Illegal animal transport in India
Due to our religious traditions, India has some of the best animal welfare laws in the world. Under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act there are strict rules for transportation of all kinds of animals. * Under the PCA Act, any animal being abused can be seized by the VSPCA.
In Andhra Pradesh the law states that no cow, nor her progeny; no buffalo progenies; and no pregnant ones (buffalo nor cow) may be slaughtered. While transporting animals all rules must be followed, and they must have a valid certificate from a veterinarian. The rules require stopping for water and feed, and that only 6 large animals in a lorry can be transported or about 12 for smaller calves. †
Any violation of these laws is termed illegal. As generally none of these laws are followed, we have the scope but not the resources to save these animals.
UPDATE MARCH 2014: A vehicle late night loaded with the cattles, near our shelter area was obstructed by our staff. On investigation driver and cleaner accepted that the vehicle was going to the Arilova, the illegal slaughter place. The vehicle was loaded with pure breed of Indian cow, it included pregnant too with one progeny and her mother. All very healthy; but carried in a very cruel tight situation. After seizing the vehicle the alarming mafias with high influences tried to stop us, but we remained unperturbed with these reactions as we have faced it several times before.
It was a good attempt as we rescued the Indian cows which are now a rarity, we have already lost 70% of them and it is very shameful more because in India cows are religiously protected, and the diminishing population of cows showcases the hypocrisy going on in India. Later the cattles were given for adoption to the needy farmers under strict monitoring by the police and CRPI team.
- 2 cows and 5 bulls were being transported at late night through highway which was encountered by the VSPCA team, on receiving information by an Animals Welfare representative. On investigation it came out that the vehicle was going to slaughter house; they were the suppliers of beef to the zoo animals. Later, the vehicle was seized and cattles were shifted to our shelter.
- A vehicle with 9 healthy cattle packed in the small vehicle one top of one another was being transported to Parwada region about 40 kms from here via the national highway. Sharada our Shelter Manager and Srinu the driver and animal helper were coming from shelter when they intercepted this vehicle, seized and brought to our shelter. As soon as the cattles were unloaded the driver and his partner disappeared before the police could arrive and before all of us could come to the spot. As usual threat calls were received but we remain unperturbed. The next day the appropriate letter was submitted to the police and the cattles after all examination and treatment were transferred to our Kindness Farm.
UPDATE 2012: The cows were in this enclosed vehicle for three days with swollen legs without any food and water. A container enclosed and not open to the world had 56 cows moving towards their death destination from Srikakulam area (north of our area) The lorry was intercepted at Marikavalasa village about 4 kms from our shelter by our volunteer workers. Shelter managers B.Sarada and Raj together with the workers intercepted the lorry and took it to the police station after the driver of the lorry hit one of our workers and then ran away leaving the cattle. The cows were in this vehicle for three days without any food and water and subsequently they were handed over to us for their care. The others were suffering from severe malnutrition and dehydration and wounds and were taken under our very special care. With sunken eyes and thin stomachs they drank liters of water first before touching the feed. It was quite an emotional rescue.
Shandies (Effort with Animal’s Angels)
In the course of developing proper legal animal shandies our Cattle Respect Programme India team has been seizing cattle due to illegal transport Violations in any of the Rules and Laws pertaining to transportation with the help of police. Animals being seized which are shifted to our shelter and some given to eligible poor farmers under strict documentation and monitoring. The team has conducted extensive awareness and education programme in 145 villages, covering 3 districts namely Vijiyanagram, Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam. The team has educated more than 7000 villagers. These education and awareness campaigns have brought much needed change in providing respect to the cattles. The foundation laid down 3 years back with the collaboration of VSPCA and Animals’ Angels as ‘Cattle Respect Programme’ has now gained much grace and speed, and also raised several questions to the Authorities, which has made the situation more active.
|Awareness camps||145 areas|
|Simhachalam camps||80 times|
|Meetings with officials||75 related stakeholders|
|Villages visited||145 nos.|
|Districts covered||3 (Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram)|
|Farmers educated||7250 nos.|
|Total animals rescued||3974 cattle|
|Total adoption||2816 re-homed|
Events of September 2007
On the road between Kothvalasa and Vijayanagaram in Andhra Pradesh a lorry containing over 40 "black cattle" (in India buffaloes are called black cattle) was seized by VSPCA due to the illegal nature of the transport.
In our area illegal "white cattle" (cows) are transported to Hyderabad, Orissa and West Bengal and Bangladesh, while "black cattle" (buffaloes) are sent down south and to Kerala.
Cows are considered more hygienic and “tasty,” and thus the demand is greater for them from those who are interested in cattle for meat.
VSPCA seized the illegal truck and handed over all the buffaloes to the Srikakulum Blue Cross (90 kms. north of Visakhapatnam), which currently has around 65 cows in their goshala (cow sanctuary) obtained with our assistance in four raids. This organisation has previously wanted only cows because people donate more towards them, but VSPCA has been insisting they not ignore the buffaloes and bulls on the condition that otherwise we will not work with them.
Because VSPCA currently has over 600 large animals we are unable to take in any more due to space and budget. Since we do not have any place to keep them we have slowed down our raids. However, it seems a long absence has given the criminals more chance to work and thus we have decided to selectively start our raids again and hand over the seized cattle to animal welfare organisations who are genuinely interested and responsible.
