In a special session called on Thursday morning, the Kerala
Assembly passed a resolution against the Centre's move to ban the sale of cattle for slaughter. The resolution said that the move went against the growth of agriculture, industry, labour, and the powers granted to a state under the Constitution.
The special one-day session was called to finalise the steps to be taken by the state government on the decision of the Centre, which the Kerala
government has termed as an "infringement of the state's rights and against federal principles". The Left Democratic Front (LDF)-run state said that the Centre's decision was part of an attempt to implement the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's agenda.
The session is expected to go on until noon. Sources said that various options, including approaching the Supreme Court and bringing in a law within the ambit of the state, are expected to be discussed.
Earlier, the Kerala
government had said that it would look into the legal aspects of the issue. The state is also looking at having its own rule regarding the matter.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, "Crores of people in the country are slaughtering animals for food. Prohibition of cattle slaughter
will do away with the jobs of hundreds of thousands of Indians, especially for Dalits. Once the prohibition comes into effect, raw material for the leather industry will not be available anymore. More than 2,500,000 people work in India’s leather industry. Most of them are Dalits. Hence, this prohibition will severely affect our disadvantaged sections."
Kerala's Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar said the state would not accept the order. "We will take steps after looking into the legal aspects of the issue," Kumar told Business Standard.
Terming the Centre's decision as unconstitutional, he said it was an encroachment into the state's jurisdiction.
runs several slaughter houses and also has a company called Meat Products of India Ltd (MPI), which sells meat products both in India and overseas.
MPI will inaugurate the country's largest meat processing unit in Ernakulam in a couple of days. The facility would require around 6,000 cattle a month, which have to be purchased from traders and farmers. With the new regulations, it will not be possible to purchase cattle from other states or from farmers for slaughtering.
"The Ministry of Environment does not have the right to issue such a direction. We will also bring in a special rule in the state. We are looking at the legal aspects of such a rule. We will not allow the new direction to affect the activities in the state. We are not planning for beef or slaughter ban because of this," said the minister.
"We will modernise all the slaughterhouses. There are around 34 slaughterhouses licensed by the local body government or run by the state government. This will also affect the livestock over a period of time. No farmer will maintain cattle since he cannot sell it and it will be a burden for him," he added.