- Mains – GS 2 (Governance)
Context: The Union government has withdrawn the proposed draft of the Live-stock and Live-stock Product (Importation and Exportation) Bill, 2023.
About Livestock Sector:
- It is an important subsector of agriculture in the Indian economy.
- It grew at a CAGR of 8.15 per cent during 2014-15 to 2019-20 (at constant prices).
- Livestock plays an important role in the Indian economy. About 20.5 million people depend upon livestock for their livelihood.
- Livestock contributed 16% to the income of small farm households as against an average of 14% for all rural households.
- Dairy is the single-largest Agri commodity in India. It contributes 5% to the national economy and employs 80 million dairy farmers directly.
About the Bill:
- The Bill is meant to replace the Live-stock Importation Act, 1898, and the Live-stock (Amendment) Act, 2001.
- The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD), which comes under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, prepared the draft of the Live-stock and Live-stock Products (Importation and Exportation) Bill-2023.
- It frames guidelines for the import and export of live animals, which has raised concerns among animal lovers.
Salient provisions of the bill:
The bill is different from the existing law in three key aspects:
- It allows export of live animals,
- It widens the scope of animal import-export (including cats and dogs among ‘live-stock’), and
- Takes away some powers of state governments to regulate this area.
Regulation of live-stock export:
- The earlier law regulates only importation of live-stock, while the proposed draft Bill has provisions to regulate live-stock exports also.
- The proposed Bill provides the government the power to decide for promotion and development of exports of live-stock and live-stock products.
Expanded definition of live-stock:
- The proposed draft of the Live-stock and Live-stock Product (importation and Exportation) Bill, 2023 has expanded the definition of live-stock to include feline and canines as well.
Live-stocks and live-stock products as “commodity”:
- Besides, the Centre has defined the live-stocks and live-stock products as commodities in the proposed draft Bill.
Arguments in favour of the law:
- The present law, Live-stock Importation Act, 1898 that regulates import of live-stock is 125 years old.
- The aim is 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.
- In 2001, the then NDA government had amended the 1898 law.
- One of the key changes in the law was inclusion of the import of livestock products.
- The earlier law dealt with only the import of live-stock.
- According to the amendment live-stock products were also included.
- The 2001 amendment also empowered the Centre to regulate, restrict or prohibit the trade of any live-stock product that may be liable to affect human or animal health.
Reasons for withdrawal:
- Animal Cruelty Concerns: The draft bill has faced strong criticism from animal rights organizations, who argue that allowing the live export of animals will lead to widespread animal abuse and cruelty.
- Some believe that the bill opens the door to potential mistreatment of animals farmed for food and other purposes.
- Negative Impact on Animal Welfare: Critics argue that the bill disregards the well-being of animals by prioritizing trade and economic interests over ethical considerations.
- The large-scale export of live animals can subject them to stressful and inhumane conditions during transportation and in destination countries.
- Opposition from Animal Protection Groups: The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO), along with other animal welfare organizations, has expressed strong opposition to the draft bill.
- Some highlight the global trend towards phasing out live animal exports and emphasize the need for stricter animal welfare regulations.
- Environmental Concerns: Critics raise concerns about the environmental impact of live animal exports.
- The transportation of large numbers of animals over long distances can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and other ecological problems.
- Ethical and Moral Considerations: The proposed bill has sparked debates about the ethical and moral implications of exporting live animals.
- Some argue that it goes against the principles of compassion and respect for animal life, as well as India’s cultural and religious traditions that value non-violence and protection of animals.
The Centre has withdrawn the bill for now. Enough time is required to understand the proposed draft. 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.
Source: Indian Express