Bengal Stands United Against Animal Cruelty

One can measure the greatness of a nation and its moral progress by the way it treats its animals. Cow protection to me is not mere protection of the cow. It means protection of all that lives and is helpless and weak in the world. The cow means the entire subhuman world. - Mahatma Gandhi


India is a multi-cultural nation. To keep a perfect balance of the ecosystem, the Government of India has introduced several measures in preventing cruelty to animals. The government has formed Animal Welfare Board of India under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals. However, the government officials across West Bengal are mostly found violating the law by ignoring either the manner of slaughter or the regulations of slaughter act; the slaughter act in India differs in different states.


The West Bengal Animal Slaughter Act, 1950 governs the slaughter of cattle including bulls, bullocks, cows, calves and buffaloes. Slaughter of animals is legal on obtaining a "fit-for-slaughter" certificate. The certificate is only issued if the animal is over 14 years of age and unfit for work or breeding or has become permanently incapacitated for work and breeding due to age, injury, deformity, or any incurable disease. However, in most cases both West Bengal Animal Slaughter Act, 1950 and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 are violated.


Bharatiya Janata Party wants the administration to crack down on slaughter houses and go by the law of the land. The Cow Development Cell (BJP) has already sent letters to block development officers, district magistrates and all police stations of the state urging them to take action against public cow slaughter.


The cattle in the state are killed with cruelty; they are not completely slaughter until their blood drain out. Many cattle below their proper age are slaughter by certifying them as unfit to work or having some incurable disease. But, such certification has no regulations. According to the law, under "Section 7" anyone violating the act shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment of up to a maximum of 6 months or fine up to ₹1,000 or both. The crime is treated as a cognizable offence. “Section 8” of the act defines that anyone who aids and abets such offence will also be penalized directly under this Act.


The Government of India, under the direction of Hon'ble Supreme Court has constructed a committee to review slaughter of cattle across the nation. According to the report, West Bengal Animal Slaughter Control Act should be enforced more rigidly and the Act should be suitably amended so as to provide for the prohibition of import and sale of contraband beef in the city. The Act should be extended to other Municipal areas also and, wherever possible, non-officials should be associated in its enforcement. However, the state government does not have enough measures to regulate such directives. The cattle are still killed with cruelty and the laws pertaining to the same are violated, over ages.


The government gives an excuse of religious sentiments. However, the reality is oppression to Hindutva. Bharatiya Janata Party has also initiated Goshala movement in various villages where people were informed of loans available to set up cow sheds.


The Animal Slaughter Control Act exempts slaughter for religious purposes in illegal means. However, the Supreme Court has stated that such exclusions are illegal. “Supreme Court and High Court directives ban open slaughter of cows. But, in Bengal such court directives are flouted. We will soon give a deputation to the state government by visiting Nabanna,” said Subrata Gupta, convener, Cow Development Cell. According to the sources, BJP State President Rahul Sinha shall be holding a mega rally in September, in protest of ignorance of court directives by State Government. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is expected during the rally.


The cell has also formed rapid action groups in various districts, especially those bordering Bangladesh, to track and stop trucks laden with cows on their way to Bangladesh or slaughter houses. Illegal smuggling of cows to Bangladesh is estimated to worth crore annually.

by Shri Sumit Baradia & Shri Babu Dubey