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: VSPCA is proud to partner with Animals' Angels on the Cow Respect Programme.
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.