In a landmark decision, the High Court of Tamil Nadu ruled Thursday, February 7, 2013, that trucks in which cattle are being illegally transported through Tamil Nadu must be stopped and the cattle confiscated, that the care of the cattle seized is the responsibility of the police department, and that the trucks being used for transport are to be impounded while legal action is pending. The court case was filed by Radha Rajan.
For many years, cattle have been transported to slaughter in Kerala, one of only two Indian states in which cow slaughter is legal. This sidesteps the intent of the ban on cow slaughter in all the other Indian states because the cattle are shipped to Kerala or West Bengal where it is legal to slaughter them. While the transport of cattle is not in itself against the law, overcrowding is illegal, and in many cases, as many as forty cows are being carried in trucks that are permitted to carry only six cattle. This results in frequent injuries and severe suffering for the cows.
Cattle are regularly transported from states to the north such as Andhra Pradesh, to Kerala in the south, passing through Tamil Nadu.
For the police to have both the authority and the obligation to confiscate the cattle and impound the trucks will greatly impede the profitability of transporting cattle to slaughter – meaning that, over time, fewer and fewer cattle will have to endure the long, painful trips ending in slaughter, until the trade grinds to a complete halt.
Blue Cross of India, with the support of the Animal Welfare Board of India has led the way in a long legal battle over several years to protect cattle from inhumane, illegal transport.
Over the course of just this past year, since the beginning of 2012, Blue Cross has assisted police in the rescue of around four hundred cows from transport trucks. The Tamil Nadu Police have done an excellent job of conscientiously enforcing the law and protecting the animals.
Goshalas, or cow sanctuaries, have been entrusted with giving sanctuary to the confiscated cows. Blue Cross has, at this time, at its shelter 132 confiscated cows, and it is expected that all these animals will be able to be permanently placed and cared for in goshalas. The system of goshalas has existed in India for thousands of years. They were the world’s first animal shelters; many are run by the Jain community and many by Hindus.
Dr. Chinny Krishna, Vice-Chairman of the Animal Welfare Board of India, says of yesterday’s court ruling, “This will surely break the back of the cattle mafia…The judgment was a major victory for animals.”
Photo: Sharon St Joan / Rescued bulls at Blue Cross of India.
To visit the website of Blue Cross, click here.