In fact, all cow slaughter is banned in Andhra Pradesh but it still goes on in back road areas. Much of that has been curtailed due to the raids of VSPCA over the years. The small slaughterhouses that do exist legally for other animals – goat, sheep, chicken and pigs – have to comply with municipality health rules of cleanliness and humane slaughter.
Legally buffalo – if they are over the age of 16 and no use – may be slaughtered. But any milk yielding or pregnant buffalo are protected by law from slaughter. If the buffalo are being transported illegally as in the photos below, the VSPCA has the authority to seize them. Cows and progenies – even if they are old and no use – cannot be slaughtered legally.
The photos below show male and female buffaloes that were young and quite healthy – and the calf depicted is completely illegal.
We had to seize this lorry because of the illegal nature of the transport, but 70% of these type of transports are going to be sold for slaughter. Animals going to slaughter will have a mark on their backs after they are shifted to an intermediate marketplace for consolidation.
We are catching the butchers here after the farmer has sold the cattle to them. So it is a huge financial loss to the butchers when we seize these cattle, hence we are putting ourselves in danger of reprisals when we do this. We would not hesitate to seize many more of these trucks but the question is where can the cattle go to live afterwards and who will take care of them?
Goshalas exist only as a part of Animal Welfare Organisations. There are now many of them in Andhra Pradesh many of them are asking us at VSPCA how to improve and for our advice.
The transportation of animals is a vast issue with immense cruelties.
Thankfully we were able to save the animals below from illegal slaughter. With your help we can continue our raids and save more.
* The Animal Welfare Board of India was set up in accordance with Section 4 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960 (No.59 of 1960). The Board consists of 28 Members.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act 1960 (59 of 1960) was enacted in December 1960 with the object of preventing infliction of unnecessary pain and suffering to animals. The Govt. of India, Ministry of Food and Agriculture constituted the Animal Welfare Board of India on 19th March 1962. The subject of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was transferred from Ministry of Food and Agriculture to the Ministry of Environment and Forests with effect from 28th March 1990.
CONSTITUTION OF INDIA Article 51-A(g) " It shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the Natural Environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compassion for all living creatures." In order to ensure COW PROTECTION and to impose a total BAN on the SLAUGHTER OF COWS and COW PROGENY, Government will take suitable measures".
† A valid certificate by a qualified veterinary surgeon to the effect that the cattle are in fit condition to travel by rail or road and are not suffering from any infectious or contagious or parasitic diseases and that they have been vaccinated against rinderpest and any other infectious or contagious or parasitic diseases, shall accompany each consignment.
- In the absence of such a certificate, the carrier shall refuse to accept the consignment for transport.
- The certificate shall be in the form specified in Schedule E.
- Veterinary first-aid equipment shall accompany all batches of cattle.
- Each consignment shall bear label showing in bold red letters the name. Address and telephone number (if any) of the consignor and consignee, the number and types of cattle being transported and quantity of rations and food provided.
- The consignee shall be informed about the train or vehicle in which consignment of cattle is being sent and its arrival time in advance.
- The consignment of cattle shall be booked by the nest train or vehicle and shall not be detained after the consignment is accepted for booking.
- The average space produced per cattle in Railway wagon or Vehicle shall not be less than two square meters.
- Suitable rope and platforms should be used for loading cattle vehicles.
- In case of railway wagon the dropped door of the wagon may be used as a ramp when loading or unloading is done to the platform.
- Cattle shall be loaded after they are properly fed and given water.
- Cattle in advance state of pregnancy shall not be mixed with young cattle in order to avoid stamped during transportation.
- Watering arrangements enroute shall be made and sufficient quantities of water shall be carried for emergency.
- Sufficient feed and fodder with adequate reserve shall be carried to last during the journey.
- An ordinary goods wagon shall carry not more than ten adult cattle or fifteen calves on broad gauge, not more than six adult cattle or ten calves on meter gauge, or not more than four adult cattle or six calves on narrow gauge.
- Every wagon carrying cattle shall have at least one attendant.
- Cattle shall be loaded parallel to the rails
- Material for padding, such as straw, shall be placed on the floor to avoid injury, if a cattle lies down and this shall not be less than 6cms thick.
- Rations for the journey shall be carried in the middle of the wagon.
- Cattle-in-milk shall be milked at least twice a day and the calves shall be given sufficient quantity of milk to drink.
- As far as possible, cattle may be moved during the nights only.
- During day time, if possible, they should be unloaded, fed, given water and rested and if in milk, milking shall be carried out.
- When cattle are to be transported by goods vehicles the following precautions are to be taken namely.
- Specially fitted goods vehicles with a special type of tail board and padding around the sides should be used.
- Ordinary good vehicles shall be provided with anti-slipping material, such as coir matting or wooden board on the floor and the superstructure, if low should be raised.
- No goods vehicle shall carry more then six cattle.
- Each good vehicle shall be provided with one attendant.
- While transporting, the cattle, the goods vehicle shall not be loaded with any other merchandise; and to prevent cattle being frightened or injured, they should preferably, face the engine.