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The National Green Tribunal today directed the Centre to frame a national policy to prevent the "rapid decline" in population of indigenous breeds of cattle across the country. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed the Environment Ministry and Department of Animal Husbandry to hold a meeting with all the states and come out with a common policy on the issue. "The records submitted by various states clearly indicate that there has been a rapid decline in indigenous breeds of cattle.
Tell us what steps have you taken to prevent this decline in the population of species which may even lead to their extinction.... "This is a serious issue and it requires a national policy," the bench said. The tribunal asked the Ministry of Environment and Forests to discuss the issue with all stakeholders concerned during the vacations and inform it about the decision. The matter is now listed for hearing on May 22. The NGT had noted that there was nearly 80 per cent decline in the animal population in Kerala from 2003 to 2012 and said that such a condition may lead to extinction of the species in the state. The order came while hearing a plea filed by lawyer Ashwini Kumar who had moved the tribunal against the "looming threat of extinction of indigenous breeds of cattle" in the country. The tribunal had earlier issued a notice to the Agriculture Ministry on the plea which also sought a nationwide ban on slaughter of cattle belonging to indigenous breeds. Kumar had claimed a steep decline in the indigenous cow population and said that Indian cattle were being replaced across the country by exotic and cross-bred cows imported from Europe, Australia and the US. "Even developed countries are taking steps to preserve diversity in livestock and taking substantial steps to preserve and conserve their domestic livestock species," the plea had said. Kumar had accused government authorities of being a silent spectator to this "extinction".