Beef fests held to protest ban on sale of cattle for slaughter

Beef fests held to protest ban on sale of cattle for slaughter

The Chief Minister said if someone wanted Kerala to change its diet, it would not be accepted.

The environment ministry has notified the stringent "Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017" under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The notification defines cattle as "a bovine animal including bulls, cows, buffalos, steers, heifers and calves and includes camels". "There is no need for Keralites to learn it from anybody in New Delhi or Nagpur (headquarters of RSS)", Vijayan said.

In the strongly-worded statement, Vijayan said the Centre's actions hurt the concept of "pluralism", which he said is "the essence of our democracy".

Punjab dairy farmers and tannery workers are also anxious about the ban which would affect the already distressed farmers. Crores of people in the country kill these animals for food.

"The Centre can not infringe on the rights of people, who have the freedom to decide on what they want to eat and what they do not". He said meat was the primary source of protein for millions of the poor and ordinary people in the country, particularly Dalits. "If today's ban is against [slaughtering] livestock, tomorrow it may be against fish consumption", he said. Once the prohibition comes into force, it will not only deprive them of adequate nutrition, but also prevent the availability of raw material for the leather industry, he added.

Justifying the Centre's decision, BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan said it had only restricted the sale for slaughter of animals that were used for agricultural purposes. Progressive Dairy Farmers Association president Daljit Singh said, "The rules will ruin small, marginal and landless farmers, who can not do the documentation".

Opposition Congress-led UDF, meanwhile, chose to observe tomorrow as a "black day" against the ban.

He called for collective resistance to defend the food rights of citizens.

Students said it was a spontaneous gesture from many people in campus who opposed the notification and not held under any banner.

The opposition Congress also slammed the new rules, saying the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was behind the move as they were "trying to divide the society".

The State BJP reacted sharply to the onslaught by the CPI (M)-led ruling LDF and the Opposition UDF against the Centre in the name of the controls imposed on cattle trade.

Minister for local administration K.T. Jaleel said the state government would consider formulating a legislation to skirt the ban. IUML state committee termed the ban legally and politically wrong and State general secretary K P A Majeed said the government is trying to intervene in the religious freedom of the citizens.

"The only we are anxious is what will happen if the state government implements the rule".

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