Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Meghalaya High Court posts case on livestock transportation to February 14

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The Meghalaya High Court remarked that it is heartening to record that the State has invited reasonable suggestions from the petitioner which can be implemented in the matter of better and ethical treatment of animals that are culled for human consumption.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice  Sanjib Banerjee and Justice W. Diengdoh heard a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Gau Gyan Foundation on the treatment of animals in the State in the course of transportation or even culling thereof.

It is noted by the Bench that though the State insists that the applicable rules pertaining to transportation, culling, movement and sale of animals or animal carcasses are in place, the petitioner complains of the cruel and generally unethical treatment suffered by almost all animals which are culled for human consumption. The petitioner also reminds the Court of the inhumane manner in which flesh and carcasses are displayed even in roadside stalls and heads of pigs shown almost as trophies.   

The Bench appreciated that the object of the present proceedings is not to discourage the eating of meat or non-vegetarian food. The purpose is to ensure that the animals are dealt with in a dignified and humane manner. The other aspect pointed out on behalf of the petitioner is that though laws are in place for members of animal welfare organisations to be inducted into committees to oversee the treatment of  animals in the market-places within districts, there is no memorandum of procedure or standard operating procedure as to who would be the representatives, what would be the extent of their say and how the State ought to take cognizance of their objections or demands. 

The State said before the Court  that  petitioner may give a list of dos and don’ts for the State to consider the same. However, the petitioner maintains that there is very little participation of animal welfare organisations and the voices of the representatives of such organisations go, by and large, unheard.  

The Court directed both the State and the petitioner to report on the progress, if any, including the setting up of an SOP for the purpose. The next date of hearing is on February 14, 2023.

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