Business Standard

Centre withdraws draft live animal export Bill amidst stiff opposition

The Bill had drawn strong objections from animal rights activists, right-wing groups and Jain religious leaders

Livestock, cows

Photo: Pexels

Sanjeeb Mukhejee New Delhi

Listen to This Article

Facing flak from various quarters, the central government has withdrawn the draft Livestock and Livestock Products (Importation and Exportation) Bill, 2023. If passed, it could reportedly have paved the way for the promotion of export of live animals.

"The Live-stock Importation Act, 1898, being the pre-constitutional / pre-independence Central Act, a need has been felt to align it with the contemporary requirements and prevailing circumstances related to sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures, and its extant Allocation of Business Rules, 1961,” the official order said. The Department of Animal Husbandry’s role, the order added, primarily pertains to offering support through upgraded livestock health facilities, hygiene etc., including animal welfare for the overall development of the animal husbandry sector.

However, it added, that during consultation, it was felt more time was needed to understand the proposed draft and allow for further comments or suggestions.

Representations had been made expressing concerns over the proposed draft. These involved matters of sensitivity towards and emotions for animal welfare, hence the Bill would need wider consultation, the order said.

"Considering the aforesaid views and with the approval of the competent authority, the proposed draft Bill stands withdrawn," the order said.

The Bill had drawn strong objections from animal rights activists, right-wing groups and Jain religious leaders who demanded it be withdrawn for various reasons.

Sources in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-affiliated Bharatiya Kisan Sangh said while the Bill could be a panacea for the menace of stray animals, the organisation would not allow religious sentiments and cultural beliefs to be hurt.

Animal rights activists took to social media on June 17, flagging how the department gave only 10 days to receive comments and suggestions from "stakeholders, importers and exporters".

The deadline expired on June 17.

The draft also said that the Centre, by notification in the official gazette, would prescribe measures as necessary for the promotion of the export of livestock and livestock products.

Animal rights groups, among others, interpreted it as a clandestine way to promote the export of live animals, which until now isn’t easy.

In 2022-23, India exported $5.11 million worth of live animals, the bulk of which was sheep and goats.

Sources in the business said that most of these animals are exported during festivals to West Asian countries.

"The livestock importation and exportation Bill will blatantly increase the cruelty towards animals. Inclusion of dogs, cats and birds in the definition of livestock is preposterous. This Bill is definitely a bane and should be opposed,” Faizan Jaleel, an animal rights activist, had told Business Standard. “Countries like New Zealand have stopped the cruel practice of transporting live animals as commodities," he had added.

The row over the Bill 

  • If passed, the Bill could have paved the way for the promotion of export of live animals
  • In 2022-23, India exported $5.11 million worth of live animals, the bulk of which was sheep and goats
  • The Bill had drawn strong objections from animal rights activists, right-wing groups and Jain religious leaders
  • Some activists claimed that the department gave only 10 days to receive comments and suggestions from stakeholders, importers and exporters

Don't miss the most important news and views of the day. Get them on our Telegram channel

First Published: Jun 21 2023 | 10:57 AM IST

Explore News