Centre withdraws draft Live-stock and Live-stock Products Bill amid criticism

The government has withdrawn a draft Live-stock and Live-stock Products (Importation and Exportation) Bill after concerns over a provision in the legislation to allow for the import and export of “live animals”.

The Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has issued an office memorandum dated June 20 withdrawing the Draft Bill amid concerns raised by animal rights activists and other groups.

The Ministry circulated the Draft Bill on June 7, 2023, and sought public comments/suggestions on the Bill that seeks to regulate the export of live animals from India.

“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 phytosanitary measures, and its extant Allocation of Business Rules, 1961,” the memorandum said.

Some animal rights activists criticised certain provisions which they said were cruel to animals as the proposed legislation allowed for unregulated and large-scale import/export of animals. This could impact the gene pool of native animals.

The memorandum said that the role of the department of animal husbandry and dairying is primarily pertaining to support by having upgraded livestock health facilities, hygiene etc., including animal welfare aspects for overall development of animal husbandry sector.

“However, during the consultation, it has been viewed that enough time is required to understand the proposed draft and to make further comments/suggestions. Further, the representations have been made expressing concerns on the proposed draft involving sensitivity and emotions with’ animal welfare and related aspects, and, hence, would need wider consultation,” the memorandum said.

Considering these views and with the approval of the competent authority, the proposed draft Bill stands withdrawn, the ministry said. The memorandum has been issued by GN Singh, Joint Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying.

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