Bhubaneshwar: After People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India sent a letter to Odisha’s Chief Secretary, Director General of Police, and Director of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services requesting that they take all possible measures to stop the illegal transport and killing of animals in the lead-up to Bakrid, the state police headquarters issued an order to all senior superintendents and deputy commissioners of police directing them to ensure that illegal animal sacrifices do not take place in the state, as was also advised by the Animal Welfare Board of India in its 20 July 2018 circular.
“All religions call for compassion, no religion requires killing or eating animals, and hacking animals to death with weapons is just plain cruel,” says PETA India Emergency Response Coordinator Meet Ashar. “The state governments have a duty to uphold and enforce India’s animal-protection laws, and PETA India is calling on authorities to prohibit untrained people from cutting animals’ throats in the street.”
In its letter, PETA India pointed out that – through orders dated 17 February 2017 and 10 April 2017 on two matters regarding the sacrifice and killing of animals for meat – the Supreme Court ruled that animals can be slaughtered only in officially licensed slaughterhouses and that municipal authorities must ensure compliance with this ruling. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughter House) Rules, 2001, and the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011, permit the slaughter of animals for food only in registered or licensed slaughterhouses equipped with species-specific stunning equipment. The Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011, prohibit killing camels for meat, a practice prevalent during Bakrid. And the Transport of Animals Rules, 1978, are also frequently thwarted during the festival.
PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way” – notes that thousands of goats, buffaloes, camels, and other animals are killed during festivals such as Bakrid (which takes place on 21 and 22 August this year), Dussehra, Durga Puja, and Bali Pratha. Common illegal practices during these holidays include cramming animals into severely crowded trucks – which routinely causes suffocation and broken bones –breaking animals’ tails and beating them to keep them moving while marching them to the place of sacrifice, and slaughter by untrained people who slit animals’ throats with dull knives in full view of one another and often in front of traumatised, upset children who want to protect them from harm.