Monitoring committees will now be swarming cattle markets to ensure that the regulations are being followed.
The notification of rules by the Centre on Friday banning the sale of cattle of all categories for slaughter is not just misconceived, its impact is likely to be extremely negative on the agricultural economy as well as on employment.
The Union environment ministry notification is titled “Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets)”, but it is hard to discern a bleeding hearts sentiment here.
More likely, the chief effect of the notification will be to put millions of those in the slaughterhouse and animal skinning business out of work. These are principally from the minority and dalit communities. The ban has already drawn the criticism that it furthers the RSS agenda and hurts the economy. Ageing and dying cattle will also now have to be compulsorily fed by cattle farmers in this age of cow vigilantism.
Cow slaughter is banned in most states in India. But the notification will have an impact in Kerala, Bengal and some northeastern states and the beef trade will be hit as the consumption of cow meat is common. However, the main effect of the new rules is likely to be on the buffalo business which is crucial for meat exports, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and on supplies to hotel, restaurants and smaller eateries.
Monitoring committees will now be swarming cattle markets to ensure that the regulations are being followed. This could give the cow-vigilante brigades a boost. As a nation we have far more urgent tasks at hand than to monitor what people eat, and whether their food traditions conform to the majority Hindu tradition or not.