the sinister purpose of tarnishing the fair image of the country and the Govt, the effect of this wide spread false campaign has been so much so that the Supreme Court has asked the Govt to enact a law against lynching. The responsibility for this unsavoury saga entirely rest with the Indian State, for:
(i) Firstly, in disregard of Article 48 of the Constitution the Central Govt has been encouraging Beef/Meat export with all sorts of incentives making India the world’s largest exporter of Beef/Meat; and
(ii) Secondly, the utter failure of the State Govts to enforce the law against the Beef/Meat and cattle smuggling mafia.
Therefore, an immediate complete ban on beef/meat exports is imperative to prevent avoidable social strife and law & order problems emanating from illegal activities of beef/meat mafia. Additionally, the Govt is enjoined not only to implement the provisions of Article 48 of the Constitution but also to discharge its civilizational commitment to preserve and protect agricultural animals.
Accordingly, we request the Central Govt to take immediate action to:
(i) Completely ban export of livestock, beef, meat and their products;
(ii) Amend the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act, 1985 to omit the words “meat, meat products and slaughter houses” from therein; and
(iii) In keeping with the promise of the BJP in its Election Manifesto-2014, enact the Agricultural Cattle Preservation Act for whole of India superseding all State laws, on the lines of the Chhattisgarh Agricultural Cattle Preservation Act, 2004 as per Item No. 17 in the Concurrent List in 7th Schedule to the Constitution.
We further request that this legislative exercise may be completed in the forthcoming session of the current Parliament itself. Alternatively, Ordinances may be promulgated immediately pending enactment by the Parliament.