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November 4, 2014

Government of India Orders Sashastra Seema Bal to Stop the Illegal Movement of Animals to Nepal

Supreme Court orders meeting of petitioners and respondents to discuss plan of action ahead of Gadhimai animal sacrifice festival

Humane Society International/India

  • HSI

The Ministry of Home Affairs ordered all field formations of Sashastra Seema Bal to prevent cattle transport without license. The order comes a few weeks before the Gadhimai festival where more than 500,000 animals, most originating from India, could be sacrificed in Nepal. The action follows a Supreme Court of India interim order directing the Union of India to prevent the illegal movement of animals across the Nepalese border.

The Supreme Court also ordered petitioners and respondents to meet on 14 November to discuss a plan of action to prevent the illegal movement of animals into Nepal. A Humane Society International consultant will be part of that meeting.  N.G Jayasimha, managing director for HSI/India said: “For the past few months, Humane Society International/India has been working vigorously to sensitize locals on this issue. We are delighted to have the Government of India’s support and look forward to working with them in implementing in orders.”

Gauri Maulekhi, People for Animals trustee and petitioner, said: “I’m pleased that the Government of India has extended a helping hand to put this illegal transport of animals to an end. The Supreme Court will meet the petitioner and respondents on November 14th to work on the modalities and action plan. I’m hopeful that something positive comes out of our discussion on November 14th.”

In the memorandum, the Ministry of Home Affairs recommended the following actions:

1. Ask all the Deputy Inspectors General and Commandments to hold a meeting with District Magistrates of the border district to work out modalities for imposition of Section 144 Criminal Procedure Code restricting the movement of animals across the border

2. In-depth intelligence based operations within the advocate on record be carried out to check organized smuggling

3. The performance of units be personally monitored by Deputy Inspectors General of sectors on daily basis

4. Cattle seized may be handed over to animal pounds with the instructions that no auction of cattle by the civil administration be undertaken till the conclusion of the Gadhimai Mela in Nepal

5. From 15 Sept. 2014, a daily monitoring report on action taken against smugglers be sent

Scheduled once in every five years, the Gadhimai festival is the largest animal sacrifice event in the world. In a span of two days, more than 500,000 animals including buffaloes, cows, goats, chickens, pigs, pigeons, ducks and rats are slaughtered to appease Goddess Gadhimai. The event takes place in Bara district of Nepal, attracting 300,000 people where 65-70 percent are Indians. An estimated 70 percent of the animals sacrificed at this event are illegally brought from bordering Indian states of Bihar, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and from some parts of Assam, Sikkim and Jharkhand. All the animals are transported in an uncontrolled movement to this festival, posing a significant health risk through the potential transmission of animal borne diseases. HSI/India in coordination with Nepalese Animal Rights Group is working to discontinue the slaughter.

Media Contact: Navamita Mukherjee, 91-9985472760, nmukherjee@hsi,org

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